Tag Archives: Robert Tinker

Sharing Research Results and Special Poster Session to Commemorate Robert Tinker at AERA 2018

Several researchers and senior scientists from the Concord Consortium traveled to New York City in April for the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). A record 17,148 educators and researchers around the world attended AERA 2018, which offered 900 sessions in eight hotels centered in bustling Times Square.

A poster with research from Hee-Sun Lee and Amy Pallant focused on the design of formative science assessments in which a system interprets students’ constructed scientific arguments via natural language processing and scores them automatically using machine learning technologies to provide tailored feedback and facilitate revision and improvement. Paul Horwitz and colleagues described digital learning environments involving collaborative problem-solving, using an evidence-centered design framework.

Carolyn Staudt, together with collaborators from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and Stroud Water Research Center, shared promising results for teaching environmental sustainability using their Model My Watershed software. They found that place-based watershed modeling is an effective tool for increasing students’ understanding of watersheds, encouraging personal environmental action, and serving as a critical incident for watershed engagement.

Angela Kolonich from the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University and Dan Damelin from the Concord Consortium presented results from the Interactions project, a collaboration between the two institutions. They shared findings from a study pairing an educative, project-based, 3D science curriculum with professional learning of inclusive 3D instruction. Findings indicate that providing teachers with sustained, research-based curricular and instructional supports assists them in making instructional decisions that bridge 3D learning with the unique needs of their students.

Sherry Hsi and Hee-Sun Lee participated in a structured poster session on the theme of knowledge integration in science. The session, chaired by Professor Marcia Linn and joined by colleagues and alumni from the Technology-Enhanced Learning Collaborative and WISE Group at the University of California, Berkeley, demonstrated multiple examples of how knowledge integration as a curricular design framework builds toward a more coherent understanding of the many ideas students have about science. Discussants Bat-Sheva Eylon and Esther Bagno attended the session from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel to reflect upon the influence the knowledge integration framework has had on the design of learning in middle and high school science instruction, and on the professional development of teachers internationally.

On the final morning of AERA, a special poster session commemorated the Concord Consortium’s founder, Robert Tinker. Posters celebrated his immeasurable impact in educational technology over the past 40 years and highlighted his continued influence on the field. As the international group of 14 presenters provided brief overviews of each poster, the sharing quickly gave way to tributes and personal stories about how Bob had inspired, nurtured, and fueled such a diverse variety of personal research trajectories and programs. (Read more stories and share your own at https://rememberingbob.concord.org)

AERA Special Poster Session Presenters

The posters included examples of probeware, model building, online professional development, mixed-reality applications, video-based data for inquiry, tools for learning about solar energy, geosciences, biology, thermodynamics, and more. As a whole, the session featured crosscutting themes of simulation and modeling, pedagogical content models, innovative assessment, learner analytics, collaborative learning, and inquiry-based laboratories. Chris Hoadley from NYU and Marcia Linn from UC Berkeley closed the session with heartfelt remarks about Bob’s passion for building powerful tools, his knack for initiating productive and collaborative partnerships, and his persistent belief that students were capable of doing real science with authentic tools if given the opportunity to play, be curious, and ask questions.

To continue to honor Bob’s legacy at future AERA conferences, Chad Dorsey and Sherry Hsi announced the Robert F. Tinker Scholarship for emerging scholars during the AERA 2018 Joint SIG Business meeting of the Learning Sciences and Advanced Technologies for Learning. This award will be presented annually to a graduate student or postdoc member of the Learning Sciences and/or Advanced Technologies for Learning SIG to support travel to deliver an accepted AERA poster or presentation. We look forward to this ongoing opportunity to build the field along the themes that were important to Bob: tools for inquiry, learning and collaboration, data explorations, sustainability and the environment, tinkering with models, playful experimentation, online learning, and learning everywhere.

Janice Gobert and Paul Horwitz

Janice Gobert, Rutgers University and Paul Horwitz

Sherry Hsi, Chris Hoadley, and Marcia Linn

Sherry Hsi, chair of the Robert Tinker poster session, with discussants Chris Hoadley and Marcia Linn

AERA Special Poster Session

AERA Special Poster Session

The Concord Consortium’s Top 10 News Stories from 2017

The year 2017 was a significant one for the Concord Consortium. Even though we lost our founder—and an amazing friend, colleague, mentor, and collaborator—our memories of Robert Tinker and his work resonate in an enduring way. Not many people can say they’ve worked with a legend. But anyone who knew our beloved founder recognized they were in the presence of a brilliant mind and a person with genuine compassion. While Bob’s passing on June 21, 2017, is a source of sadness for us all, we honor his legacy every day through our work. Share your memory of how Bob inspired you (and read stories of the many people Bob inspired).

