IST Research Groups

IST Research Groups

The PBL-Tech team investigates uses of technology to support learner complex problem-solving in problem- and inquiry-based learning settings. In addition, we examine technology practices among teachers in a variety of settings. This group has 3 strands: PIH-Net (the Persistent Issues in History Network), led by Dr. Brush, SSI-Net (the Socioscientific Inquiry Network), led by Dr. Glazewski. Our work typically takes place in K-12 classrooms, and has implications for teachers and teacher-educators. 

Given perhaps more than 90 percent of learning occurs outside of school or formal education, I am interested in anything nontraditional including the use of technologies to extend learning possibilities for people who previously lacked such access. Some of my recent research involves global and cross-institutional education, personally learning online for the sake of learning (lifelong learning), exploring the different ways that people learn outside of traditional schooling or societal structures, and generally documenting people learning how, when, or where they want. In particular, I am interested in free and open learning, whether it be in a café, bus, subway, bookstore, plane, or at home or via online classes. My research now is looking at life change from open learning (e.g., open educational resources (OER), OpenCourseWare (OCW), and massive open online courses (MOOCs), and other new forms of educational delivery. In effect, I intend to document human development and growth as it pertains to life changing moments involving learning technology. The world is open for learning and it is time to collect human interest stories that proves it and is an inspiration for others. During the past year, I have also published works on flipped classroom approaches and the use of open educational resources in China and social network analysis of peer relationships when engaged in classroom blogging in Korea. I am also exploring something that I am calling Education 3.0 involving new roles of instructors in blended learning environments.

People can still inquire about my research team and they can suggest research related to any aspect of the above or open education for which I will support these efforts to the fullness of my capacities. Stated another way, I join research teams of graduate students when I am invited and the topics sound interesting and I also lead them when time permits and students seem interested.

This research group is completing a study a study in which we seek to discover the core judgments of practicing instructions designers, or the tacit philosophies they hold regarding design. Our lens is drawn from Nelson and Stolterman's (2011) The Design Way as well as the broader literature on the nature of designing, design thinking and design practice. The group is working as part of a larger agenda examining the dimensions of practice in this field that have received little attention in research or pedagogy.

New members are welcome to the group; everyone is expected to become current with the ideas we are studying and to contribute to the study underway. However, members of the group are not required to limit themselves to the topic of the group study as they pursue their own research agendas.

If you want  more information about our current research, please visit the  Research Project Page for our ongoing study.

My research group centers on the interdisciplinary nature of instructional technology.

The basic premise is, if the field is more aware of it’s interdisciplinary nature, the scope of its research agenda can be broadened and therefore it can better contribute to research and the profession. We will read representative articles that discuss the importance of the interdisciplinary nature of neighboring fields, compare and contrast differing perspectives, and apply lessons learned to the IT field.

As a result of the semester-long meetings, we will be ready to co-author a critical review of the interdisciplinary nature of the field in which we will provide implications for research and practice.

The primary purpose of this research group is to systematically design, develop, implement and evaluate instruction or educational programs in distance learning, multimedia learning environments, educational games or face-to-face settings, in various fields such as STEM, language learning, organizations, K12 schools, engineering education, or teacher preparation.

Students participate in various phases of research, and work on publications. Example investigation areas are related but not limited to signaling, feedback, representations, pedagogical agents, cognitive load, problem solving, program evaluation…etc.

The Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) research group will investigate interactions of peer collaboration and instructional interventions for learning in online learning environments. Research topics include but not limited to online group projects, peer tutoring, group awareness, social loafing, online discussion, etc.

CSCL research group will conduct qualitative as well as quantitative studies to reveal students’ peer interactions and find their impact on learning outcome and satisfaction. They will also design and develop group awareness tools to facilitate an effective group process and positive group climate. Students will review articles related to the research topics and develop research plans collaboratively.

This group will focus on how technology is being used in K-12 environments by students and teachers. This group operates in smaller research teams, working on individual projects. Some examples of research studies include the following: Examining the evolution of knowledge, beliefs, and practices of beginning teachers Investigating computational thinking skills of preservice teachers, A survey of pedagogical beliefs and practices of computer science teachers, Description of 1:1 iPad initiatives, Documentation of K-12 teachers designing online courses, Study over how iPad manipulatives can be used by early childhood students. If students are interested in participating, please contact Dr. Leftwich to set up an appointment.