Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lei Ye Successfully Defended Her Doctoral Dissertation

Lei Ye successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on April 24, 2013. Congratulations, Dr. Lei!


This study investigated the impact of a teacher technology tool (The Curriculum Customization Service), curriculum, and online resources on earth science teachers' attitudes, beliefs, and practices, as well as students' achievement and engagement with learning science at scale. Participants of this study were 73 teachers and over 2,000 9th grade students within five public school districts in western U.S. In examining the impact on teachers, pre and post changes on a survey were examined. Results suggest that the CCS tool appeared to significantly increase both teachers’ awareness of other earth science teachers’ practices and teachers’ frequency of using interactive resources in their lesson planning and classroom teaching. A standard multiple regression model was developed, and “District” and “Training condition” appeared to predict teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Overall usage of the CCS tool tended to be low, and there were differences among school districts. In examining the impact on students, pre and post changes regarding both learning outcomes and students’ engagement with learning science were examined. Students showed improvements from the pre to post knowledge assessments. Nesting effect in the EDG knowledge learning was identified and addressed by fitting a 2-level Hierarchical Linear Model (HLM). In addition, significant school district differences were shown for student post knowledge assessment scores. For student engagement, students tended to be neutral or slightly disagree that learning science was important in terms of using science in daily life, stimulating their thinking, discovering science concepts, and satisfying their own curiosity. In addition, students did not appear to change their self-reported engagement level after the intervention. Additional three multiple regression models were developed. Factors from district, teacher, and student level were identified to predict student learning outcomes and their engagement with learning science. The implication, contributions, and limitation of this research are discussed.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ITLS Student Featured in EEJ Ed Notes

ITLS student Nan Petersen featured in EEJ College of Education and Human Services blog story. Click here to see the detail:

ITLS Professor Feature: Taylor Martin

Taylor Martin, Instructional Technologies and Learning Sciences Professor, focuses her studies on big data and its use to improve students learning.

“It is a common belief that doing promotes learning in complex domains like mathematics and science, but there is little research that establishes the validity of this claim. I examine how people learn from doing, or active participation, both physical and social.”

Martin examines math games, how to model what kids are learning, and how to use it in an adaptive environment. The games are specifically tailored to individual kids using machine learning and data mining in the background to determine the best ways to tailor such games to the kids. Martin analyzes a series of math games on fractions from a large math homework site under a major publisher for begging math level classes at the college level. She then takes the products and learning back to the classroom.

Martin is also working with Edith Bowen, high schools in Jackson, Wyoming, and is looking for more schools to work with from 3rd grade to college level. For more information on Martin’s projects visit

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 18th Brown Bag: Dr. Cindy Hmelo-Silver's Presentation

Where: Edu Bldg 2nd Floor. Room 282
When: Thursday. 12 PM

 Dr. Hmelo-Silver will present the design and enactment of a technology-rich problem-centered middle school curriculum designed to support learning about ecosystems.

Systems and Cycles: Learning about Ecosystems in a Technology Rich Learning Environment 

In this presentation, Dr. Hmelo-Silver will present the design and enactment of a technology-rich problem-centered middle school curriculum designed to support learning about ecosystems. As part of a program of design-based research, she will present the work of the systems and cycles research team in examining learning trajectories, outcomes, and transfer. Pizza will be provided by the ITLS department.

About Dr. Cindy Hmelo-Silver

Dr. Cindy Hmelo-Silver is a professor in Educational Psychology at Rutgers University. She focuses on how people learn about complex phenomena and how technology can help support that learning. As part of this work, she studies problem-based learning, collaborative knowledge construction, and computer supported collaborative learning. She examines the role of technology to support social knowledge construction and collaborative learning and problem-solving. Her research investigates scaffolded support for problem-based learning, the use of video for learning, and complex systems understanding. Please contact us if you have any comments, questions or suggestions. Thank you.

ITSA President: Ryan Burdo
ITSA Doctoral Vice President: Gisela Martiz
ITSA Online Masters Vice President: Joe Limas
ITSA Masters Vice President: Tianyu Chen
ITSA Communications Officer: Hui Qiao
ITSA Faculty Adviser: Sheri Haderlie

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Craft Technologies Exhibit: Come See Our Collection of Projects

March 9, 2013
Organization Name: Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences
Contact Info: Deborah Fields 435-797-0571

Craft Technologies Exhibit: Come See Our Collection of Projects

Welcome to the World of Tangible, Computational Crafts Where Computers are Sewable and Circuits are Made With Conductive Thread LOGAN, Utah – Wednesday, April 24 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Ellen Eccles Education Building, Room 282, students will be showcasing their projects from this semester.

This is the very first semester of this course, and Assistant Professor Deborah Fields is excited to show off students’ work.

The exhibit will include interactive games, jackets that light up in response to touch, glass jars that play music, squeezable light-up stuffed animals, singing mushrooms, and much more.

Students have been designing a wide range of fun projects, from interactive quilts and twinkling tutus to pressure sensitive pet toys and NERF gun video games.

We have students from fashion design, communications, art, publicity, and instructional technologies & learning sciences. The diversity of expertise in the class has contributed to a lot of creative work,” said Fields.

