Grant Will Help Strengthen Math and Science Teaching
Brockport students and faculty will create a series of mobile apps to aid high school and junior high teachers.
High school and junior high math and science teachers will soon have a new instructional tool at their disposal. SUNY Brockport and the Research Foundation for SUNY have received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation that will enable Brockport faculty and students to develop a series of mobile applications designed to enhance student learning in these disciplines.
The award seeks to study whether the use of mobile applications will improve deeper understanding and long-term retention of science and mathematics concepts. They’ll be utilizing cognitive research that shows certain approaches are highly effective in aiding the recall of information.
“Easy and fun to use, we turn to mobile applications for communication, navigation, banking, personal wellness, and more. Research results from neuroscience indicate that specific cognitive approaches are highly effective in enabling students to better recall concepts they learn in class, retain, and eventually apply them to solve problems,” said Jose Maliekal, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics and a co-principal investigator of the grant. “Our grant proposes to use the former to achieve the latter educational results.”
To test this, project leaders have gathered a group of teachers from around Monroe County to provide feedback on their efforts and ultimately test them in their classrooms. Peter Veronesi, a co-principal investigator and an associate professor of education, coordinates this effort.
“Our main goal is to teach secondary school STEM teachers how to develop and use mobile apps for their classrooms in ways that align with the latest research in cognitive and neurological studies,” Veronesi said. “This research suggests notions of ‘effortful learning’ and a ‘time to forget’ interspersed with multiple levels of concepts that make the brain make complex vs. simple relationships to problems that are posed to the student.”
This is the latest in a series of initiatives that have come out of the College’s Computational Math, Science and Technology Institute (CMST), which was founded in 2003. Osman Yasar, the grant’s principal investigator and director of the institute, has also led other interdisciplinary efforts that have resulted in $6.7 million in federal funding. This has enabled the CMST Institute to provide professional development to more than 700 teachers.
General education and computational pedagogy courses resulting from these initiatives have served hundreds of STEM teacher candidates by an instructional team headed by Veronesi and Leigh Little, an associate professor of earth sciences and another co-principal investigator of the NSF grant.
Tools developed by the CMST Institute have been downloaded more than 100,000 times by users around the world.