Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. ~Helen Keller
How does collaborative STEM project-based learning change when the participating students represent fundamentally distinct cultures, countries, economic, and social backgrounds, and work together over synchronous and asynchronous internet settings?
Does the use of videoconferencing in such STEM project-based learning settings alter intersubjectivity or shared meaning in ways that might have broad social impact?
Differences in where people live and in our cultures factor deeply into social and economic fractures in US and global society. Can students working together across such boundaries experience virtual presence and shared meaning-making through project collaborations in ways that allow deeper appreciation of each other’s differences, and reduce such fractures?
Does such collaboration from the context and comfort of one’s own cultural settings helped to neutralize anxiety and distrust of others, and in ways that are promising for the next generation learning settings that will feature more abundant international collaboration at middle and secondary school levels?
Featuring students who collaborate with one another from sixteen sites in the US, Kenya, Finland, Namibia, Mexico, Iran, and India, the IC4 project explores the intersection of learning, culture, and collaboration. Supported by NSF’s AISL Program, the project provides an international, collaborative, and digital makerspace that explores these questions and seeks to understand how student learning changes when collaborating teams identify themselves as teachers seeking to help peers understand STEM topics.
NSF Awards: 1612824
Several action item requests emerged from the recent IC4 Advisory Board meeting. One of the action items came from teachers who noted that high school students needed opportunities to develop research skills in other courses besides ELA and the traditional research paper project.
I am working on just such a resource. One of the main starting points for all research is the ability to wonder and then turn wonder into an essential research question.
Given that most students learn best from visual resources, I’m using the StoryboardThat app to create the masthead for the emerging researchers resource.
After our team meeting, with both face-to-face and virtual participation from teachers, graduate students, professors, team leaders, and students, the following themes appeared across the transcripts of digital notes:
The catalytic component of mathematics instruction and video technology makes great strides in learning for high school students, thanks to the NSF-sponsored research of the IC4 team, directed by Dr. Eric Hamilton, principal investigator.