Faculty in EPET are doing research across a wide range of topics in educational psychology and educational technology. In keeping with the focus and expertise in the College as a whole, many of our projects focus on teacher education and professional development. Doctoral students in our program have exceptional opportunities to work with faculty on these projects. Below you can read about some of EPET’s current research projects:
Pathways to Science/LEAP (2010-2025) – Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia
Drs. Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia (of Michigan State University), Rochelle Schwartz-Bloom (of Duke University), and Tony Perez (of Old Dominion University) are co-investigators of an on-going NIH-funded longitudinal study examining how students’ undergraduate experiences influence their beliefs and feelings about science. Students take yearly surveys from freshman year to two years after they graduate from college and again 5-7 years after graduation. A subset of individuals also participate in interviews about their experiences in science. A goal of this research is to better understand how people make decisions about whether and how to participate in science. In addition to studying students’ broader experiences, this study also investigates whether students’ engagement in a 2-week summer science course (i.e., LEAP Program) influences their engagement in science. More details
Moving Beyond Access: Increasing Teacher Knowledge to Teach Rigorous Equity-Focused High School Computing (2021-2024) – Aman Yadav
This collaborative project will use a sustainable multi-pronged approach to build the capacity of underserved high schools to offer CS curriculum in the metro-Detroit area. The components of the project include: (a) training of incumbent high school teachers through a unique co-teaching model with university faculty, (b) summer intensive CS experiences for high school teachers, (c) co-design of activities and lessons with teachers that bring issues of social and racial justice into their high school CS courses, and (d) adaptation and dissemination of curriculum that integrates technology, computational thinking, and career exposure into core required academic courses.
Students are involved in research on how teachers think about the role of culturally responsive-sustaining pedagogies in computer science classrooms as well as how students think about the role of computing in their lives. The interviews will help inform how to support teachers to bring CR-SE into their CS curricula.
M-PLANS (2021-2023) – Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia & Jennifer Schmidt
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the M-PLANS (Motivation – Planning Lessons to Activate eNgagement in Science) collaborative project uses co-design as a strategy to develop a professional learning approach with resources to assist middle school teachers in supporting students’ motivation and engagement in the context of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS instruction). The project brings together motivation experts, science education researchers, and middle school science teachers who are working together to iteratively design and study a sustainable professional learning (PL) model that builds teachers’ capacity to support student motivation and engagement in science. The project aims to co-develop a professional learning experience that enhances teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge about a variety of motivational competencies that are implicit in the NRC Framework and NGSS and to equip them to support student motivation using five theoretically- and empirically-based Motivational Design Principles. More details
Teachers without Borders (2021-2023) – Christine Greenhow
Broadly, my research explores the nature of learning in technology-mediated spaces. Current projects focus on formal and informal learning in social media with the goal of enhancing educational outcomes. The Teachers without Borders project, for instance, is advancing earlier theorization of learning boundaries set forth in Greenhow & Lewin (2016) by examining teachers’ learning networks within and beyond social media and other boundaries: place, space, and time. Another project is studying relationships between social media, social capital, and well-being among youth with/without disabilities. With colleagues in the United Kingdom, a third project is examining the educational response to COVID-19 within and across our two countries, as evidenced in news and social media, with a focus on digital pedagogy adoption. My current and former students and I also continue to collaborate on related research efforts and articles (e.g., on teaching civics with social media; digital citizenship research; new literacies on social media; new forms of scholarship with social media; ethics of educational technologies).
Students have been involved in these and earlier projects working on various phases of the research process (e.g., assisting with sample recruitment, data collection, data analysis, literature reviews, co-authoring on publications). If you are interested in becoming involved in such educational technology research please contact me (email@example.com).
iCT: Developing a Teacher Micro-credential for Integrating Computational Thinking Across Disciplines (2019-2023) – Aman Yadav
Integrated Computational Thinking (iCT) is a National Science Foundation funded project aiming to develop a competency-based professional learning program to support middle school teachers to become capable of designing, facilitating, and iterating computational thinking integrated learning experiences in their pedagogy.
Students are involved in examining how teachers could integrate CT in three disciplines: Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Arts. We are developing a foundational understanding of the role of CT in humanities, which have typically been ignored as computing has expanded within STEM fields. More details
Persistence in Undergraduate Engineering (2015-2023) – Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia
In a series of ongoing NSF-supported projects, we collaborate with a team in the College of Engineering to study the effects of motivation, curriculum, and campus support programs on students’ decisions to stay in or depart from their engineering majors. We follow participants longitudinally throughout college with a series of surveys, focus groups, and interviews to understand the psychological processes associated with learning, engagement, and persistence in engineering as well as the role of institutional supports in these processes. We are particularly interested in studying these processes among students traditionally underrepresented in engineering. We also partner with the College of Engineering on the Supporting Excellent Engineers (SEE) Scholars program, which is funded by NSF to provide financial support, research-based professional development, and social cohort programming to support highly talented undergraduates in engineering. More details
Community Embedded Computing (2020-2022) – Michael Lachney
With the framework of community embedded computing we design lessons and programs to engage Black, Brown and Indigenous youth in CS and engineering projects that directly benefit the activities they are already motivated to take part in. This might include athletics, urban gardening, culinary arts, dance, hair braiding, crafting, family or cross-generational events, and more. To connect these local community, cultural, and knowledge assets with CS and engineering, we design curricula and programs through co-developing hardware (electronic sensors for sports ergonomics, soil sensing, cooking monitors, movement displays, etc.); software (heat maps for improving basketball shots; virtual art practices; environmental data analysis); fabrication practices (3D printing custom tool handles; fashion items, etc.), and other innovations. Our team of educators, technologists, and researchers co-develop these with local activity experts–athletic coaches, dance choreographers, urban gardeners, barbers, elders, etc.–to ensure that students see CS and engineering coming from the people they respect as authentic insiders to their own community. Within this context, our primary research goal is to examine how community embedded computing can Black, Brown, and Indigenous youth in CS and engineering for the purposes of shaping their interest in STEM. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to know more.
CT4EDU (2017-2022) – Aman Yadav
CT4EDU is a National Science Foundation funded project to design, implement, and assess a high-quality, integrated curriculum, and professional development that supports elementary school teachers in embedding computational thinking (CT) into their classrooms.
Students and post-docs are involved in supporting teachers to bring computational tools and practices into elementary classrooms. We are expanding this work to bring culturally responsive computational thinking into our partner teachers’ classrooms. More details
Everything’s Made Up and The Points Don’t Matter: Ungrading During The Pandemic (2020-ongoing) – Liz Owens Boltz
The Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program at Michigan State University (MSU) shifted from a traditional grading system in the fall of 2020 to employ the practice of ungrading in all courses. We have used focus groups, interviews, and survey data to evaluate the effectiveness of this initiative. In this research, we explain the process we used, changes we made, learning we experienced, and ultimately report on feedback (both qualitative and quantitative) received from our students and instructors.
MAET students have participated in focus groups and responded to surveys regarding their experiences with upgrading.