SER/VE (STEM Exploratory   Real/Virtual Environment):connecting science education and         youth, virtually           E...
Too often science is passive & labsmerely prove what is already known .    . . in a very cook-book way
Benefits to SER/VE work• Student engagement in 21st century skills  – Technology, communications, expanded    connections ...
PRIMARY MOTIVATION FOR WORKING    WITH VIRTUAL LEARNING• Kids learn this way• Kids are engaged, challenge, tested, and  ex...
• From a development & fun six months with  the Mall of the Universe; students learned  building and basic math
Students learned & practiced before        going into the mall
The STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment (SER/VE)eventually emerged – here is the main Science Center w/       the bu...
Students created projects that they presented to          an audience of adult judges
The SER/VE island was now expanded sothat pre-service teachers could develop &display science project ideas               ...
New Science PodsAssignments were developed to allow science teachers tocreate “pods” with minimal knowledge of virtual bui...
These teacher shared their ideas about scienceprojects during meetings with other teachers . . .                  across NYS
Pods encouraged                                                    science that moved                                     ...
Working in a virtual setting was now tested with a larger group of K12              students
This urban test group showed reallearning advances when using virtual                                          Work in per...
Value of SER/VE – providing expanded   access for K12 & for under-represented  Meeting,      • A working space that transc...
The challenge of getting support                                                          Master’s in Learning            ...
STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment (SER/VE)
STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment (SER/VE)
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STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment (SER/VE)

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An example of using PPT to show a learning environment (SER/VE) and the growth in planning and development since 2008

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  • SER/VE (STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment): connecting science education and urban youth, virtuallyThis workshop and poster proposal for the 2011 SUNY STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Conference focuses primarily on: the evolution of SER/VE (the STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment), a three-dimensional, avatar-driven STEM learning environment; the rationale for the development of SER/VE; the work that has been piloted to date within high-needs K12 teaching and teacher education using SER/VE; and, the plans and needs for the further development of SER/VE. The need for SER/VE itself came from the experiences of Dr. Eileen O’Connor as a science-education faculty member within a clinically-based and largely online (the “academic” portion), alternative-certification, teacher-education program. This virtual learning environment has become an emerging focal point for her work with pre-service and in-service teachers and has the potential to bring novel and motivational, scale-able, sustainable STEM resources, materials, and experiences to K12 students in high need areas. The workshop would begin by explaining the context of SER/VE and its emergence from within Empire State College’s (ESC) Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. Since its inception in 2004, the MAT program within ESC was chartered to bring high-qualified career-changing adults from science, engineering, mathematics, and other professions into high needs classroom. Within this teacher-education model, the faculty themselves visit and work with new teachers in their classrooms, experiencing directly the challenges faced by these teachers within high needs settings in New York State. Thus Dr. O’Connor was able to observe more than 300 classes directly, experiencing the struggles of science teachers in high needs settings. In her ongoing reflection and efforts at course and program improvements, she sought to integrate new approaches, methodologies, and e-materials into her work trying to bridge the educational and cultural gaps she had witnessed firsthand. Given her prior work experiences in applications of science and of technology (having worked in chemistry and at IBM for 15 years before entering teacher education), Eileen embraced the ways that 21st century technologies could help to strengthened her students and could create strong networks of teachers—who could thus work more effectively with their K12 students. Despite the fact that her academic instruction was largely online, she was able to network, both socially and professionally, her across-the-state K12 science teachers leading to their sharing resources, websites, projects, tutorials, and self-made YouTubes of laboratory work and of data probe science equipment. As these teachers grew in practical, inter-connected, peer-shared experiences, they in turn generated more engaging experiences for their classrooms. Progressively, Dr. O’Connor attempted to enrich, amplify, and connect an e-based learning environment – moving it beyond the limitations of classrooms and buildings – by moving into virtual learning. In 2007, she began studying how the physical sense of presence within the three-dimensional world of Second Life with her graduate science-education could improve their learning experience. The value of “place” in otherwise disembodied e-communications proved most intriguing; she published her findings at conferences and in journals. Most recently she brought this virtual experience into the K12 work directly, moving beyond simply bringing graduate students into the virtual space. In fall of 2010, after developing a primitive and private science island, she piloted a small study with middle school students and, during the summer of 2011, she brought a group of 30 urban students into this virtual space. (This work is being featured in another poster session within the conference.) Although her request for funding from the National Science Foundation to extend the development and to incorporate internal data-gathering for assessment was not granted (NSF gave good ratings to the educational concept but wanted more specific curriculum), release-time and support from ESC has allowed her to continue a more limited development of the virtual K12 environment, and thus enabled these work, noted above, with urban and middle-school students. This emerging virtual environment—SER/VE (the STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment)—has been used in an developmental, exploratory manner for the past 18-months. Presently it serves as a meeting place for K12 teachers and as a testing area for interactions with small groups of K12 students. The intention is to develop engaging, challenging, game-like but deep, STEM learning experiences for student within this environment. The initial science and technology pilot (O’Connor, 2011) proved fruitful and gave support and direction for K12 improvements; the summer work with the urban students has extended the development. More interactions with teachers and students are planned and the intended outreach to STEM professionals is continuing to progress although more slowly than if funded by NSF.Dr. O’Connor has been particularly intrepid with her forward momentum on SER/VE, thanks to the support of her dean, Dr. Robert Clougherty, and Empire State College. But she will also overview the areas that need to grow and the ways that a collective of SUNY support could help in her efforts to create a virtual, online, STEM hub that could support and enable more students to become involved in STEM careers. Much groundwork has been laid but doors still need to be opened to gain entry to K12 classrooms and to have the teaching cultures within high needs schools needs become more open to the possibilities with urban students. As under current development, a doctor will come to work with K12 students – virtually. An engineer will come to explain how buildings are now being planned through three-dimensional venues – virtually. Endlessly more STEM meetings, adventures, and research opportunities could be launched. Dr. O’Connor would welcome the brainstorming and participation of attendees to help move SER/VE and teacher education into more fruitful ways of immersing K12 urban youth in STEM areas and of segueing them into the careers of the 21st century. SER/VE could be one of these venues!This workshop and poster sessions would combine aspects of the themes of partnering and releasing.O'Connor, E. (2011). Migrating Towards K12 in Virtual Spaces: Second Life Lessons Learned as Higher Education Meets Middle School Students. In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2011 (pp. 2192-2198). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. http://www.editlib.org.library.esc.edu/p/36630 Submitted by: Eileen O’Connor, Ph.D. Eileen.oconnor@esc.edu518 783-6203
  • STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment (SER/VE)

