The Impact of Play on Students’ Learning and Engagement

Faculty Sponsor  : Dr. Megan Franke ( mfranke@ucla.edu)

PI  Christine Lee PhD

Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

Participants: Primary students

Classrooms 9 & 10

Keywords:  Science learning, Impact of play on learning

Primary students will learn through play about the marine ecosystem during the winter and spring quarters. This research study will examine how pretend play can be used to teach young student s complex science and math concepts. The project will develop play activities that will be integrated into the primary inquiry curriculum on the marine ecosystem. The researcher will co-design play activities with Rooms 9 & 10 teachers and hope to uncover not only how play can be used for learning, but to examine the impact play can have on students’ learning and engagement.

As part of the study, Room 9 & 10 students will be videotaped during play activities and complete drawing tasks to assess learning gains as the teams teach students through play. Additionally, the researchers will collect student work, observe and audio record classroom lessons to understand and document how students’ understanding of the marine ecosystem develop over time.

 

Perception and production of lexical stress in Spanish-English bilingual children

Faculty Sponsor  Ji Young Kim PhD  (youngkim@ucla.edu)

PI Gemma Repiso PhD candidate (grepisopu@ucla.edu)

School of Spanish and Portuguese

Participants: Primary, Intermediate, Upper 1 & Upper II

classrooms 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14 15 16 & 17

Keywords:  language learning; literacy development

Phonological Awareness constitutes a strong predictor of literacy development.  Recent research suggests that  awarenessof  stress and intonation also plays an important role in predicting reading abilities.  This project at the Lab School will investigate the phonological development of Spanish speakers when enrolled in a Dual Language Program. The importance of dual language programs has been recognized, and this research has a goal to further investigate the effect of formal instruction in the production of Spanish sounds. The project has two main objectives from a data collection standpoint:   1) to explore the relationship between sensitivity to lexical stress (knowing where to put the syllable accent)  and reading abilities and 2) to understand how lexical stress is produced and what inputs contribute to the perception lexical stress ( e.g. pitch, duration, intensity).  This will then be studied to determine the importance of formal Spanish language instruction for native speakers, and how best to develop the curriculum that would bridge the language differences between English and Spanish for this population of students.   This would have implications for these students as they advanced their educations.   Spanish speaker students in the Lab School will be asked to participate in two short research sessions (30 minutes each) during the spring quarter. In the first session, they will be asked to learn the names of some imaginary characters and to listen to auditory stimuli to identify them. Later, they will read a list of 40 words in Spanish. In the second session, they will be asked to produce the name of the imaginary characters using picture stimuli. In the second session they will also be asked to tell a story in Spanish.

Development, Deployment and Evaluation of Personalized Learning Companion Robots for Early Literacy and Language Learning

Professors Alison Bailey, PhD  (310-825-1731 or abailey@gseis.ucla.edu).

Dr. Abeer Alwan PhD. (310) 206-2231 or alwan@ucla.edu)

Graduate School of Education & Information Studies researchers in Education in collaboration with Engineering

Participants: ECI ECII classrooms 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Keywords: Computer-Supported early literacy,  language learning

UCLA  and the MIT Media Lab will be conducting a research and development initiative on the design and implementation of social robots for the teaching of reading and literacy skills for young children. Such robots are programmed to understand child input, provide evaluation information to teachers on their reading and literacy levels, and adapt response questions and teaching approaches to promote steady learning and improvement. [For a glimpse of the state-of-the-art Jibo robot we use see Time magazine: http://time.com/5023212/best-inventions-of-2017/]

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Teacher Action Research- Documenting Teaching and Learning: A Teacher Action Research Project to Elevate Thinking and Learning in the Inquiry Process

Principal Investigator: Chris Wilson, Sylvia Gentile, Judith Cantor

UCLA Lab School teachers

PI Email:   cwilson@labschool.ucla.edu

sgentile@labschool.ucla.edu

jkantor@labschool.ucla.edu

Keywords: Inquiry, documentation, reflection

 

This year, the Inquiry Pedagogy Vision Committee is focusing on the role of documentation to support teacher planning and enrich student learning, specifically in the area of science and social studies. We are investigating how documentation enhances the inquiry process at UCLA Lab School. Often documentation is used at the end of the learning process to make learning visible. We believe documentation should be an interactive tool throughout the process that provides opportunities for students and teachers to reflect on and refine their work. Documentation should not be limited to the final student product. Our goal is to elevate the role of reflection by teachers and students and investigate the impact of using documentation in this interactive way.

