Newswise — A new report co-authored by a University of Illinois at Chicago computer and learning scientist examines the use of technology in classrooms through efforts supported by the National Science Foundation.

Organized by The Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning, or CIRCL, the report highlights examples of the work that the cyberlearning community is engaged in to integrate the latest innovations in learning science and computer science into new research designs and methods.

Tom Moher, UIC associate professor of computer science and learning sciences, is one of 22 members of the U.S. cyberlearning community who wrote the report, “The Cyberlearning Community Report: The State of Cyberlearning and the Future of Learning With Technology,” which features six design themes emerging across multiple NSF-funded cyberlearning projects taking place in classrooms from pre-K-12 through post-secondary levels.

Among the questions tackled in the report are:

  • How students can use their bodies and minds to learn what will be important in the 21st century, such as collaboration, scientific argumentation, mathematical reasoning, computational thinking, creative expression, design thinking, and civic engagement?
  • What advances in computation and technology are needed to design, develop, and analyze innovative learning experiences?
  • How can learning with technology expand access, equity, and depth of learning across diverse people, institutions, and settings?

Moher, whose research has included work with Chicago and suburban elementary and middle schools, started on the project as a faculty member in the College of Engineering’s computer science department and later continued as an emeritus faculty member in the Learning Sciences Research Institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Moher coauthored a section of the report, “Classrooms as Digital Performance Spaces,”  with Noel Enyedy of UCLA. The section featured research that took place at UIC under several NSF grants on which Moher served as principal investigator.

“That section focuses on the idea of classrooms as ‘instrumented’ spaces in which children’s physical movements and use of technologies distributed around the room serve as inputs to STEM simulations, as ways to collectively build knowledge, and data sources for students’ interests and development of skill in scientific practices,” said Moher, adding that research at UIC around this work stretches back to 2003.

This is the first “report to the community” around NSF’s investment in learning technologies, according to Moher.

To read and download the full report go here.

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