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IES Contract

Title: CloudLab Software for Hands-On Science Learning
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Roozeboom, Clifton Awardee: Myriad Sensors, Inc.
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 year (5/1/2018 4/30/2020) Award Amount: $900,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 99190018C0016

Purpose: During this project, the team fully developed and tested PocketLab Notebook (formerly CloudLab), a web-based dashboard to present scientific data captured by sensors during experiments. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) emphasize that students should have actual experience doing science and engineering so that students can apply learning to the real world. However, students often have difficulty collecting, measuring, and applying data from inquiry activities to furthering their ideas, skills, and knowledge of science or engineering.

Project Activities: During a Phase I project in 2017, the team developed a prototype dashboard that presents data from experiments where sensors measured the scientific properties of altitude, speed, and temperature. Researchers worked with 3 middle school science teachers and 350 students to determine that the prototype operated as intended. Teachers reported that students engaged in productive scientific conversations as they worked on their lab reports using the prototype. Most students reported that they would be interested in completing more science investigations using this method.

In Phase II of the project, the team fully developed the back-end data system, called the Notebook, to present results from PocketLab experiments; a portal to provide access to user generated lessons; lab templates; and activities for participating classrooms. All Notebook components were developed iteratively, with regular feedback from educators and students informing refinements. After development concluded, the researchers conducted a pilot study of the PocketLab Notebook.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic and challenges in conducting research in schools, the study was modified, and the final sample included 6 classrooms with 6 educators and 99 students that used PocketLab Notebook over several weeks. Descriptive findings supported the usability and feasibility of PocketLab Notebook. All six educators reported feeling prepared and confident to deliver the intervention and noted that the NGSS-aligned lessons were easy to use. Five of the six teachers agreed that they would teach more investigations using PocketLab Notebook regularly, with one choosing "neither agree nor disagree." While drawing inferences on the promise of PocketLab Notework was not possible due to the sampling restrictions, students in the treatment classes scored statistically higher on the proximal researcher designed post-assessment of student science and engineering practices learning from pre- to post-test.

Product: PocketLab Notebookis a web-based dashboard that presents data captured by sensors on scientific properties such as altitude, speed, and temperature. PocketLab Notebook works with the existing PocketLab Sensor, a small wireless device that transmits scientific data using Bluetooth to a smartphone, tablet, or computer.PocketLab also includes a student portal with a virtual lab notebook to guide and document hands-on activities; data analysis tools to analyze, graph, and interpret student-collected experimental data; and collaboration tools to share group lab work. A teacher dashboard provides administrative controls, student progress monitoring, a community network of lessons and activities, third-party software integration, and a point feedback system. The intended outcomes of PocketLab Notebook are increased student engagement and learning with the NGSS Science and engineering practices, specifically SEP4 to analyze and interpret data.

Related IES Projects: CloudLab: Software Development for Hands-On Science Learning (EDIES17C0042)