Learning and Teaching Blog

Lights on Afterschool...Educators! Strategies to Support Staff

Kate Goddard's picture

Kate Goddard specializes in designing, implementing, and supporting the continuous improvement of technology- and media-based out-of-school time (OST) programs. As an EDC Training & Technical Assistance Associate, she contributes her expertise to initiatives that seek to strengthen and support the OST workforce, including YouthLearn. From 2007 to 2016, she advanced the mission of Adobe Foundation’s philanthropic initiative Adobe Youth Voices by building the capacity of programs and educators around the globe to implement  youth media programming. To all of her work, she brings a deep understanding of the needs and challenges of OST educators, drawn from her experience working with youth and facilitating creative learning experiences at the Science Museum of Minnesota, Denver Open Media, and Girls Inc. In this post, written in honor of Lights On Afterschool, Kate shares tips and strategies to support afterschool educators in their important work.

Revitalizing Language: Exploring the Effects on Children’s Learning and Well-Being

Ruth Rouvier's picture

Ruth Rouvier’s extensive expertise in documentation, maintenance, and revitalization of endangered languages informs her work connecting children's linguistic and cultural heritage to their early learning. Recently, Ruth worked with tribal communities and EDC's National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness team to develop tools and resources to support American Indian and Alaskan Native Head Start centers in planning and implementing language revitalization programs. On October 13 and 14, she will lead a National Science Foundation-funded workshop that will examine the impact of endangered language documentation on young children. In this post, Ruth shares insights from her work studying tribal language revitalization in Head Start and Early Head Start programs nationwide and discusses the importance of the workshop.

Effective Strategies to Support Children's Language Acquisition

Ruth Rouvier's picture

Ruth Rouvier’s extensive expertise in documentation, maintenance, and revitalization of endangered languages informs her work connecting children's linguistic and cultural heritage to their early learning. Recently, Ruth worked with tribal communities and EDC's National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness team to develop tools and resources to support American Indian and Alaskan Native Head Start centers in planning and implementing language revitalization programs. On October 13 and 14, she will lead a National Science Foundation-funded workshop that will examine the impact of endangered language documentation on young children. In this post, Ruth shares three strategies to support young children’s language acquisition.

Continuous Improvement in Education: What Is All the Buzz About?

Sheila Rodriguez's picture

Sheila Rodriguez, an experienced researcher and evaluator, develops tools and provides technical assistance that enable state education agencies, districts, and schools to use data and current research to improve outcomes for students. She specializes in facilitating training for and providing coaching to state and district stakeholders on data-driven continuous improvement strategies, logic modeling, and program evaluation. Currently, she is a researcher for the REL Northeast & Islands at EDC, as well as an evaluator for the EDC-led Home Visiting Action Improvement Team (HV-ImpACT) initiative. On October 4, Sheila and her colleague Karen Shakman will present a free REL Northeast & Islands webinar, “A Practical Approach to Continuous Improvement in Education.” In this post, Sheila discusses continuous improvement and shares some of her recent work. 

Resources to Help Parents Support Kids’ STEM Interests and Explorations

Tracy McMahon's picture

Tracy McMahon has over 10 years of experience designing quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation studies. Much of her work focuses on program evaluations that seek to identify the effectiveness of formal and informal science education initiatives. In 2016, she co-authored the report Engineering for Every K-12 Student based on her team's work on a National Science Foundation-funded landscape study of K-12 engineering education in Massachusetts. Tracy is also a mom, and in this post she describes some free science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) resources and programs that she hopes will be useful to other parents who are interested in the recent focus on STEM in their kids’ education. 


REL Survey Tool Hones In on Student Experience of Competency-Based Learning

Joshua Cox's picture

Joshua Cox is the Alliance Researcher for the Northeast College and Career Readiness Research Alliance of the REL Northeast & Islands at EDC. His recent work for the Alliance has focused primarily on competency-based learning. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences published a new survey tool and guide co-authored by Joshua and his colleague Sarah Ryan that meets the growing, nationwide need to systematically examine students' experiences with competency-based learning. In this post, first published on the REL Northeast & Islands' website, Joshua discusses the new survey tool, shares the process used to develop the tool, describes the kinds of data the tool can help schools and districts collect, and describes REL Northeast & Islands resources that can support use of the tool.