The action research project will help us to identify ways documentation impacts teachers’ and students’ thinking about the content, the product, and the process of inquiry.  We will analyze data from student work and documentation to look for shifts in student thinking, evidence of understanding of science and social studies concepts, and patterns of group interactions. We will analyze data from teacher work and documentation to understand how teacher moves relate to student participation and learning, as well as to identify best practices for documentation. This project will be partially supported by a grant from the Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching and support from the CONNECT office. The project goals are two-fold: to increase the types and use of documentation throughout the inquiry process, and to evaluate how these changes affect teacher planning and students’ thinking and understanding of science and social studies concepts. We hope the project findings will encourage more teachers and students to use documentation.

 

Teacher Action Research-Examining Safe School Culture at an Elementary School

Principal Investigator:

Shanna Cohen

UCLA Lab School , teacher, Safe School Specialist

Participants:

Keywords: Computer-Supported early literacy,  language learning

This teacher action research project is bringing new research focus to the lab school faculty’s understanding of the Safe School system.  For the past 15 years, Safe School has served as the foundational system for social-emotional growth at the lab school by providing children and adults with the tools and language for self-awareness and conflict resolution. In the past, Safe School personnel have held trainings for all new employees but there was no consistent, ongoing training for hired faculty and staff. Now, however, we are offering annual training for all employees in order to keep Safe School values and language at the forefront of our practice.

Last school year, the Safe School Vision Committee sponsored a multi-year research project led by Shanna Cohen, working with committee members, Safe School Specialist Laurie Ramirez, and GSEIS PhD candidate Christine Lee. The goal for the multi-year research project is to determine how well the Safe School system is integrated throughout the school. Last year a school-wide teacher and TA survey was used to identify areas on which to focus future training.   This year, using the results of the survey a new training for teachers and staff was implemented in October.   One teacher new to the lab school stated, “I learned more in this four-hour training than I did in all my teacher education programs”. Ongoing data collection by researchers includes student interviews post-conflict, analysis of conflict mediation practices and collection of surveys to determine how Safe School practices are being integrated into our classroom culture.

Science Through Technology Enhanced Play

Professor Noel Enyedy, Ph.D.

Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

enyedy@ucla.edu

Participants: Primary classrooms 3. 11, 12, 9 &10

Key Words: Modeling, Science Education, Augmented Reality

This project has developed two science units–states of matter and pollination–that employ commercially available sensing equipment to support early elementary science classrooms to use play to model and simulate science concepts. The National Science Foundation, has awarded the team two follow up grants to add additional features such as the integration of iPads and more interactivity.  The research findings of this study will inform the field about the ways in which young students can engage in authentic scientific modeling, and the ways that technological tools can enhance this process. Furthermore, the research findings will demonstrate how students’ play activities can be leveraged to support academic learning activities in developmentally appropriate ways. The STEP project aims to use new sensing technologies to help transform young children’s physical actions during pretend play into a set of symbolic representations and parameters in a science simulation. As students  physically move around the classroom,the computer will track their motion and interactions with selected objects and translate their physical activity into a shared display. Imagine something like an educational version of the Kinect game console where instead of just playing games, the students are engaging in scientific inquiry and modeling. Through these play­as­modeling activities, students will learn the core concepts of science, and theconceptual skills of modeling and systematic measurement. In addition to the motion tracking technology, the researchers are also using Apple watches and iPads for participants to interact with.  STEP will implement this new type of learning environment in five experimental classrooms at UCLA Lab School Students in all classrooms will participate in pre­ and post­ test interviews on the science concepts.

Investigating the characteristics and efficacy of the Learning in Two Languages Program: A Research and development initiative

Professor Alison Bailey, Ph.D.

Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

abailey@gseis.ucla.edu

Participants: Intermediate classrooms

Keywords: Dual Language Education, Linguistic Development

Teachers in the Learning in Two Languages (LTL) Program at the UCLA Lab School in conjunction with UCLA researchers have conducted a fully comprehensive research and development initiative on the LTL program to describe, evaluate and improve the program over the past 4 years. The project to critically examine the linguistic, academic, cognitive, social and cultural factors that the program hopes to foster in students. Teacher and student classroom interactions were regularly observed, and students’ language and academic skills, as well as their social and cognitive perspectives were regularly measured using assessments, observations and interviews. Other stakeholders in the program were formatively surveyed for their perspectives on the LTL program (including program teachers, other Lab School teachers and staff, parents of program children and parents with children       throughout the school).

