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UNC researcher wins grant for computer-based teaching tool

Work done by School of Education faculty member Kelly Ryoo to improve the teaching of science was profiled in a story by Time Warner Cable News.

Ryoo recently won a $44,000 Spencer Foundation grant to extend research she has done on using computer-based animations, or dynamic visualizations, to teaching science topic to elementary school students.

Ryoo studies the use of visualizations, similar to computer-based animations, which can be manipulated by students who are learning about scientific concepts. The method is designed to help students learn the concepts before mastering the scientific vocabulary associated with them.

The visualizations were demonstrated for the TV station in a classroom at Githens Middle School, where Rebecca Burns teaches science. Burns is also a student in the School of Education’s master’s program for experienced teachers program.

Students who worked with the visualizations on iPads told the TV station that they found the method engaging and an easier way to learn scientific concepts.

Burns told the station, “It’s actually a great feeling because you see them actually going through it and you see their eyes light up and they’re just like ‘Oh, now i get it.”

Ryoo’s Spencer-backed study will explore the effects of dynamic and static visualizations in web-based inquiry instruction on English Language Learners and non-ELLs’ science learning in mainstream classrooms.

The story is available here.

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By Time Warner Cable News