Ella in Kindergarten: Building on Strengths

pgoldenberg's picture

Paul Goldenberg has over 40 years of experience in K–12 mathematics curriculum development, research, and professional development. He leads a wide range of EDC projects that foster a love of and enthusiasm for mathematics in learners from early childhood through adulthood, and has taught self-contained elementary (Grades 2 and 4), middle and high school mathematics, and college and graduate school mathematics and psychology. In this post, part  of a series that invites readers to take a look inside children's early mathematics explorations and epiphanies, Paul discusses the rich mathematics learning that occurs when you follow children's leads and build upon their strengths. 

Strong PI/Evaluator Partnerships: A "User's Guide"

lgoodyear's picture

Leslie Goodyear, PhD, brings more than 16 years of experience evaluating educational projects and programs at local, regional, national, and international levels. Goodyear, the President-Elect of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and Associate Editor of the American Journal of Evaluation, has conducted evaluations and evaluation capacity building in formal and informal educational settings, afterschool, youth civic engagement, HIV prevention, youth development, and human services programs, with a recent focus on STEM programs in informal settings. In this blog post, she describes a free online guide that is designed to promote strong, productive Principal Investigator/Evaluator partnerships.

Principal Leadership Is Key Factor in Teachers’ Satisfaction with Evaluation Systems

Jessica Bailey's picture

Jessica Bailey specializes in measurement, evaluation, and assessment within the wider scope of her research and analytic support. Currently, she is providing research expertise for two REL Northeast & Islands research alliances—the Urban School Improvement Alliance and the Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance. She is the principal investigator for a study on the role of teacher characteristics in educator evaluation. As a lead content developer for an assessment literacy project for the state of Illinois, Bailey helped create a series of online modules and in-person professional development on developing high-quality assessments in traditionally non-tested grades and subjects. She also acts as an evaluator, providing evaluation services relating to educator evaluation systems. In this blog post, Jessica describes a recent data analysis about teachers' self-reported views of their schools' professional climate and their satisfaction with their formal evaluation process.

Culturally Responsive Family Engagement Practices

Jessica Lavorgna's picture

Jessica Lavorgna engages families and communities in school improvement initiatives that close opportunity gaps for children and promote their academic achievement. She brings experience in and passion for family and community engagement, adult education, language and literacy development, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is the Family and Community Engagement Specialist for EDC’s Literacy and Academic Success for English Learners through Science (LASErS) Project. To strengthen and sustain these school-family-community partnerships, she works with the Hartford Public Schools, the Capitol Region Education Council of Hartford, the Connecticut Science Center, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, as well as with a number of community-based organizations. Currently, she is collaborating with the Connecticut Science Center to develop bilingual family learning guides. In this blog post, Jessica describes what culturally responsive family engagement might look like, and why the "one-size-fits-all" approach does not work.

Elevating and Enhancing the “E” in STEM Education

Catherine McCulloch's picture

Catherine McCulloch leads national initiatives focused on bridging STEM research and practice to improve outcomes for students. She is the co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) of Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) and STEM Smart, and project director for EDC’s Interactive STEM R+P Collaboratory team. As co-PI of the Massachusetts Engineering and Innovation Dissemination Community initiative, she recently concluded a landscape analysis of K-12 engineering education in Massachusetts with PI Darryl Williams of Tufts University and EDC colleagues Tracy McMahon and Leslie Goodyear. A new report by the team, Engineering for Every K–12 Student, presents key findings from the study that have important implications not just for Mass. K–20 educators, policymakers, and business and industry leaders, but for all of those who are interested or involved in expanding access to engineering education nationwide. In this post, Catherine reflects on the status of engineering education and shares a few key takeaways from the report.

Outstanding STEM Learning For All

spillai's picture

Sarita Pillai leads initiatives to improve the quality and equity of STEM education, including managing national research and technical assistance centers, building and sustaining communities of practice to promote professional learning, and engaging youth in developing STEM-focused, technology-based resources. Sarita is the PI of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded STEM Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at EDC and co-PI of the NSF-funded Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL). In 2015, Sarita, STELAR co-PI Caroline Parker, Catherine McCulloch (co-PI of Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education—CADRE at EDC), and colleagues from SRI Education worked with the NSF and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to coordinate a daylong invitational forum on "next generation" STEM education. In this post, Sarita shares a few key points from EDC’s May 2016 report on the Forum, Next Generation STEM for All: Envisioning Advances Based on NSF Supported Research.

