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

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Technology-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 Experiences (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.

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 experiences, which center 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 re-design this class to make the research process more engaging, authentic, and collaborative, 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. In the current cohort (Fall 2022), students have generated diverse research interests and questions (ranging from investigating the role of wolves in the Yellowstone ecosystem to searching for new materials for medical gloves). They work with the creative research process that involves 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 research topics, and community partners who serve as mentors (see https://www.techvalleyhigh.org/partners-supporters/the-business-alliance/).

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.