The Craft Technologies course is part of a new movement to transform the landscape of technology education by changing the way we think of and use computers. It’s about crafting with digital technologies, using threads instead of wires, using cloth instead of metal. In other words, making hybrid creations that cross traditional domains of computing, engineering, art, and crafting. Students are using cutting edge technologies alongside more traditional crafts to explore the affordances of different conductive materials for interaction. Each student has designed several different projects, including human sensor garments, fabric pianos, and alternative video game controllers (picture a quilted Nintendo controller!).

The students have been amazing this year. Most came in with very little to no knowledge of how to make circuits or program computers, but by the end of the semester have made some very clever and creative products,” said Fields. Children are welcome.

Media Contact: Amanda Harris 214-909-7484

Friday, April 5, 2013

UPR's Story on Andy's MOOC Class

Utah Public Radio (upr) reported the News about the Massive Open Online Course at USU, ITLS 5245/6245, which is teaching by Dr. Andrew Walker, associate professor in the instructional technology and learning science department at USU.

Click here to see more detail:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Brian Belland Will be Honored for a Book Published in 2012!

The Role of Criticism in Understanding Problem Solving: Honoring the Work of John C. Belland

In conjunction with the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, the Library is hosting the annual reception to honor authors of books published in 2012. Brian Belland from the ITLS department is one of the honorees. The reception will be in the Library on Wednesday, April 10th from 4-5 PM and Dr. Robert McPherson from the Department of History will be giving a brief book talk about his two recent works, Dinéji Na'nitin: Navajo Traditional Teachings and History and Navajo Tradition, Mormon Life: The Autobiography and Teachings of Jim Dandy. All 34 publications will also be on display at this time.

If you are able to attend, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies has asked that you complete an official RSVP so that they will have a good idea about the number to expect.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Victor Lee Receives Prestigous National Award

Dr. Victor Lee, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences, has been awarded the 2013 Jan Hawkins award for early career contributions to humanistic research and scholarship in learning technologies from AERA. This prestigious award is given to one or two young scholars nationally each year whose body of work combines practice and advocacy. Award recipients are recognized for conducting research that explores and demonstrates powerful new ways to think about technologies in contexts of learning and education, and uses innovative research methods to understand the impact of those technologies. Their work also places young people and/or practicing educators at the center of the problem-solving process, strikes an effective balance between innovation -- inventing new approaches to K-12 learning with technologies -- and understanding -- examining existing educational environments and changes that occur when technologies are introduced. Awardees are also recognized for using technology to bring about broad improvements in educational systems with a focus on issues of diversity, equity, and learning for all. The award recognizes the late Dr. Jan Hawkins, a renowned developmental psychologist with a cognitive, cultural, and social-interactionist orientation who was especially well known for her respectful, humanistic conceptions of appropriate roles for using technology in K-12 learning environments.

Previous awardees come from leading peer institutions such as Stanford University, University of Michigan, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and they have all have established themselves as leaders in the Learning Sciences. Dr. Lee is the first recipient from any institution in the Rocky Mountain region and the first ever from Utah State University. His current research involves designing and researching the use of physical activity data technologies, such as accelerometers, heart rate monitors, high speed cameras, as tools for young students to engage in data analysis. Dr. Lee has previously been a recipient of an National Science Foundation CAREER award, the most prestigious award given by the foundation for early career scholars who integrate excellence in both research and teaching.

As part of this award, Dr. Lee will be giving an invited address at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia.

More information about Dr. Jan Hawkins and the award can be found at

April 4th Brown Bag: Deliberate Practice to Develop Meaningful Skills on the Job

April 4th Brown Bag: Deliberate Practice to Develop Meaningful Skills on the Job
Where: Edu Bldg 2nd Floor. Room 282
When: Thursday, April 4th 12 PM
Who: Mark McKenna

About the Presentation

How does an employee who stocks shelves in a grocery store develop the skills he will need to eventually be the store manager of his own grocery store through his current job tasks? This presentation will focus on a method for deliberately practicing skills at work. Mark will share how he implemented this with 8 employees who developed higher-order skills through entry level job tasks. He will also share how he implemented principles of adult learning into his methodology in a way that increased employee engagement and performance. This presentation is based on the creative project that Mark completed as part of his Masters program.

Nominations are open for ITSA positions

We are now taking nominations for ITSA President and ITSA Vice President for the doctoral cohort and will continue to take them until the 11th of April. You are welcome nominate yourself or another individual who you believe would serve the office well. Any current ITLS student may serve as the President and any doctoral student can serve as the Doctoral Vice President.

Please send your nominations or any questions you have about the positions to Ryan at Elections for Masters Vice President and Communications Officer will be held at the beginning of the Fall semester. Please contact us if you have any comments, questions or suggestions. Thank you.

ITSA President: Ryan Burdo
ITSA Doctoral Vice President: Gisela Martiz
ITSA Online Masters Vice President: Joe Limas
ITSA Masters Vice President: Tianyu Chen
ITSA Communications Officer: Hui Qiao
ITSA Faculty Adviser: Sheri Haderlie