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IES Contract

Title: The Learning Element: A Lesson Planning and Curriculum Documentation Tool for Teachers
Center: NCER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Cope, William Awardee: Common Ground Publishing, LLC
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2.5 years Award Amount: $850,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: EDIES10C0018

Purpose: School-level curriculum design and instructional delivery is often traditional, not incorporating highly interactive, multimodal social media technologies where users generate content to provide feedback for learners and to support formative assessment. This project team will develop key elements of today's Web 2.0 social networking technologies to include the potential for collaborative content design amongst teams of teachers, easy dissemination of instructional content to students, and rapid, responsive formative and summative assessments of student work. The product, the Learning Element 3.0, will be the equivalent of Facebook for educators while focusing on professional rather than interpersonal interaction. The product will be framed to interconnect learning design, learning content delivery, learner activity, and learning assessment.

Project Activities: The development process will be grounded in an iterative cycle of research, refinement, and testing. The team will first develop a functional beta version, including a formal iterative process to elicit feasibility feedback from a target sample of users on initial versions of the prototypes and an advisory panel, composed of key experts from the teaching profession. Then the team will develop supporting professional development materials and products necessary for implementation. To demonstrate the usability of the product, the feasibility of the product's implementation, and the ability of the product to affect student outcomes, pilot research will occur in six middle school language arts and science classrooms over six weeks. Key outcomes will include student performance on common assignments, student self assessment, teacher preparation time and effort, quality of assessment information available, and teacher satisfaction.

Product: The Learning Element 3.0 will be an innovative technology tool for teachers to reconfigure traditional curriculum design and instructional roles. The tool will consist of three closely interconnected online spaces, which users will choose to view separately or juxtapose in side-by-side panes presenting parallel views. These spaces will include: 1) a 'teacher resource' space in which lesson planning occurs; 2) a 'learner resource' space in which this plan is translated into student-accessible text for independent or semi-independent learning; and 3) a 'learner workbook' space in which students undertake activities in the 'learner resource' space that build on scaffolded reading activities completed in the 'learner resource' space. The technology will support multimodal text delivery (text, image, video, audio) and will be able to be used across multiple content areas.