April 8, 2021
Thought Leadership

2021 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Virtual Annual Meeting

April 8, 2021
Thought Leadership
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Conference Dates: April 8-12, 2021

Expanding Opportunities for Equity-Based Practice: A Collaborative Study of Implementation

Authors: Leema Berland, Alison Gould Boardman, Britte Haugan Cheng, Tiffany Lee Clark, Sarah Kavanagh, Rachel Kuck, Emily Miller, Ashley Potvin, Kristina Stamatis
Discussant: Caitlin Farrell

Division L: Educational Policies and Politics
Section 9: Policy Implementation and Going to Scale

SESSION DESCRIPTION
This collaboration comprises team members from three separate research endeavors, with a focus on understanding the implementation of educational innovations using a common strategy for equity-based instructional practices — rigorous project-based learning (PBL). Collaboratory participants have been gathering virtually over 1.5 years and using a shared framework to examine a critical challenge in design, implementation, and research around PBL. The first paper in this symposium frames the need for aggregating knowledge and describes strategies used in this particular collaboratory effort. This will be followed by three papers from each of the participating research projects. In this collaboratory, each project engaged in collective work to synthesize knowledge across the research projects and, importantly, to systematically compare and contrast findings as a means to develop meta-insights about the role of local context in PBL implementation. The three projects are varied in their focus: investigating individual teachers’ shifts in practices as they adopt a PBL science curriculum; understanding the conditions that enable teachers to sustain PBL in Language Arts; and examining how school leaders can best support PBL implementation. A discussant versed in methods and challenges of implementation research will provide comments on the value of the general approach, strategies used to facilitate knowledge building across teams, and the significance of the findings on implementation that have emerged from the teams’ efforts both individually and collectively.


Perspectives on the Role of Authenticity in Project-Based and Active Learning Humanities Classrooms

Authors: Alison Gould Boardman, Christopher Pupik Dean, Zachary Herrmann, Sarah Kavanash, David Kidd, Rachel Kuck, Chaebong Nam, Joseph Polman, Jesslyn Puolson, Kristina Stamatis, Gavin Tierney
Discussant: Jal Mehta

Division C: Learning and Instruction
Section 1b: Humanities, Social Sciences, Fine Arts

SESSION DESCRIPTION
This symposium brings together four papers from research teams studying project based learning (PBL) and active learning pedagogies in humanities classrooms. Each paper examines these pedagogies through the lens of authenticity, raising questions about the role and importance of this concept in curricular design and implementation. The first paper examines authenticity as a design principle for project-based learning curriculum. Two categories of PBL projects are explored: Simulation projects and real-world projects. The second paper presents findings from a study of the impact of a framework for instruction in civics classrooms. The findings indicate that a significant predictor of civic development were levels of authentic student agency cultivated through the framework. The third paper reports findings from a study focused on the implementation of a 9th grade English language arts curriculum that was explicitly based on a three-part framework for authenticity. The results show that teachers using the curriculum achieved higher levels of authentic engagement than a comparison group. Students of teachers using the curriculum felt they were given significantly more choice, found what they learned useful in real life, and felt that their work was connected to their personal interests. The final paper describes the operationalization of authenticity in the curricula and student work of humanities teachers participating in a year-long professional development program focused on project-based teaching. The results illustrate specific strategies these teachers used to make their projects more authentic, but also illustrate how this authenticity did not always translate to the work students produced.


Teacher change of practice across contexts: Case studies of large scale project-based science curriculum enactment

Authors: Emily Miller, Kayla Bartz lead, with posters by Emily Miller, Miranda Fitzgerald, Selin Akgun, Tingting Li, Katy Easley, Annemarie Palincsar, Cory Miller, Joe Krajcik

Division B: Curriculum Studies
Section 5: The Places and Praxis of Curriculum

SESSION DESCRIPTION
This session uses case studies to illustrate the day-to-day changes in classroom practices that created the positive results of a large scale efficacy study (Authors, in press). The research project spanned three universities, two states, and involved hundreds of elementary classrooms and demonstrated that students develop science knowledge and social emotional learning with the intervention of project-based learning curriculum and professional learning. However, large scale research obfuscates the teacher and classroom shifts that engender this result. The case studies provide insights from diverse districts to explore (a) challenges that schools face during enactment, (b) day-to-day shifts in classrooms and, (c) teachers’ journeys to adjust the curriculum to align with other initiatives.


