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. 

Open, online, and distance learning have always relied on a large percent of learners to self-direct their own learning. During the past decade, the emergence of open educational resources (OER) and massive open online courses (MOOCs) made self-directed learning (SDL) more prominent, essential, and celebrated. Five years ago, Curt Bonk and his research team developed a large database of MOOC instructor names, emails addresses, course topics, and other data and they have used that to explore MOOC instructor personalization practices, cultural sensitivity, motivation, instructional design challenges, pedagogical practices, and professional development. During the past two years, they have primarily focused on self-directed learning. As would be expected when in a pandemic, the percent of people engaging in self-directed learning pursuits has multiplied. In response, Professor Curt Bonk at Indiana University has conducted a series of studies related to SDL in MOOC and OER environments. His studies with IST alum Dr. Meina Zhu of Wayne State University and IST doctoral student Annisa Sari include how MOOC instructors design and deliver their courses to foster SDL. On the learner side, Bonk and Zhu’s research includes interviews of 15 MOOC learners regarding their perceptions of SDL when learning from MOOCs. The focus of that study was on the three key components of SDL, namely, self-management, self-monitoring, and motivation. In addition, Professor Bonk and Zixi Li recently conducted a study of online language learning using the popular platform Duolingo where they are investigating how this system supports and facilitates student self-directed learning (SDL). That study included a survey of 84 Duolingo learners and follow-up interviews with 10 such learners from around the world. Currently, Bonk, Dilnoza Kadirova, and Zixi Li are interviewing high school students in Nepal about their SDL practices. During the pandemic, these students have received certificates after completing MOOCs to learn English and dozens of other topics from prestigious universities in the United States. Implications for instructional designers and educators will be discussed, including specific features that can be embedded in MOOCs and OER to foster notetaking, self-reflection, time management, and other strategies found to be beneficial for self-directing one’s learning.

The Design Research Group is completing a study of precedent knowledge, a foundation form of knowledge for practicing designers. Our current project is one of a series we have conducted examining dimensions of practice in the field with a view to improving understanding of design and design 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 current study. 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. Our membership usually includes 10-12 individuals hailing from as many as 10 different countries. 

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.

The eCT learning team conducts design-based research that explores how young children learn computational thinking while interacting with a robot in an innovative mixed reality learning environment.  The team collaborates with the Department of Computer Science to develop an augmented reality (AR) learning system that allows children to use their bodies to generate and manipulate relevant ideas that are represented in a digital form and observe vividly how the ideas work. Our instructional design and research are grounded in embodied cognition suggesting our cognition is grounded deeply in bodily interactions with our social, cultural, and physical environments.

Graduate students who are interested in designing learning activities and conducting design-based research are welcome.

The AI Goes Rural project is to develop computer science curricula in collaboration with middle school teachers for use in their Digital Citizenship or Computer Science classes with the support of the Department of Defense.  The project team develops curricula on artificial intelligence (AI) that focus on AI concepts, ethical implications of AI, and AI-related careers.  As the project targets middle schools in rural areas in Indiana, the curriculum integrates AI challenges that people may face in rural areas.  Through the project, our team will actively interact with teachers who will collaborate with our team in designing and implementing the curricula.

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.

This research group is focused on examine how elementary and secondary teacher education programs are preparing preservice teachers to teach CS. Using funding from Google’s CS-ER 2019 grant, we conducted a large survey of all U.S. elementary teacher education programs, and all CS teacher education programs. We also conducted multiple case studies of teacher education programs.

Research Team: Dr. Leftwich, Dr. Brush, Jiyoung Kim, Jake Koressel, Hyejeong Lee, Lin Chu

This research group is focused on examining high school students experiences in CS courses. This is critical to increase students’ satisfaction with CS courses, hopefully increase enrollment and engagement in CS for post-secondary and careers, as well as identify how to design CS HS courses to broaden participation in computing, especially for our female students.

Research Team: Khadijah Alghamdi, Tina Closser, Jake Koressel, Ge Yan, Matt Brown

This research group is exploring the NSF funded project: PrimaryAI. The PrimaryAI project is investigating how we can create deeply engaging learning experiences integrating artificial intelligence and life science for upper elementary students with immersive problem-based learning. The objective of PrimaryAI is to significantly advance theoretical and practical understanding of how to introduce upper-elementary students to artificial intelligence with a curriculum integrating AI and life science.

Research Team: Dr. Glazewski, Dr. Leftwich, Dr. Hmelo-Silver, Katie Jantaraweragul, Minji Jeon, Adam Scribner, Srijita Chakraburty, Yichuan Yan

This research group is focused on an NSF funded project ReCT: Rethinking Circle Time. The Rethinking Circle Time project will examine the learning and instruction required for K-2 students to engage meaningfully with CT. Because K-2 teachers struggle with fitting CT into the school day, some suggest integrating CT into other subjects. With literacy being a strong focus at the K-2 levels, this project will research the process of rethinking literacy “circle time” - a reference to whole group literacy instruction. Rethinking Circle Time will engage with K-2 students, in-service teachers, and pre-service teachers to design, implement, and iterate different literacy activities that build students’ CT knowledge and interests to explore connections between literacy and CT to learn about how to help students, especially girls, gain key CT understandings. The overarching research question being addressed in this project is: What are models for integrating computational thinking and literacy in K-2 classrooms that support key CT understandings and abilities for all students and guide high-leverage instructional practices for teachers?

Research Team: Dr. Leftwich, Dr. Moore, Dr. Tank, Jiyoung Kim, Barbara Fuentes, Emily Holashak

This research group is supported by the NSF funded BPC Alliance ECEP. Through an examination of state-level enrollment data, sources, and documents, we are examining K-12 students’ and teachers’ engagement opportunities and experiences in CS education. This is done through statistical investigations into course enrollments and comparing this to the overall student populations. Historical data from the start of the CS education movement in 2016 is also utilized.

Research Team: Dr. Leftwich, Jake Koressel, Minji Jeon, Katie Jantaraweragul, Matt Brown