The Role of Animacy in the Acquisition of Sluiced Questions and Relative Clauses

Principal Investigator:

Nina Hyams, Victoria Mateu

Department of Linguistics
howalpert@g.ucla.edu

Participants: Rooms 14, 15 & 16 – Students ages 4-6

Keywords: Language Acquisition, Contextual reading comprehension

This study researchers will investigate children’s understanding of ellipsis and relative clauses.  Ellipsis refers to the omission of part of a sentence that are understood through linguistic context, e.g. previous sentence.  For example, the elided portion of sentence (1a) is interpreted as the string in angle brackets in (1b)

Studies show that children under the age of 6 have greater difficulty comprehending sentences that question objects (e.g. Who did Mary call ____?) than those that question subjects (e.g. Who ____ called Mary?). In this study the team investigated the acquisition of two constructions that involve subject/object gaps—“wh” questions that contain elided material, a.k.a. sluiced questions (e.g. Someone called Mary, do you know who?) as well as relative clauses (e.g. I know the man that _____ called Mary. The researchers aim to investigate two key questions. (i) will children show a correlation in performance between these two constructions?—evidence for theoretical analyses that relate the two constructions in linguistics/mental presentations, and (ii) does children’s better performance with subject-related constructions arise from the shorter distance between the moved element and where it was originated (indicated with the underscore above), or due to the connection children make between subjects and animate agents? (i.e if who-question choose the animate subject, if what question choose the inanimate object.

Neural Correlates of Children's Persistence, Engagement, Attention, and Self-Regulation

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Jennie Grammer

Graduate School of Education & Information Studies
grammer@g.ucla.edu

Educators and researchers have become increasingly interested in the role that self-regulation, executive function, and motivational processes play in children’s success in school.  However, these constructs are rarely examined together, and relatively little is known about relations between them in early elementary school. Bringing together developmental, educational, and neuroscientific perspectives, the goal of this investigation is to understand the neurocognitive mechanisms that contribute to children’s self-regulation and persistence in school.  Specifically, the project seeks to examine children’s attentional focus and persistence on tasks they find challenging by exploring the neural markers of response monitoring using Electroencephalography (EEG).  In doing so, the hope is to explore the brain and behavioral processes that children engage in during challenging tasks and the effects on their academic skills.

Learning and reasoning with mathematical symbol

Principal Investigator:

Jeffrey Bye, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
jkgye@ucla.edu

Participants: Rooms 4, 5 & 6 – Students ages 10-12

Keywords: Purpose Driven Progressive Formaliztion (P-PF), interactive multi-media videos for algebraic learning

 

 This experimental research project compares the efficacy of different methods of introducing math concepts and notation to students.  Students will complete different versions of online video lessons and problems over the course of three sessions.  Researchers will collect students’ scratch paper for all three sessions, and a math worksheet and survey about the materials from the final session.  Additionally, students’ answers to questions in the online videos will be recorded online.  All data collected on paper and online will be anonymized.  The non-identifiable data from the study may be linked to anonymized student data, such as gender, race/ethnicity, and math achievement scores, if the Lab School agrees to share such anonymized data with the researchers.  None of the data, analyses, or reports from the study will contain any identifiable information about your child.  As parents have already signed the UCLA Lab School blanket consent form, they are not required to sign any additional forms at this time.  This study was developed by a postdoctoral researcher and a professor in the UCLA Psychology Department.  Parents are welcome to contact Dr. Jeffrey Bye (jkbye@ucla.edu or 949.500.6511) or Dr. Patricia Cheng (cheng@lifesci.ucla.edu) with any questions.

Science Through Technology Enhanced Play

Augmented Reality Learning Environment

Professor Noel Enyedy, Ph.D. Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

enyedy@ucla.edu

Participants: Primary classrooms

Key Words: Modeling, Science Education, Augmented Reality


This project has developed two science units–states of matter and pollination–that employ commercially available sensing equipment to support early elementary science classrooms to use play to model and simulate science concepts. The National Science Foundation, has awarded the team two follow up grants to add additional features such as the integration of iPads and more interactivity. The research findings of this study will inform the field about the ways in which young students can engage in authentic scientific modeling, and the ways that technological tools can enhance this process. Furthermore, the research findings will demonstrate how students’ play activities can be leveraged to support academic learning activities in developmentally appropriate ways.