Towards an Ecological View of Scientific Sensemaking: Teacher Moves that Disrupt Deficit Perspectives of MLLs

Authors: Emily Miller & Emily Reigh,

Division B: Curriculum Studies
Section 5: The Places and Praxis of Curriculum

SESSION DESCRIPTION
Multilingual learners (MLLs) are often positioned as lacking the linguistic resources needed to engage in rigorous forms of learning, such as sensemaking discussions in science. Although research has shown that the epistemic and linguistic resources of students from non-dominant backgrounds can be valuable resources for engagement in scientific practices, the field lacks practical resources for supporting these students. In this study, we use van Lier’s ecological model to conceptualize how teacher moves can identify and leverage language resources present in the classroom environment. Through analyzing a corpus of classroom observational data, we identify and illustrate teacher moves that supported the classroom community in positioning MLLs as competent sensemakers. Implications are drawn for classroom practice and teacher professional learning.


Enacting PBL Science Instruction the Context of Physical Distancing: Supporting Humanizing Relationships

Authors: Emily Miller, Leema Berland, Joe Krajcik

Division C: Learning and Instruction
Section 1d: Science.

SESSION DESCRIPTION
This case study follows two elementary science teachers in the same urban school district during the first four weeks of their shift to virtual learning during the safer at home policy. Each teacher leveraged principles of Project-based learning to support learning. Nine hours of recorded data and six hours of interviews were coded for themes related to teachers’ individual appropriation of PBL principles and their support for fostering humanizing relationships. Shifts underscore critical aspects of science learning that need to be cultivated in any environment: Equity through authentic connections to community, and teacher motivation to embrace principles that personally resonate.

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Research

The Impact of Project-Based Learning on AP Exam Performance

Harnessing a cluster randomized controlled trial, we estimated the impact on students’ advanced placement (AP) examination performance of a project-based learning (PBL) approach to AP compared with a lecture-based AP approach.

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Research

Mapping Enabling Conditions for High-Quality PBL: A Collaboratory Approach

This paper explores enabling conditions for scaling high-quality project-based learning (PBL) to understand factors that influence how PBL spreads, whether and how it can be sustained and the extent to which it informs meaningful change in schools.

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Research Award

Equity-Centered Learning Environments (ECLEs) 

LER funded four research teams who are engaged in ongoing research addressing equity and student-centered learning in educational contexts across the country.

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Research Award

Democratic Knowledge Project

The Democratic Knowledge Project is a project-based learning civics initiative that includes a year-long 8th-grade civics curriculum, Civic Engagement in Our Democracy.

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Research

Designing Project-Based Learning Curricula

This paper provides instructional designers with guidance on how to design high-quality PBL curricula, drawing on the LER research base, the learning science literature, and best practices from the field. To provide developers with guideposts that can inform design decisions, the paper describes a set of design principles that can support the creation of content-rich, student-centered experiences.

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Research

Interdisciplinary Education: Literature Review and Landscape Analysis  

Related to project-based learning, interdisciplinary education can create more relevant learning experiences for all students. This report, produced by RTI International for Lucas Education Research, explores the field of interdisciplinary education through an extensive literature review and landscape analysis. In both parts of the report, RTI examines the definitions of interdisciplinary education; how, where, and why the approach is practiced; and finally the existing research, resources, and structures for interdisciplinary education.

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Research

Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice

Miller, E.C., Severance, S., and Krajcik, J. (2021). Motivating Teaching, Sustaining Change in Practice: Design Principles for Teacher Learning in Project-Based Learning Contexts, Journal of Science Teacher Education, 32:7, 757-779 In A Framework for K-12 Science Education, researchers call for teachers to make dramatic shifts in practice – and sustain in these changes in practice […]

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Research Award

Enabling Conditions Collaboratory

The Enabling Conditions Collaboratory brought together four research teams to work towards understanding the conditions that support high-quality PBL.

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Research

Project-Based Learning in San Francisco: Research Study Sparks Middle School Science Curriculum

When the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) was looking for a new middle school science curriculum in 2016, it sought a program that would align with the new Next Generation Science Standards and the district’s equity goals.

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Research

Project-Based Learning: How It Can Support Your Child (English Version)

This resource can help parents understand the benefits of rigorous project-based learning.

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