Teaching & Learning

USU Researchers Will Evaluate New Utah Math Technology Pilot

Researchers from Utah State University will evaluate math technology products being piloted by schools. It’s all part of a project for Utah’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Action Center.

HB 139 created the center, with the goal of strengthening instruction and preparing Utah students for careers in STEM fields. One of its initiatives established a pilot program to provide educational, instructional technology to support middle and high school students’ learning in mathematics.

USU’s Active Learning Lab, located in the Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences Department, will evaluate selected technology products, in a search for materials that help students with their own individual needs.

The lab is headed by Taylor Martin, who has championed learning analytics as a way to use data to improve the student experience and inform the teacher’s instructional decisions.

“Math is a big hurdle that students must clear to access advanced STEM courses and careers,” said Sarah Brasiel, associate director of the Active Learning Lab.

The evaluation will focus not only on a curriculum’s effectiveness, but also on whether it bolsters a student’s interest in math. Teacher satisfaction and concerns with the technology products will also be taken into account.

The pilot will test products that are new to Utah schools through randomized, controlled trials where possible. If less information is available, the evaluation will take a more anecdotal approach. It will also examine existing data from a couple of technology products already in use.

Recommendations will be made in January 2014.

Related links:

Contact: Sarah Brasiel, Active Learning Lab associate director, sarah.brasiel@usu.edu

Contact: Taylor Martin, associate professor, Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences department, (435) 797-0814, taylormartin@usu.edu

Writer:  JoLynne Lyon, 435-797-1463

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