Technology, Innovation, and Education
Grants Support Chris Dede's Research in Emerging Technologies
Using this project & in my science class is different from my regular classes because we had to be the scientists and figure out what was making the people sick.--A middle school student describes how
the River City Project propels learning out of the everyday classroom and into an online environment where students work in teams and take on the identity of scientists. In River City, students step back into the 19th century to battle a mysterious epidemic. This curriculum tests the strengths and limits of an emerging learning technology: MUVE, or multi-user virtual environments. For several years, Chris Dede (Wirth Professor of Learning Technologies and a senior member of the TIE faculty) and his team of student researchers have designed, implemented, and studied this NSF-funded curriculum in a variety of school systems. A three-year follow-up grant is enabling the project to scale up to reach hundreds of teachers and tens of thousands of students a year.
In another project, with support from the U.S. Department of Education, Chris Dede is assessing Augmented Reality Simulation Games that use mobile computers to teach students mathematics and literacy skills. In games such as Environmental Detectives and Mad City Murder, students confront complex multi-dimensional problems that demand higher-order thinking skills in confronting environmental and public health issues. Now Dede and researchers from MIT and the University of Wisconsin are teaching teachers how to create augmented reality simulation games for their students. The goal is to make this technology practical and sustainable for a wide range of teachers and schools by creating better authoring tools, developing teacher workshops, and fostering an online community of teacher/developers.
Find more information at the Handheld Augmented Reality Project Website. Watch a video of Chris Dede presenting a TIE seminar on research about wireless handheld devices that sets a context for this grant.
Chris also has two new grants funded by the US Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES). EcoMUVE will develop a Multi-User Virtual Environment science curriculum for middle school students. The Virtual Assessment project will study the feasibility of using technology to assess middle school students' science inquiry learning in a standardized testing setting.
Chris Dede also organized a conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Evolving a Research Agenda for Online Teacher Professional Development (oTPD). Stimulated by the proliferation and variability in oTPD programs, and the desire to make oTPD initiatives less daunting and more effective, Chris and his students produced a conference volume and a research agenda based on the discussions of conference presenters and attendees.
Read an article about this conference, and read about the book Chris subsequently edited, Online Professional Development for Teachers: Emerging Models and Methods.
To learn more about Chris Dede's research, please see his project page: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/~dedech/