The researchers propose an innovative, cyber-enabled learning system that aims to maximize productive disciplinary engagement amongst middle school learners by encouraging them to "problematize" activities and methods scientists use to make sense of our universe. The research team will apply this new way of designing learning systems to the development of a guided inquiry experience where learners will explore the question, "Could humans (ever) communicate with sentient life on other planets?" Students will be given a "toolbox" that blends data-rich visualizations (e.g., WorldWide Telescope), hands-on activities, and carefully designed simulations. The research team includes experts in astronomy, data visualization, design and research of learning technologies, science education and research, and software development. The Life in the Universe Inquiry Lab (LITU) will be tested in semi-structured, out-of-school environments with small cohorts of (one or two dozen) middle-school learners during the two-year project.
|Full proposal w/o Budget (pdf)||4.31 MB|