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Transforming Teaching and Learning through Technology

Faculty Research - February 2015

Dr. Stephen Adams, Professor, Educational Technology and Media Leadership Photo

New curriculum standards require teachers to teach about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and to use educational technologies. Dr. Stephen Adams (Professor in Educational Technology and Media Leadership) has been developing and studying a teacher training model for using educational technologies in STEM that has complementary goals related to both developing teachers and serving youth from diverse communities.

He has developed a course, ETEC 529 Educational Technologies in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics, that includes a field experience component. As part of the field experience, teachers work in teams to create STEM workshops for youth. In recent years, the field experience has been based at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach. In this way, the aim is to create a "win-win" arrangement for both teachers and the youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs. This work is part of a project Dr. Adams directs, Transforming Teaching and Learning through Technology.

One key strategy has been to use curriculum kits from the Museum of Science, Boston as a starting point. To support their curricular goals, teachers devise ways of using technologies including tablets, smart phones, and Internet resources. Last summer, a group of teachers created robotics workshops, led by Liem Nguyen, a graduate student in the Educational Technology and Media Leadership program and a Learning Technologies Systems administrator in Academic Technology Services.

Youth Use Robotic Kits to Solve Challenges in the Classroom
Youth Use Robotic Kits to Solve Challenges in the Classroom

Dr. Adams has been engaged in research activities for this project in collaboration with:

  • Dr. Lisa Martin-Hansen, chair of the Science Education department
  • Elaine Bernal, a student in the Educational Leadership doctoral program and a lecturer in Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Monica Cole-Jackson who was a student in the Educational Leadership doctoral program; and
  • Paul Burns, a graduate student in the Educational Technology and Media Leadership program and an Academic Technology Specialist at CSULB.

Their research has found that teachers participating in the program showed gains in how to integrate knowledge of pedagogy, content, and technology to teach STEM lessons. Research is also underway regarding the experiences of youth in the program. The team has delivered numerous presentations about the project at local, national, and international conferences. A feature story on the College of Education website highlights the project activities and a web site about the project showcases STEM projects created by teachers for youth.

The project began with support from Google. The Fluor Corporation has also been a long-standing partner and funder. The project has also received support from Chevron, the Noyce Foundation, 100Kin10, as well as through studies of after-school learning funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and, most recently, research on Linked Learning supported by the James Irvine Foundation.

Dr. Adams is a co-investigator on project supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation, "Developing Engaging and Effective Practice: Advancing STEM Education via University-Community Collaborations," which is directed by Dr. James Kisiel (Science Education) with Dr. Martin-Hansen as co-investigator. He also represents the CSULB campus to the CSU Digital Ambassadors, which is a group of California State University faculty with interests in educational technologies and STEM.

Research @ the Beach | Faculty Research