Here, we share our year’s top 10 news stories.

1. Data Science Education Leaps into the Future

We jump-started the new field of data science education to bring about effective learning with and about data. In February 2017 we convened the Data Science Education Technology conference in Berkeley, California—right next to our West Coast office—with over 100 thought leaders from organizations around the U.S. and six continents. We’ve also hosted over a dozen meetups and webinars since that seminal event. We’re planning our schedule for 2018 and invite you to help us bring about the data science education revolution.

2. We Publish Influential Research and Analysis

We published authoritative articles in the Earth Scientist, the International Journal of Science EducationIEEE Transactions on Education, the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, the Science Teacher, the Journal of Geoscience Education, the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, the Statistics Education Research Journal, and Science Scope. We’re looking forward to 2018, too, with several papers scheduled to be published in the New Year.

3. We Embraced Our Creative Side and Reached Out to You

We embraced our creative side, and collaborated with Blenderbox to create a website that invites users to explore our work and use our free digital resources. Two jam-packed newsletters offered visionary commentary as well as practical instruction. We expanded our blog, and reached out to many more of you through Twitter and Facebook. Keep your shares and comments coming.

Energy3D can be used to design four types of concentrated solar power plants: solar power towers, linear Fresnel reflectors, parabolic troughs, and parabolic dishes.

4. General Motors Awards $200,000 Grant

General Motors is committed to powering its worldwide factories and offices with 100% renewable energy by 2050. The company furthered its commitment by awarding the Concord Consortium a $200,000 grant to promote engineering education using renewable energy as a learning context and artificial intelligence as a teaching assistant. The project will use our signature Energy3D software, an easy-to-use CAD tool for designing and simulating solar power systems.

5. What a Busy Year Presenting on the Road

We presented our free resources and research at over 25 sessions at NSTA, NARST, AERA, ISTE, BLC, American Society for Engineering Education, NSTA STEM Forum & Expo, MAST, EdSurge, International Dialogue on STEM 2017, and ISDDE2017, plus the Global Education & Skills Forum in Dubai and the International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interactions in Japan. Phew! At AERA 2018 we’ll host a special session to honor the work and legacy of Bob Tinker called “Deeply Digital Learning: The Influence of Robert Tinker on STEM Education and the Learning Sciences.”

Students can explore and evaluate the condition of their local watershed using the free, web-based Model My Watershed application.

6. We Won!

Congratulations to the WikiWatershed online toolkit, which includes the Model My Watershed app developed in collaboration with the Stroud Water Research Center. It was awarded the 2017 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. And our Water SCIENCE project won a facilitators’ choice award in the National Science Foundation’s STEM for All Video Showcase.

7. We Partnered with Publishers to Bring STEM Inquiry Activities to More Students

  • We continued our partnership with McGraw-Hill Education to create engaging simulations for their Inspire Science elementary science curriculum. These simulations allow students to explore questions in ways that scientists and engineers do, and cover a variety of topic areas in K-5 science.
  • We incorporated our Next-Generation Molecular Workbench into PASCO’s Essential Chemistry textbook as fully interactive simulations that challenge students to explore topics in chemistry such as chemical reactions and particle motion.

If you’re interested in creating a groundbreaking STEM curriculum or pursuing an innovative new idea together, we’re excited to explore the possibilities with you.


8. Twenty-four Hours of Pandemonium and Prototypes

Our East and West Coast offices got together in July for a “FedEx day,” so called because the goal is to develop a blizzard of new prototypes and innovations in 24 hours and deliver them overnight! We developed prototypes for blocks-based programming in augmented reality (imagine Scratch/StarLogo, but with printable blocks that connect like puzzle pieces); a collaborative ecology game based on a tangible user interface; an internal project dashboard (think Intranet on steroids); an agent-based convection model; a way to connect real-time sensor data from our offices directly into our data exploration tool CODAP; and an open-source editor for activity transcripts. Plus President Chad Dorsey got out his power tools and built a picnic table that turns into a bench — almost Transformer-worthy.



9. Six New Employees Sign On

We welcomed six fabulous new employees in our Concord, MA, and Emeryville, CA, offices: Tom Farmer, Lisa Hardy, Eli Kosminsky, Andrea Krehbiel, Joyce Massicotte, and Judi Raiff. Want to join our growing family? We’re hiring!

10. Thirty-One Projects Research and Develop Educational Technology and Curriculum

Through 31 research projects with countless amazing collaborators, we’re extending our pioneering work in the field of probeware and other tools for inquiry and continuing to develop award-winning STEM models and simulations. We’re taking the lead in new areas, including data science education, analytics and feedback, and engineering and science connections. And we’re exploring and creating cutting-edge new tools and technologies for tomorrow’s learners in our innovation lab.