Oral and Written Mathematics: A Story from Kindergarten

pgoldenberg's picture

Paul Goldenberg has over 40 years of experience in K–12 mathematics curriculum development, research, and professional development. He leads a wide range of EDC projects that foster a love of and enthusiasm for mathematics in learners from early childhood through adulthood, and has taught self-contained elementary (Grades 2 and 4), middle and high school mathematics, and college and graduate school mathematics and psychology. In this post, the first in a series that will invite readers to take a look inside children's early mathematics explorations and epiphanies, Paul describes the connection between oral and written mathematics through the eyes of six-year-old Aaron.

Remembering David Riley: 40 Years of Improving Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

kelliott's picture

EDC honors the memory of Senior Advisor David Riley, who passed away on May 2, 2016. Twenty-two years ago, David founded EDC's Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative. He was a national and state leader, a valued colleague, and a true champion for students with disabilities, students who are English learners, and students who are members of underrepresented groups. Over his 40-year career in the field, David worked tirelessly to close opportunity gaps and ensure all students receive an excellent education. His dedication to equity lives on today in the work of the Collaborative's over 100 member school districts nationwide that are taking action to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. This blog post includes excerpts from a profile of David written by Kimberly Elliott that appears in the Winter 2016 issue of the Collaborative's Urban Perspectives newsletter.

Computer Science Education: Preparing Informed Decision-Makers and Innovators

Jim Stanton's picture

Jim Stanton was one of two EDC computer science education leaders who were invited to share their expertise during a December 2015 White House K–12 Computer Science Education Workshop. As the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network (MassCAN) facilitated by EDC, Jim works with industry, education, and policy leaders to enhance access to computer science education, expand professional development for teachers, and create more pathways to STEM careers. Recently, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) released new, draft Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards developed in collaboration with MassCAN. In this post, Jim reflects on the importance of ensuring all students graduate from high school with a strong foundation in computer science education and computational thinking.

Why the World Needs Resilient Kids and How to Go About Building Their Bounce

Karen Cairone's picture

Karen Cairone designs resources that build the capacity of early childhood educators, leaders, and parents to promote young children's resilience and that support the use of effective coping mechanisms to handle stress. She is an expert in child and adult mental health and resilience, social and emotional development, challenging behaviors in young children, product and training design, and training delivery. Currently, Karen is contributing to the EDC-led Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network. She also designs and conducts trainings on Preventing and Addressing Challenging Behaviors for one of EDC’s joint federally and state funded-projects, the Center for Early Learning Professionals. In this post, Karen discusses why it is so vital to promote all young children’s resilience and shares simple, yet effective ways that adults can help foster resilience.

Mapping the Evolution of Special Education: Reflecting Back, Gazing Forward

driley's picture

David Riley began his career teaching high school students with disabilities and serving as a district director of special education. As the founder and former director of EDC’s Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative, David led the provision of technical assistance and professional development to a national membership network of general and special education leaders from approximately 100 urban school districts in 27 states. Although David passed away in May 2016, his work lives on in the actions that Collaborative members take to improve the quality and equity of education in their districts nationwide. In 2014, David wrote this post to share his reflections on the work of the Collaborative, the evolution of the special education field that he had witnessed, and what it takes to ensure that all students can access and benefit from a high-quality education.

