NSF CONVERGENCE ACCELERATOR VIRTUAL CONFERENCE 2022
NSF CONVERGENCE ACCELERATOR VIRTUAL CONFERENCE 2022
Transforming Educational Technology Through Convergence
The National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator is an innovation program that funds teams with members from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines to tackle the most pressing societal challenges. The accelerator programs are designed to converge on solutions in complex fields that require expertise in several different areas. Current projects underway include tracks around quantum technology to improve fields like transportation and health care, environmental stewardship and economic development in the world’s oceans, and trustworthiness in communications systems.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Ryan Baker and Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh, with the help of The Learning Agency, have been chosen to convene a group of researchers, teachers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and non-profit leaders to discuss interdisciplinary methods for improving educational technology. This is one of two education technology Convergence Accelerator conferences. After these meetings and the resulting reports , the NSF will decide whether to devote a Convergence Accelerator track to the area, with funding for multi-year projects to identify and develop solutions, followed by the prototyping and implementation of these solutions.
Why Convergence Research for Ed Tech?
Now is an especially vital time for the field, and K12 education is long overdue for this attention.
School closures during the COVID-19 pandemic forced an immediate reliance on educational technology and quickly illustrated their current and potential limitations. While ed tech could not fully replace in-person instruction, digital learning platforms experienced large (some up to tenfold) increases in their user bases, giving educators and students extensive experience with ed tech and the benefits they can provide. But the new learning environment proved less than adequate, especially for low-income students and students from historically marginalized groups. Achievement gaps, already a persistent problem, widened considerably during the pandemic.
A big part of the problem is a lack of a strong research orientation, which has limited the impact of learning tools. Insights from learning science, for example, have often not yet been integrated into technology in a way that maximizes the benefits for students and teachers.
This virtual set of meetings will seek to address these limitations by developing new cross-disciplinary methods with a focus on solutions that target equity issues and achievement gaps.
What Topics Will Be Discussed?
Specifically, this Convergence Accelerator will focus on transforming three areas:
- Course-embedded assessment. Assessment can provide a great deal of value beyond simply determining whether or not a student has mastered a particular subject. Formative assessments, which are intended to provide valuable feedback to students (and teachers), can become a vital part of the learning process itself. Convergence research can help develop assessments that enable learning, rather than simply evaluate it.
- Middle school math. Research has shown that middle school math is a crucial step in students’ progression, predicting later academic achievement. A number of intelligent tutoring platforms have shown promise in teaching math at this level. Convergence research can help build on this success to improve math education at this critical stage.
- Data science education. Data science is a similarly important subject that has been under-taught and there has been insufficient attention to how to help students learn it. Data science skills are already in high-demand in the job market, and will only continue to increase in importance over the coming years. These skills are also vital to general civic and political participation. There is a growing movement to incorporate data science into the curriculum. This effort can benefit from a convergence approach that brings together experts in learning science, data science, and ed tech to create research-based materials and curricula.
- Stephen Aguilar, Assistant Professor of Education, USC Rossier School of Education
- Jodi Asbell-Clark, Director, EdGETERC
- Bridget Cherry, Founder and CEO, Cherry Strategies
- Scott Crossley, Professor of Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language, Georgia State University
- Danielle Eisenberg, Consultant, Walton Family Foundation
- Britte Haugan Cheng, Principal and Founder, Menlo Education Research
- YJ Kim, Assistant Professor of Design, Creative, and Informal Education, University of Wisconsin
- Rene Kizilcec, Assistant Professor of Information Science, Cornell University
- Diane Litman, Professor of Computer Science, University of Pittsburgh
- Susan Lottridge, Chief Scientist, Natural Language Acquisitions, Cambium Assessments
- Danielle McNamara, Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University
- Xavier Ochoa, Assistant Professor of Learning Analytics, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
- Brandee Tate, Program Officer, Assessment, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- John Whitmer, Senior Fellow, Federation of American Scientists / Institute of Education Sciences
Data Science Track
- Justin Ballenger, Assistant Professor of STEM Education, Division of Professional and Continuing Studies, Morehouse College
- Christopher Brooks, Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of Michigan
- Zarek Drozda, Director, Data Science for Everyone
- Kathi Fisler, Founder, Bootstrap
- Bill Howe, Associate Professor, Information School, University of Washington
- Shaun Kellogg, Interim Executive Director, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
- Nancy Lue, Senior Director, Valhalla Foundation
- Suyen Machado, Director, Introduction To Data Science Project, UCLA
- Karina Montilla Edmonds, SVP, Head of Academies and University Alliances, SAP
- George Siemens, Professor and the Executive Director, Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge Research Lab, University of Texas, Arlington
- Jim Stigler, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles
- Chéla Wallace, Director of Science, Technology and Engineering, KIPP NYC
- Ivon Arroyo, Associate Professor, Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Gabe Cartagena, Director of Secondary Math, DC Public Schools
- Kristen DiCerbo, Chief Learning Officer, Khan Academy
- Neil Heffernan, William Smith Dean’s Professor of Computer Science, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- Lewis Leiboh, Senior Program Officer, EdTech and K12, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Alexandra Martinez, Instructional Coordinator, PK-12 Mathematics, San Diego USD
- Erin Ottmar, Associate Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- Catherine Paolucci, Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Florida
- Alfons Prince, Middle School Mathematics Teacher, Center City Public Charter Schools
- Steve Ritter, Founder and Chief Scientist, Carnegie Learning
- Sheela Sethuraman, Founder & CEO, CueThink
- Kripa Sundar, Founder and Lead Consultant Edtech Recharge
- Walter Leite, Professor of Research and Evaluation Methodology, University of Florida
- Ryan Baker, Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania; Director, Penn Center for Learning Analytics
- Ulrich Boser, Founder and CEO, The Learning Agency
- Yeeva Cheng, Program Manager, The Learning Agency
- Lizzie Jones, Program Manager, The Learning Agency
- Seiyon Lee, Graduate Assistant, University of Pennsylvania
- Jaclyn Ocumpaugh, Associate Director, Penn Center for Learning Analytics, University of Pennsylvania
- Malia Sieve, Consultant, The Learning Agency