Funding Source: IES, National Center for Education Research, in DOE, RFA Topic and Goal: Education Technology Development Project

Title: Teacher Education in Creating High-Level Learning Objects for Integration into the Algebra Curriculum [TECH-LO]

Principal Investigators: Robert Hoar, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, Jennifer Kosiak, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse with Evaluation Manager Chris Olgren, University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Submitted: October 31, 2007 for a 3-year project starting July 1, 2008

Status: Under Review

Project Overview:

Purpose: TECH-LO integrates innovative technology tools into the educational process through teacher professional development by way of a comprehensive collection of Technology- Enhanced Algebraic Modules (TEAMs). The TEAMs will contain a series of teacher-created, field-tested digital Learning Objects (LOs) designed to support teaching and learning of algebraic reasoning at the high school level. With the long range goal of enhancing teacher quality and increasing student achievement in mathematics, the project’s purpose is to document the feasibility of implementing LOs and TEAMs into the high school mathematics classroom.

Setting: The participants will be high school mathematics teachers and their students in western Wisconsin, primarily from suburban or disadvantaged rural school districts. These districts exhibit numerous factors that put students at risk for educational failure including low academic test scores, high poverty, limited English proficiency, and in some schools, large Native American, migrant, Hispanic and Hmong populations. Included in the demographics are six of the 33 identified high-need school districts in Wisconsin based on socio-economics, student achievement scores, and teacher quality.

Population: The student populations will represent the typical racial, ethnic, and income diversity of student populations in partner school districts, including the School District of La Crosse. This school district serves approximately 7,650 students. District-wide, nearly 20%--and in some schools up to 50%--of the enrollment is ethnically diverse. Approximately 35% (24% - 80%) of the district’s students are eligible for free/reduced price lunch.

Intervention: The project combines a professional development process for developing teacher- created LOs with an iterative development process of refining and sequencing the LOs into TEAMs. Through lesson study and teachers-as-designers of high-quality LOs, the emphasis of the professional development process will be on the technological, pedagogical, and mathematical content knowledge of teachers. This phase of intervention involves summer institutes, peer review cycles, action research, and academic year follow-up. The iterative development process involves the content packing of LOs into larger learning modules and sequenced into two TEAMs that are aligned with state and national standards for mathematics.

Research Methods: Evaluation efforts will employ an iterative approach that links design, application, and assessment, with the aim of understanding and improving teaching practices in designing and using LOs. Both formative and summative assessment methods will be used to gather qualitative and quantitative data. The evaluation will incorporate three research models: (1) an action research model to gather data on teachers’ observations and experiences in creating LOs and using them with students, (2) an LO quality model to gather data on quality criteria measures and usability measures; and (3) a feasibility of implementation model.