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IES Contract

Title: ACE – A Music Creation Engine to Improve Algebra Readiness
Center: NCER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Israel, Lana Awardee: Muzology, LLC
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (05/01/2021 – 04/30/2023) Award Amount: $900,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 91990021C0034
Description:

Project Website: https://muzology.com

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype: https://youtu.be/EcPGbs1rXpU

Purpose: In this project, the team will fully develop and test a web-based product to guide middle and high school students in creating and producing their own mathematical music videos to learn standards aligned content in algebra. Research demonstrates that success in Algebra is foundational to future success in STEM and related careers. To engage and support students in learning, educators can consider a wide range of teaching and learning models, including harnessing music to stimulate mathematical thinking.

Project Activities:  In a previous a previous project, the developer created an online platform that uses songs to support mathematical learning. In the Phase I project in 2020, the team developed a prototype that guides students in creating and producing their own music videos about algebra. The prototype includes a video production application, a framework for students to compose mathematical songs, and a mode to present videos. At the end of Phase, the researchers completed a pilot study with 42 middle students and three teachers in grade 9 classrooms. The prototype operated as intended as students were able to use the song creation engine and the teacher was able to implement a lesson in the classroom. Results demonstrated that 70% of students liked doing song writing activities and indicated that the prototype was easy to use, and 60% reported that the experience was fun and would recommend the intervention to peers as a way to learn math. Students made suggestions to improve the prototype, including providing better instructions on how to save their work in progress and to have an option to conceal their own voice. The three teachers all rated the prototype as easy-to-use and a good way for students to demonstrate their understanding of math content—especially at the end of a unit.

In Phase II, the team will fully develop the user interface, a virtual workspace with preloaded pre-Algebra Math Fact Sheets, a natural language processing engine to offer suggestions and to automatically detect if student work aligns to relevant learning goals, and a teacher dashboard to track student progress. After development is complete, the researchers will complete a pilot study to examine the product's usability and feasibility, fidelity of implementation, and promise to increase student Algebra learning.  The study will include 30 grade 9 math educators with 30 students per class, for a total of 900 students. Half of the classes will be randomly assigned to use the product and the other half will complete business-as-usual activities. Researchers will compare student scores on standardized pre- and post- learning  end of unit learning outcomes for Algebra I and II. The team will gather cost information using the "ingredients method" and will include all expenditures on things such as personnel, facilities, equipment, materials, and training.

Product: The Active learning Creation Engine (ACE) will be a web-based product to guide middle and high school students in creating and producing their own music videos to learn standards aligned content in algebra. To begin, students will select a song from a pre-populated library of music from contemporary artists.  Students will then rewrite the lyrics to a selected song to explain a math topic to be learned.  When students are ready, they enter "record mode" and sing, rap, or talk their lyric over an instrumental version of the selected song. A natural language processing engine is being developed to measure how closely songs align to meaningful mathematical content to be learning. A teacher dashboard will track student progress and provide professional development modules on how to integrate the app into classroom practice.

Related IES Project: ACE — A Music Creation Engine to Improve Algebra Readiness (91990020C0068)


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