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Dr. Tamara Moore of the STEM Education Center will be awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Dr. Moore will receive her award during a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., in the coming year.

Dr. Moore is currently the principal investigator of an 8 million dollar grant awarded by the National Science Foundation titled EngrTEAMS: Engineering to Transform the Education of Analysis, Measurement, and Science in a Team-Based Targeted Mathematics-Science Partnership. The grant is one of the many Dr. Moore has been awarded while at the STEM Education Center. To learn more about EngrTEAMS click here.

The Presidential Early Career Awards embody the high priority the Obama Administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the Nation's goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy.

"The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead," President Obama said. "We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America's global leadership for many years to come."

For more information about this award please read the official press release from the White House.

LewisOBrien.jpgThis past fall, Dr. Elizabeth Moje, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Education at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Patricia Enciso, Professor of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University discussed their work with PhD students in two Curriculum and Instruction seminars on Sociocultural Theory, Education, and Literacy (taught by Cynthia Lewis) and Research in Reading (taught by David O'Brien).

Enciso and Moje discussed their partnerships with schools in Columbus and Detroit to enhance the literacy learning of immigrant and racially minoritized youth through storytelling and other arts-based pedagogies as well as through supporting the complex navigations youth accomplish as they move across home, community, and school spaces. Enciso, Moje, and Lewis are collaborating on a second book focused on critical sociocultural theory and literacy research.

Their visits were arranged by Cynthia Lewis, Professor of Literacy Education. and sponsored by the Emma Birkmaier Speaker Series in Critical Literacy and Urban Education. To learn more about the Speaker Series, please see the description on the C&I News and Events page.

LewisGradingRubric.jpgOn November 22, Cynthia Lewis, Emma Birkmaier Professor in Educational Leadership, participated in a teaching with writing panel, "Grading Rubrics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," as part of the Engaging Controversies Series sponsored by the Center for Writing.

Lewis drew on her research to caution against the use of grading rubrics, arguing that they make false assumptions about learning. Grading rubrics position learning as outcome driven rather than problem driven, thus reducing the richness and learning potential of the problem space and deterring students from taking the kind of risks that deepen learning for fear of receiving a lower score.

Visit Cynthia Lewis' profile to learn more about her research.

Postsecondary Teaching and Learning Senior Fellow Robert Poch, Ph.D., and McNair Scholar Jade Beauclair have been selected to present at the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership Conference on February 13, 2014. Their presentation, "Lessons, lessons applied: How history informs best practices for the contemporary recruitment, retention, and preparation of teachers of color," focuses on how pedagogical practices during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement continue to inform contemporary teaching strategies for the success of all students.

Learn more about the conference here.

1nexted.JPGWhat if you could combine the reach and accessibility of a MOOC with an engaging user experience and online interface, a Facebook-like social network, meaningful interaction with an instructor who is more than a talking head, and authentic project-based learning?

That's what the Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML) plans to accomplish via an innovative new learning initiative called NextEd. In January, LTML will launch NextEd with a course titled Designing for Experiences: Principles to Technology Transformation. Led by Aaron Doering, Bonnie Westby-Huebner Endowed Chair in Education and Technology and associated professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the course is targeted at anyone interested in learning to design and develop transformative technology-enhanced experiences for learners of any age. Course participants will explore multiple technologies and teaching strategies as they put into practice the principles they are learning.

"Transformative learning begins with transformative experiences," Doering said. "This online experience will guide and inspire teachers, corporate trainers, designers, and anyone interested in technology-enhanced learning to generate real change in online, hybrid, and mobile education."

The NextEd courses offer an innovative course registration model as well, allowing participants to choose their level of enrollment and what type of recognition they will receive for completing the course -- from a simple certificate of completion up through University of Minnesota graduate-level credit.

See more about NextEd and the Designing for Experiences course.

C&I at LRA Annual Conference

December 10, 2013

Last week, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction faculty and graduate students visited Dallas, TX to attend and participate in the Literacy Research Association's (LRA) 2013 Annual Conference. The theme of the 2013 Conference, "Transformative Literacy: Theory Research, and Reform" considered how researchers are examining and critiquing the ways in which culture, knowledge, language, and power intersect literacy access, equity, and social justice in an age of reform.

Richard Beach, C&I professor emeritus, serves as the current president of the LRA, and Professor Cynthia Lewis is on the LRA Board of Directors. Associate Professor Mark Vagle and Professor Lori Helman are Area Chairs for the research conference paper selection process.

C&I faculty and graduate students gave a combined 23 presentations and served as proposal reviewers and discussants for many other presentations and round table sessions.

Presentations covered a range of topics including:

• Are Two Heads Better Than One? A Case Study of First Grade Team's Collaborative Planning for English Learners in Literacy Instruction
• Preparing Preservice Teachers in the Use of Technology to Support the Teaching of Literacy
• Transformation in the Literacy Transaction: Relationships between "Trauma Texts and Traumatic Histories"
• Animating Critical Literacy with the Body: Creating Countertexts through Scene-Making and Dramatic Play
• Reading the World through Story: An Argument for the Inclusion of Culturally Diverse Literature in Critical Literacy Curricula

For a full list of presentations, please see the Literacy Program page on the C&I website.