    1. 1. SER/VE (STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment):connecting science education and youth, virtually Eileen O’Connor, Ph.D. Empire State College Eileen.oconnor@esc.edu
    2. 2. Too often science is passive & labsmerely prove what is already known . . . in a very cook-book way
    3. 3. Benefits to SER/VE work• Student engagement in 21st century skills – Technology, communications, expanded connections with other K12 schools & teachers• Student creation / student direction – Students can become involved in building, scheduling, governance; important future skills• Students experience STEM careers & futures – Work as STEM professionals / meet STEM professionals
    4. 4. PRIMARY MOTIVATION FOR WORKING WITH VIRTUAL LEARNING• Kids learn this way• Kids are engaged, challenge, tested, and exercised this way (aka, gaming)• SO, why aren’t we using it in K12 teaching???
    5. 5. • From a development & fun six months with the Mall of the Universe; students learned building and basic math
    6. 6. Students learned & practiced before going into the mall
    7. 7. The STEM Exploratory Real/Virtual Environment (SER/VE)eventually emerged – here is the main Science Center w/ the bulk of the meetings and interactions
    8. 8. Students created projects that they presented to an audience of adult judges
    9. 9. The SER/VE island was now expanded sothat pre-service teachers could develop &display science project ideas New science pod area
    10. 10. New Science PodsAssignments were developed to allow science teachers tocreate “pods” with minimal knowledge of virtual building;pre-service teachers created projects in their pods
    11. 11. These teacher shared their ideas about scienceprojects during meetings with other teachers . . . across NYS
    12. 12. Pods encouraged science that moved out of the classroom and into the worldStudents (science teachers) designed rich science projects with associated websitesthat they shared within the virtual spaces during the summer of 2011
    13. 13. Working in a virtual setting was now tested with a larger group of K12 students
    14. 14. This urban test group showed reallearning advances when using virtual Work in person, in Deep engagement Collaborate, share, virtual, and in text- at the computer & peer teach based social format
    15. 15. Value of SER/VE – providing expanded access for K12 & for under-represented Meeting, • A working space that transcends geography & developing, creates a sense of reality and presence • Assembling professionals and educators sharing • Represent STEM experiences –Simulations & safe, practical, virtual experiences • Integrate with REAL and with education Enhancing • Providing expertise and experiences beyond the classroom classroom • Allowing participation outside the school day too practice
    16. 16. The challenge of getting support Master’s in Learning in Emerging MALET Technology – an incubator Graphics Grants??? SERVE – fully operational Teacher – Programming STEM

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