Need to add STEM education expertise to your research team? KPC can design a research plan specific to your interests or partner with your team to conduct STEM education research.
Dr. Peterman has served as a co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) on two research grants to date, and starting in 2012, has submitted proposals on a regular basis to conduct new and innovative STEM education research. She currently serves as co-PI on an exploratory research grant awarded by the National Science Foundation’s Cyberlearning program to the Island Institute. Called WeatherBlur, the project was funded to develop and study an online learning platform that unites elementary school teachers and students, research scientists, and local fishermen as they conduct weather and climate-based investigations in their local communities.
Using a combination of participatory evaluation methods and design-based research, Dr. Peterman has partnered with the Island Institute to lead the research portion of the grant. Research activities have included a needs assessment of key stakeholders, the development of an observation protocol based on the Concerns Based Adoption Model, and longitudinal data collection from students. The research also includes a social network analysis that is being conducted by KPC consultant, Dr. Christine Bevc.
The KPC team for this project also includes two Maine-based field researchers who collected data during two field tests of the WeatherBlur platform and project. The instrumentation for this project includes a content assessment of publicly-released items from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Draw a Scientist Test, and a performance-based interview assessment designed to measure students’ data literacy and mapping skills. Activity log data from the WeatherBlur platform are being used in the analysis to document whether/how participation in the online community relates to differential outcomes for students.
“Partnering with Dr. Peterman to assist us in developing rigorous research designs for our STEM programming has been vital to the success of our projects. The professional relationship that Dr. Peterman and I have built up over the years has been extremely valuable as the STEM programming has matured to serve more audiences. Dr. Peterman does not just consult with our team, she functions as an essential team member. She has assisted us with development of the WeatherBlur research plan, brought in additional talent to meet the needs of the project, and successfully managed a rigorous data collection protocol.”
– Ruth Kermish Allen, Education Director, Island Institute
To date, KPC has collaborated with Principal Investigator Ruth Kermish-Allen and Dr. Bevc to present the results from this work at multiple conferences including the 2013 meetings of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) and the American Evaluation Association (AEA), and at the 2014 meetings of Sunbelt, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). The team has also submitted a publication to describe the process used to create the WeatherBlur platform, and we expect to submit at least two additional publications before the project’s end. One of these will feature the data literacy assessment developed by Dr. Peterman to evaluate WeatherBlur, as well as a parallel assessment that was used to evaluate data literacy skills in relate to the Island Institute’s Energy for ME project. In combination, the data from these measures document students’ data literacy skills from kindergarten through 12th grade. Results from the WeatherBlur project also demonstrate the utility of this method as a pre-post measure of change in students’ data literacy skills.