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Investigating Urban Trees

Digital East St. Louis

Digital East St. Louis, a project supported by a National Science Foundation ITEST grant, is a collaboration between Southern Illinois University’s STEM Center and the IRIS Center for the Digital Humanities to design programming that encourages newfound interest in technology via a place-based approach to the digital humanities. I serve as the project’s curriculum director, alongside STEM’s Instructional Designer Matthew Johnson and English Professor Howard Rambsy.

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New York Harbor: Resilience in the face of four centuries of development

New York Harbor is a large, iconic and complex body of water that has been extensively modified to support the development of a megacity. These modifications have affected the shorelines, water flow, water quality, habitats and living resources of the harbor. Changes in topography and bathymetry have altered the landscapes and seascapes of the region, largely to support an active shipping port and intense human settlement.

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Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Sciences: The Expansion and Future of the Model

The CCERS partnership includes collaborators from universities, foundations, education departments, community organizations, and cultural institutions to build a new curriculum. As reported in a study conducted by the Rand Corporation (2011), partnerships among districts, community-based organizations, government agencies, local funders, and others can strengthen learning programs. The curriculum merged project-based learning and Bybee’s 5E model (Note 1) to teach core STEM-C concepts to urban middle school students through restoration science.

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Including Students’ Geographies in Geography Education: Spatial Narratives, Citizen Mapping, and Social Justice

Preparing students to become active, participatory citizens is more than promoting personal responsibility. It requires actively engaging with others in order to improve one’s community. Using a critical geography approach, this article describes research with students living in urban areas that engaged them in fieldwork and citizen mapping of the neighborhood around their high school. We were interested in how they interacted with this environment and their perceptions of social justice issues in the community.

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Teaching Spatial Thinking and Geospatial Technologies Through Citizen Mapping and Problem-Based Inquiry in Grades 7-12

Our project introduced students in grades 7 through 12 to spatial thinking and geospatial technologies in the context of challenges in their community. We used a mix of levels of inquiry to advance learning from teacher- to student-guided through a citizen mapping group activity. Student-suggested problem-based topics included parks and community gardens, crime, housing, and youth employment opportunities.

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Urban Middle School Students, Twenty-First Century Skills, and STEM-ICT Careers: Selected Findings from a Front-End Analysis

As part of the design and development of an informal learning environment meant to increase urban middle school students’ interest in technology-focused STEM careers, and to support their twenty-first century skill development, researchers developed and administered the ICT/Twenty-First Century Skills Questionnaire. Both STEM-ICT professionals and middle school students completed the survey. STEM-ICT professionals indicated that problem solving, critical thinking and communication were the most valued and the most frequently used skills in their environments.

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Supporting Scientific Modeling Through Curriculum-based Making In Elementary School Science Classes

Our work investigates how Making may be used in the context of scientific modeling in formal elementary school science classes. This paper presents an investigation of fourth- and fifth-grade students engaging in Making activities to create simulation, concept-process, and illustrative models in the science classroom.

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Putting Making into High School Computer Science Classrooms: Promoting Equity in Teaching and Learning with Electronic Textiles in Exploring Computer Science

Recent discussions of making have focused on developing out-of-school makerspaces and activities to provide more equitable and enriching learning opportunities for youth. Yet school classrooms present a unique opportunity to help broaden access, diversify representation, and deepen participation in making. In turning to classrooms, we want to understand the crucial practices that teachers employ in broadening and deepening access to making.

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STEMStarter: A High School Capstone Course to Create STEM Career Pathways

High school capstone courses—culminating educational experiences for seniors as they conclude their formal high school education—have become increasingly popular across the nation, particularly in New England. The STEMStarter Capstone was designed to help Connecticut high schools meet new accreditation standards from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and graduation requirements that include a mastery-based learning project.

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