Synthesis and Design Workshop: Distributed Collaboration in STEM-Rich Project-Based Learning


PI: Eric Hamilton
Pepperdine University
Award Details

This project will convene a synthesis and design workshop on next generation science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning. It envisions a two-tier timeline that looks three years and then ten years into the future. One primary workshop topic involves design considerations for “boundary-crossing” project-based learning, by which students (middle school through college) collaborate on challenging STEM projects while they reside in different national, economic, cultural, and academic settings. Based on preliminary research, such “distributed” collaboration has important potential to become a life changing, abundant, and seamless aspect of enhanced, next generation STEM learning. The workshop, along with its preparations and the discussions and draft iterations that follow, will culminate in a synthesis and design paper suitable for use by the National Science Foundation and by STEM education practitioners, designers, policy-makers, and researchers. The workshop will benefit from the participation of internationally prominent participants from Finland, Mexico, and Singapore, engaged in similar next generation STEM education design efforts in their countries.

This workshop, along with a preceding series of webinars, is intertwined with crucial and exciting areas currently unfolding in education research, innovation, and the learning sciences. Its primary theoretical frameworks originate in computer supported collaborative learning and social cognition literature. The synthesis represents a prospectus that incorporates the interconnections of next generation teacher roles, sociocultural and affective dynamics in STEM cognition, computational thinking, and the integration of content, assessment, and management in personalized and collaborative learning. The design task of the workshop is to organize principles responsive to the synthesis, while furnishing overall design guidance by which a) the energy and intrinsic draw of distributed collaboration; b) the appeal, challenge, and intrigue of STEM-rich collaborative projects; c) the intrinsic pleasure and satisfaction of teaching others and helping others to succeed; and d) the intrinsic satisfaction of creating and making, are all operational and mutually reinforcing.

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