I-CARE: A Collaboration with Tech Valley High 2022-

From KNILT

Tech-Augmented Co-Creativity Lab (TACCL)

led by Dr. Jianwei Zhang at the University at Albany, State University of New York

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Research Highlights | NSF Cyberlearning EXP Grant (2011-2014) | NSF Cyberlearning DIP Project (2014-2020) I-CARE: A Collaboration with Tech Valley High 2022-


Build an Interdisciplinary Community for Authentic Research Engagement (i-CARE)

Recent curriculum reforms highlight the need to engage students in authentic practices by which real-world researchers investigate the world and solve complex problems. Integrating authentic research practices in high school education may play a unique role to increase student engagement and develop high-order creative competencies that are needed for college success and future careers.

Innovative Solutions Project

As a collaboration between the Tech Valley High School (TVHS) and UAlbany School of Education, this project explores educational designs and support to engage high school students in authentic research experiences. Our guiding framework features a community-based, interdisciplinary design for authentic research, which centers on sustaining students’ creative work with ideas that can make a positive impact on their personal lives, local communities, and/or the larger world.

Specifically, this project builds on the Senior Research class co-taught by three teachers at TVHS. Our research team at UAlbany SoE works with the teachers to co-design the research processes, drawing upon our long-term research on collaborative knowledge building with technology (see https://knilt.arcc.albany.edu/ZhangLab). In this teacher/researcher collaboration, we co-design the overarching process for engaging students in authentic research in self-identified areas and refine the design based on ongoing data analysis. Students generate and advance creative ideas through iterative cycles of wonder-research-reflect. Their research activities are supported by a collaborative community, which includes an interdisciplinary team of teachers, classmates who work on diverse topics and challenges, and community partners who serve as mentors. In the 2022-2023 school year, 11 companies/non-profit organizations from the greater Capital Region serve as community partners.

Our data collection includes students’ personal research journals, online group work records, video recordings of research sharing meetings and presentations, teacher lesson plans and meeting records, interviews with the teachers and students, and an online survey of the community partners. Our data analysis examines how students carry out creative work on various real-world challenges with the mentoring of their community partners, as well as how student-generated knowledge is taken up by the communities to improve their innovations and practices.

We will test and refine the community-based interdisciplinary approach to student research experiences through a three-year, design-based research (DBR). Based on the learning model refined at TVHS, we will explore the possibility to extend this project to a cluster of schools in the Capital Region, with TVHS serving as a hub of innovation to help partner schools incorporate creative research experiences.

Publications and Presentations:

Zhang, J., Song, G., Underwood, T., Guo, D., Espinosa, K., Hower, L., Muirhead, J., & Kerr, J. (2024). Cultivate Research Literacy: High School Students Work with Community Partners to Investigate Real-World Challenges. In Lindgren, R., Asino, T. I., Kyza, E. A., Looi, C. K., Keifert, D. T., & Suárez, E. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Conference of the Learning Sciences - ICLS 2024 (pp. 690-697). International Society of the Learning Sciences. https://doi.org/10.22318/icls2024.111297 (Best Design Paper nomination)

Hower, L.**, Kerr, J.**, Muirhead, J.** (lead teachers), Hawrylchak, A.** (Principal), Zhang, J., Song, G., Guo, D.*, Underwood, T.*, Espinosa, K.*, Rafferty, C.** (community partner) (2023). The Innovative Solutions Senior Seminar at Tech Valley High School (TVHS). A research practice partnership presentation at the New York State Performance-Based Learning and Assessment Conference, Albany, NY, September 2023.

Zhang, J., Song, G., Guo, D.*, Underwood, T.*, Espinosa, K.*, Hower, L.**, Muirhead, J.**, Kerr, J.** (2023). Build an Interdisciplinary Community for Authentic Research Experiences (I-CARE) among High School Students. Paper resented at the Knowledge Building Summer Institute (KBSI 2023). Montreal, QC, Canada.