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Research

In the STEM Teaching and Learning lab, we aim to improve STEM teaching and learning by focusing our research on two main areas:

1) Spatial Skills and STEM Teaching and Learning

This area of work examines how to improve both grade school and undergraduate students’ STEM learning by bolstering and developing their spatial skills. Spatial skills enable us to manipulate, organize, reason about, and make sense of spatial relationships in real and imagined spaces. For example, they are the set of set of skills used when navigating from one location to another, or when trying to assemble furniture using the manufacturer-provided two-dimensional instructions. Prior research has established that this set of skills are critical for success in STEM disciplines. Current studies include examining how to use gestures to bolster students’ understanding of mathematical equivalence in a classroom setting and understanding whether teachers’ spatial skills influence the development of students’ spatial skills.

2) Using Technology to Improve STEM Teaching and Learning:

In this area of work, we examine how to promote STEM learning and engagement through the integration of rich technological experiences in formal learning environments (i.e., K-12 and undergraduate classrooms). For example, electronic making and engineering design activities have been found to engage students in STEM learning and cultivates STEM skills and interests. These activities largely occur in out-of-school learning environments (e.g., after school programs, summer camps) that may not be accessible to all students. In one study, we investigated how to infuse electronic making and engineering design activities into school classrooms so they are accessible to all students. To learn more about this project, please check out the following video. In addition to electronic making, the STEM Teaching and Learning Lab also examines how to bolster STEM teaching and learning through multimedia learning, including online learning environments.