Thursday, August 27, 2015

Congratulations Scot!

Scot Smith, a doctoral student at ITLS of USU, has just accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico. This fall, he starts teaching mathematics for undergrads, as well as mathematics methods courses for teachers. He was told that what made him stand out above the rest of the applicants was his knowledge of technology integration with mathematics. He also may be engaging with local high schools and seeking to improve their dual enrollment mathematics courses. 

Scott’s research interests are in investigating students’ difficulties and misconceptions in learning rational number concepts, and in investigating instructional approaches for remediating rational number learning difficulties. In particular, Scott is interested in applying conceptual change theories to the investigation of rational number difficulties, and in self-explanations and technologies such as virtual manipulatives as instructional means of remediating rational number learning difficulties. He has finished his dissertation data collection and is currently working on finalizing his analysis and dissertation. His dissertation focuses on understanding how students conceptualized fractions and decimals using a number line applet built with a technology tool called Geogebra. 

He plans to defend his dissertation and complete his Ph.D. in our ITLS Department in Fall 2015. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jeff Thayne accepted into special AECT symposium

The ICEM graduate student panel discussion in emerging technology is an AECT panel session designed to give graduate students an opportunity to share research and teaching practices related to emerging technologies. 4-6 graduate students are usually selected to present. Previous years the focus has been emerging technologies like game-based learning and gamification, mobile learning, etc. This year, the focus is on learning analytics and wearable technologies. This year, ITLS doctoral student, Jeffrey Thayne's been accepted.

The title of Jeff's accepted paper is "Self-data and wearable technologies: Do students care?" He will be sharing insights from both his dissertation research and from grant-funded research headed by Dr. Victor Lee about whether or not the use of wearable technologies -- in this case, physical activity trackers such as the Fitbit -- connects learning activities with the ongoing interests and concerns of learners. Some have proposed that the use of data about the self in statistics instruction might bring learners to care more about learning activities, and in my dissertation study I attempt to explore that possibility in a qualitative research study involving several undergraduate statistics learners.