AllenK2013.jpgCurriculum and Instruction Ph.D. student Kathryn Allen received a grant for research presented at The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (ISSOTL) conference in October. ISSOTL serves faculty members, staff, and students who care about teaching and learning as serious intellectual work. The goal of the Society is to foster inquiry and disseminate findings about what improves and articulates post-secondary learning and teaching. ISSOTL is unique in its efforts to form a global community in the interest of post-secondary teaching and learning.

In the poster presentation on Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, Allen explored professional development from a perspective that supports educators beyond traditional modes. During her master's program at UT, Allen, along with 2 other students and a faculty member were each involved in independent projects beyond the scope of the program and decided to support each other through bi-weekly meetings. This model of professional development is the subject of the study. She hopes to continue using this theory to explore professional development for teachers in the specific area of technology integration. Effective use of technology for teaching and learning is a common professional development theme crossing national borders and demands an international forum.

Of the conference, Allen said, "This year's conference title, 'Critical Transitions in Teaching and Learning' particularly resonated with me during my work with pre-service teachers. In what ways does teacher preparation need to transform in order to fit them for the classrooms they will enter? What transitions can I make in my teaching that will serve my students? How does my research support the preparation of teachers in a world that is transforming with mind-boggling speed? This year's ISSOTL conference explored all of these questions through scholarly work and conversation."

To learn more about the Department of Curriculum and Instruction's Literacy Education track, please visit the Literacy Education Ph.D. page on our website.

Murray JensenAs part of his National Science Foundation POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) project, Murray Jensen, associate professor in Postsecondary Teaching & Learning, has been invited to Melbourne, Victoria to present next week at the Australian Physiological Society International conference on the topic of the "flipped classroom," a pedagogical model where the lecture and homework portions of a course are reversed.

While there, Jensen will lead workshops and discuss examples of POGIL activities in physiology and share his expertise in the area of teaching entry-level university science projects at Deakin, LaTrobe, Monash, Flinders, and Adelaide Universities.

Jensen is currently working on how to teach anatomy and physiology in an active learning classroom. He has 51 publications in the area of teaching and learning, with a particular emphasis on biology education and the first-year college transition. Learn more about Murray's work at his website:

tpt.jpgOn Nov. 21, the Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML) and Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) co-hosted a discussion around tpt's program Is School Enough?, which is the second in a series of programs about youth, digital media, and education. Is School Enough? focuses on how project-based learning and digital tools can help inform and transform education.

Over 100 educators attended the event, including young people representing community-based organizations from across the Twin Cities. Stephen Brown, the producer of Is School Enough?, hosted and moderated the national panel, and Cassie Scharber, LTML co-director, moderated the local panel.

Community conversations with attendees followed the panel discussions, with LT and Literacy graduate students and staff from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction assisting in backchannel conversations as well as table talk about technology-infused engaged learning.

The event was filmed for inclusion in an event toolkit that will be shared online as a complement to the program. The toolkit can be used by other PBS stations, community groups, schools, etc., to host similar conversations around the county. Educational and additional resources will also be included in the toolkit.

The full episode of Is School Enough?: Engaged Learning in the 21st Century Classroom and Beyond can be viewed online at TPT's website. Supplemental video clips and resources are available through Edutopia .

Please visit the Learning Technologies Media Lab and or the Learning Technologies Ph.D. program page to learn more.

Can providing teachers with information about the neurobiology of learning improve K-12 teaching and student learning? Yes, according to University of Minnesota researchers, who recently published their findings in the journal Educational Researcher. Those findings were also selected as an "Editor's Choice" in Science magazine.

By studying attendees of BrainU, a professional development workshop that teaches neuroscience principles of learning to in-service teachers, neuroscience professor Janet Dubinsky, RoehrigG-2004.jpgcurriculum and instruction associate professor Gillian Roehrig (left), and educational psychology associate professor Sashank Varma discovered that understanding of and engagement in neuroscience concepts improved for attending teachers and their students. Teaching the concept of "plasticity," as designed by the Society for Neuroscience, provided a model for understanding student learning in response to teacher instruction, which was a key concept taught in the BrainU workshop.

VarmaS-2011.jpg"Our empirical evaluation of BrainU finds that it improved teacher understanding of neuroscience and confidence in teaching neuroscience," said Varma (right). "This understanding translated to improved classroom instruction compared to control teachers. There was more evidence of inquiry-based learning on the part of teachers and of students engaging in higher-order thinking, displaying greater depth of knowledge, making deeper connections to the world, and engaging in more substantive conversations with teachers."

The researchers conclude their journal article with advice for integrating neuroscience principles of learning into the training of pre-service teachers.

Read the article "Infusing Neuroscience Into Teacher Professional Development," in Educational Researcher.

Also see "When Neuroscience Guides Education" in Science magazine.

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