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IES Grant

Title: Agent and Library Augmented Shared Knowledge Areas (ALASKA)
Center: NCER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Hamilton, Eric Awardee: Pepperdine University
Program: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $692,257
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A080667
Description:

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to promote student learning and achievement in algebra by developing an instructional support platform, Agent and Library Augmented Shared Knowledge Areas (ALASKA). This platform will integrate multiple promising technologies in order to customize the learning and instructional needs of students in Algebra I classrooms. In addition, the researchers are developing and testing a teacher professional development component to the platform, Preparing Digital Libraries for Customized Access to Educational Experience (PREDICATE), which is designed to engage teachers in a blend of reflective practice and curriculum customization that supplements the scaffolding resources currently available to them.

Project: The researchers are developing ALASKA, an instructional support platform that integrates four distinct technologies: collaborative workspaces, learning object digital libraries, pedagogical agents, and tablet computers. In addition, the researchers intend to develop and test a teacher professional development component that will support the use of ALASKA. The digital library features are teacher-generated and are intended to supplement curriculum materials the school uses and to correspond to the specific standards for which the teachers and schools are accountable.

Products: The project will produce an instructional support platform and teacher professional development component for use in Algebra I classrooms.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The setting for this study is an urban school in California.

Population: The study sample will consist of 100 ninth-grade Algebra I students drawn from five classrooms. The sample is diverse with the student population being 26% Latino, 33% Asian, 7% African American, and 34% Caucasian. Approximately 24% of the students come from low-income families.

Intervention: The researchers are developing ALASKA, an instructional support platform that integrates four distinct technologies: collaborative workspaces, learning object digital libraries, pedagogical agents, and tablet computers. The ALASKA program will be used by students in Algebra I classrooms when doing assigned classroom seatwork. While using the program, automated tutors or agents scaffold and supply information to students, students communicate with the teacher or with peers, and teachers view multiple students' ongoing work and communicate with the students through the program. In addition, the researchers will develop and test a teacher professional development component referred to as PREDICATE (Preparing Digital Libraries for Customized Access to Educational Experience). The digital library features are teacher-generated to supplement curriculum materials the school uses and to correspond to the specific standards for which the teachers and schools are accountable.

Research Design and Methods: Each component within ALASKA and PREDICATE will be developed and tested in a piecewise iterative fashion with teacher involvement at every step. For the usability and feasibility study, 100 ninth grade Algebra I students in five different classrooms will participate. During the first phase of the testing process, each of the four distinct technologies will be tested separately and in combination to determine usability and feasibility. In the second phase of the testing process, the full program will be tested and examined to determine the promise of the program for improving the learning and instruction of Algebra I.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: The key measures include the number of applets created by teachers, measures of student engagement, number of digital library retrievals, the program's "hit rate" for accurately responding to student queries and whether the program sustained dialog after the initial query, the number of peer tutoring episodes, and the mathematical context of the peer exchanges. Interviews will be conducted with teachers along with videotaping of classroom sessions.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will conduct analyses using descriptive statistics from the quantitative measures and examine the qualitative data collected from the interviews to determine the usability and feasibility of the program.


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