 

Learning and reasoning with mathematical symbols: Connecting contextual mathematical thought to abstract, symbolic mathematical operations

Principal Investigator:

Jeffrey Bye, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
jkgye@ucla.edu

Participants: Rooms 4, 5 & 6 – Students ages 10-12

Keywords: Purpose Driven Progressive Formaliztion (P-PF), interactive multi-media videos for algebraic learning


learning_math

The concept of an algebraic variable is both important in its own right and foundational for higher levels of mathematics, but many students struggle to understand the meaning and purpose of a variable. Common math education practices often fail to support students in making meaningful insights about the interpretation of a variable, its mathematical purpose, or its relevance in solving real-world problems. Such conceptual impoverishment prevents these students from appreciating algebra and from building on its concepts in more advanced math. This project seeks to assess new educational materials, in the form of online multimedia videos, that encourage and support students’ discovery of the meaning and purpose of a variable, guided by principles from educational psychology and the cognitive psychology of learning.

The concept of an algebraic variable is both important in its own right and foundational for higher levels of mathematics, but many students struggle to understand the meaning and purpose of a variable. Common math education practices often fail to support students in making meaningful insights about the interpretation of a variable, its mathematical purpose, or its relevance in solving real-world problems. Such conceptual impoverishment prevents these students from appreciating algebra and from building on its concepts in more advanced math. This project seeks to assess new educational materials, in the form of online multimedia videos, that encourage and support students’ discovery of the meaning and purpose of a variable, guided by principles from educational psychology and the cognitive psychology of learning.

Analytics Validation for PBS KIDS Science Games

Principal Investigator: Greg Chung
Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (CRESST) chung@cresst.org
Participants: Rooms 3, 11 & 12 – Students ages 6-8
Keywords: gameplay meaures for Inquiry, Engagement, Affect, Content Knowledge


sciencegame

While many educational games strive to adapt for an optimal gaming and learning experience, there is relatively little research on creating algorithms for adaptivity This study seeks to understand the efficacy of algorithms embedded in educational science games that adapt the user experience according to the player’s actions and performance in order to deliver a superior learning experience. The study will also lead to the development of new algorithms based upon the observational data we collect in order to further the adaptive capabilities of the games. Participants will be observed playing science games (aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards), developed by PBS KIDS. Video data and clickstream data will be collected, and players will participate in 2 short interviews with researchers to understand their background knowledge of the science concepts, attitudes toward science, experience with digital games, and experience playing the games. Data will be analyzed qualitatively to understand the players’ experience of the game adaptivity, and new algorithms will be developed based upon observations of player behavior.

Incubation and Creativity Across Development

Principal Investigator: Gerardo Ramirez
Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (CRESST) gerardoramirez@ucla.edu
Participants: Rooms 1,2, 3, 11,12,18, – Students ages 6-10


Creative-thinking skills play a central role in allowing students to escape conventional knowledge and make innovative contributions to society. Mathematical creativity refers to the ability to think flexibly about numerical relationships, to apply novel problem solving approaches, and to bridge remote ideas between mathematical concepts—all qualities of the most advanced mathematicians. We propose that educational contexts that strictly adhere to convention and reproduction at the cost of innovation, self-generation, and divergent thinking, stifles the potential of creative students. The goal of our proposed program of work is to investigate the educational contexts that encourage mathematical creativity and to examine how we can leverage the power of underlying unconscious thinking processes to better enhance the development of creative ability in mathematics. Lab school children will be given one math problem and asked to produce as many strategies as they can for 3 minutes. Some children will be given a break. Everyone will then tackle the same problem for an additional 3 minutes. Children will also complete some simple questionnaires examining attitudes around math. We hope to recruit a sample of 1st,2nd and 4th or 5th grade children. The math task children are asked to solve will serve as a measure of flexible math thinking.

The Role of Social and Emotional Context in the Development of Decision Making Processes

Principal Investigator:
Professor Jennifer Silvers Ph.D.
Department of Psychology

Silvers@ucla.edu
Participants: Rooms5, 6 & 4 – Students ages 10-12
Keywords: Decision Making, Self-control, Emotional regulation


decisionmaking

The current study seeks to understand how social and emotional information influences adolescent self-control and decision making. Specifically, we will examine how adolescents make decisions about risk and reward in different contexts. This research is the latest in a line of work by members of the Social Affective Neuroscience & Development lab that investigates how emotional and social processes influence well-being in youth (e.g., Silvers et al., 2016, Cerebral Cortex; Guassi Moreira & Telzer, 2016, Developmental Science). The specific aims of the study are (1) to understand whether practicing emotion regulation primes better impulse control during decision making in risky contexts (2) and whether adolescents refrain from risk taking when they realize that others are affected by their choices. Hopefully, the results of this current study will go on to inform future educational interventions aimed at improving students’ decision making and self-control