Using Texting to Encourage Participant Engagement and Retention

Bri Hightower's picture

Bri Hightower worked for EDC's Center for Children and Technology, where she contributed her methodological expertise to a wide range of EDC studies including EDC’s and SRI Education’s ongoing summative evaluation of the Ready To Learn initiative. In this post, Bri shared findings from her team’s experience using texting to engage, inform, and retain participants in a recent Ready To Learn home study on the impact of PEG+CAT transmedia on preschoolers. PIs Naomi Hupert and Shelley Pasnik presented from this study at the upcoming 2016 AERA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Urban District Research: How Much Do Teachers’ Evaluations and Professional Learning Align?

kshakman's picture

Karen Shakman brings significant expertise in collaborative research, policy analysis, and evaluation. Most recently, her work has focused on advancing the field's knowledge of educator effectiveness sytems and illuminating barriers and facilitators to sustaining K-12 education reforms. As the lead researcher for REL Northeast & Islands' Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance (NEERA), she supports educational leaders at the state and district levels who are managing the design and implementation of new educator evaluation systems, and works to deepen their understanding of program evaluation, research design, and data analysis. In this post, originally published on the REL Northeast and Islands’ blog, she describes the experience of studying the alignment between teacher evaluation and professional learning within a large New England district and reflects on the effect of the study's findings at the state level.

Creating Conditions for Increased Preschool Attendance

Melissa Dahlin's picture

Melissa Dahlin brings a strong background in early childhood education research, policy analysis, and technical assistance—as well as insights from her years as a preschool and Montessori teacher—to her work for Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO). As a research associate for CEELO, Melissa provides strategic technical assistance to build the capacity of state education agencies to lead sustained improvements in early learning opportunities and outcomes. She also develops research and policy resources—including the March 2016 brief, State Approaches to Family Engagement in Pre-K programs—and co-leads a Family Engagement Community of Practice. In all of her work for CEELO, and in her volunteer work for the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, Melissa is guided by a deep commitment to ensuring that all young children and families can access the resources and support they need to thrive. In this post, originally published on the Preschool Matters...Today blog, Melissa takes a close look at the key role that effective family and community engagement plays in children’s preschool attendance.

The Big Data Driving Google Maps

Patrick McDeed's picture

Patrick McDeed, an intern with EDC’s Oceans of Data Institute (ODI), is contributing to several ODI curriculum R&D initiatives including Ocean Tracks: College Edition, an interactive Web-based learning resource that helps undergraduate students develop valuable skills in analyzing and learning from large, authentic scientific datasets. To this work, he brings a deep interest in mathematics and secondary education, as well as experience manipulating and reporting on “Big Data” as a consumer online behavior analyst—in which capacity he drew upon some of the skills and knowledge that ODI documented in its “Occupational Skills Profile for the Big-Data-Enabled-Specialist.” In this post, originally published on ODI’s blog, Patrick explores the important role that “Big Data”—in the form of Google Maps—plays in helping us navigate our daily lives as we commute to work, carpool our kids to school, and take road trips.

Designing Engaging Online Learning Experiences

kpeterson's picture

Kirsten Peterson, a highly experienced instructional designer and instructor, leads EDC’s EdTech Leaders Online team in providing capacity-building, research-based programs, courses, and services that enable organizations to build successful online and blended learning experiences for K–16 students, teachers, and adult learners. Clients include schools and districts, institutions of higher education, corporations, regional education service providers, education cooperatives, afterschool programs, museums, and a wide array of nonprofit organizations. Recently, Kirsten led the development of two for-credit high school online art courses for the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, one of which was awarded a 2015 Gold MUSE award by the American Alliance of Museums. In this post, she describes three of the key tenets of instructional design that her team follows when they design courses for clients.

Logic Models and Evaluation Planning – Working Together!

Vicky Coulon's picture

Vicky Coulon, EDC research scientist and former K–12 teacher and adult educator, leads mixed methods evaluations of initiatives funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, and private foundations. Drawing upon her significant expertise in quantitative and qualitative methodologies, she works to advance the field’s knowledge of successful strategies to enhance formal and informal STEM learning and ensure equity in STEM education. Currently, she is leading a formative and summative evaluation of the NASA-funded project From Our Town to Outer Space (FOTOS). In this post, originally published on the NSF’s EvaluATE blog, Vicky discusses the important role that logic models play in guiding teams in developing evaluation plans and organizing proposals.

Show Me a Story: Using Data Visualization to Communicate Evaluation Findings

Ginger Fitzhugh's picture

Ginger Fitzhugh, the program chair of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Systems in Evaluation Topical Interest Group, leads evaluations that help programs leverage knowledge to achieve better outcomes for young people. Her findings provide new insights into strategies to ensure all students have high-quality STEM educations; improve K–12 informal and formal learning; and enhance professional development. Currently, she is leading an evaluation of Techbridge, an initiative that provides afterschool and summer programs to expand academic and career options for girls in science, technology, and engineering. In this post, originally published on the National Science Foundation’s EvaluATEblog, Ginger shares tips and resources to help evaluators and researchers present their findings in clear, compelling, and impactful ways. 

Spreading the Word about Successful STEM Education

Catherine McCulloch's picture

Catherine McCulloch, with a strong team from EDC and external partners, works to address national concerns about the gap between research and practice in K–12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. In this post, she reflect on EDC's partnership with the NSF and National Research Council (NRC) to share findings and implications from the NRC report Successful K–12 STEM Education.

Collaborating to Improve Early Care and Education

Sarah Kim's picture

Sarah Kim brings a strong background in survey research to her work with teams that are examining strategies to improve the quality of early learning—particularly for children from low-income families—and promote the school readiness and success of all children. She has contributed her quantitative and qualitative methodological expertise to several studies, including a formative and summative evaluation of the Head Start National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations. Currently she is part of a team that is investigating the role of state- and community-level collaboration in enhancing the quality, accessibility, and comprehensiveness of early care and education. In this post, Sarah shares early findings from the study—presented in two recent briefs co-authored by Principal Investigator (PI) Gary Resnick, co-PI Meghan Broadstone, Sarah, and Heidi Rosenberg—and reflects on potential implications of the research.

Helping Entrepreneurs and Educators STEP Up to Social Media

hlarson's picture

Heidi Larson has extensive experience in virtual education, online collaboration, educational technology, and professional development. As a technical assistance specialist for the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund TA program, she is working to sustain an education technology community of practice that provides i3 grantees with ongoing learning, peer networking, and support. For EDC’s Social Technology Enabled Professional (STEP) program, Heidi has contributed to the development of online instructional modules and rich multimedia materials targeted to guide current and future entrepreneurs in effectively using social media to grow their businesses. With STEP co-PIs Joyce Malyn-Smith and Joe Ippolito, Heidi presented findings from this work on December 18 at the Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference in Sheffield, England. In this post, she shares resources from STEP and discusses a new project that builds upon STEP.

Celebrating Computer Science Education Week

pgoldenberg's picture

Paul Goldenberg has over 40 years of experience in K–12 mathematics curriculum development, research, and professional development. He has taught from self-contained elementary (Grades 2 and 4) through middle and high school mathematics and computer science, as well as graduate school mathematics and psychology for education. Currently, Paul and his long-time collaborator June Mark are the co-Principal Investigators of BJC4NYC—an NSF Math and Science Partnership (MSP) in which EDC is collaborating with UC Berkeley, the New York City Department of Education, and the NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education to broaden participation in computer science in New York City public high schools. In this post, written in celebration of Computer Science Education Week 2015 (December 7–13) and Hour of Code, Paul shares some thoughts about computer science education.

Twitter, Facebook – What’s the Difference?

Michelle Cerrone's picture

Michelle Cerrone, a researcher at EDC’s Center for Children and Technology, focuses on advancing the field’s knowledge of effective STEM education, teacher development, and the role of digital media in K-12 classrooms. Currently, she is contributing her expertise in survey design as an investigator on EDC’s National Science Foundation-funded TwISLE (Twitter and Informal Science Learning and Engagement) study team. TwISLE is one of the first efforts to explore the ways in which people use social media venues like Twitter to engage in public science discussions. In this post, Michelle shares some of TwISLE’s early findings on how people perceive and use Twitter and Facebook.

Promoting English Learners’ Geometric Reasoning

Jill Neumayer DePiper's picture

Jill Neumayer DePiper began her career as a teacher and has extensive expertise in working to improve mathematics instruction, support students at risk, and enhance teacher preparation and professional development. For over seven years, Jill served as a professional developer, taught graduate-level mathematics education courses, and conducted research targeted to advance the quality and equity of mathematics education. Currently, she is a member of an EDC research team that has conducted several studies to identify new strategies to support teachers in enhancing the mathematics learning of English language learners. In this post, Jill shares some of her team’s findings from these studies.