1. Ashley Lewis Presser
  2. http://cct.edc.org/people/lewis-presser-ashley
  3. Senior Research Associate
  4. Next Generation Preschool Math
  5. http://nextgenmath.org/
  6. Education Development Center
  1. Jillian Orr
  2. http://first8studios.org
  3. Digital Executive Producer
  4. Next Generation Preschool Math
  5. http://nextgenmath.org/
  6. WGBH
  1. Philip Vahey
  2. http://www.sri.com/about/people/phil-vahey
  3. Director of Mathematics Learning Systems
  4. Next Generation Preschool Math
  5. http://nextgenmath.org/
  6. SRI International
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Al Lewandowski

    Al Lewandowski

    Social Studies Content Consultant
    May 11, 2015 | 10:08 a.m.

    Looks like an extremely interesting project. I’m wondering if it would be possible to review any of the apps you have created? Also, is there some information available regarding what specific content is addressed in the apps and what precisely does “significant gains” over tradition methods mean?

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    May 12, 2015 | 06:07 p.m.

    Hi Al!

    Thank you for your questions and comments! The apps are available to the public for free here:

    Here’s a bit more about the research and the significant gains, but the full research report will be coming out closer to mid-summer: https://www.sree.org/conferences/2015s/program/...

    And a note about the traditional methods — by that we mean the non-technology-infused preschool curriculum.

    Additional information, the full curriculum, and more specifics about the subitizing and equipartitioning content can be found at: http://first8studios.org

    Thanks again for your interest and questions; I’d love to chat more! Please let us know your thoughts on the games, curriculum, and report (as currently only shared in the above abstract)!

  • Icon for: Lisa Hogan

    Lisa Hogan

    May 11, 2015 | 11:18 a.m.

    Collaboration among researchers, media developers, and teachers seems like a great way to develop preschool mathematics classroom activities and innovative tablet-based games. Can you tell more about the teacher professional development that integrated pedagogy, content learning, technology training, and activity implementation? Was all of the professional development down virtually? What feedback did you get from teachers about the professional development?

  • May 13, 2015 | 09:05 a.m.

    Hi Lisa – for the purpose of our research study all PD was in-person for a full day. The PD oriented teachers to the content itself, common misconceptions children have about the content, and how to support children’s learning. The second part of the PD involved teachers playing the games themselves and intentionally making errors so that they could see the scaffolding mechanism within the game. We discussed ways to support the gameplay. The third part was orienting them to the many non-digital classroom activities that are integrated into regular preschool structures such as circle time, center time, snack time, and outdoor play. The final part oriented them to the technology – we used 4 iPads for each classroom that teachers set up in an open play center that children visited for about 10-15 minutes at a time – that’s the amount of time we anticipated they would play and our study found that they naturally moved onto other activities after that period of time.

    Teachers seemed to like the PD and we’re working on ways to provide virtual PD right now in the form of videos and online materials.
    Best wishes,

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    May 13, 2015 | 01:42 p.m.

    Hi Lisa!
    Yes, and to add onto what Ashley mentioned, in our digital teacher’s guide, we provided Professional Development modules that the teachers could use throughout the implementation as well — these consisted of self evaluations, videos, stepped out modules, questions for reflection, and a self assessment. This was not required for the teachers in our study, but offered as additional support.
    Here is a link to just a few of the videos that were provided in the PD section of the digital teacher’s guide: http://nextgenmath.org/2013/08/22/can-video-bas...
    Here is a link to one of our partner teachers sharing some of her thoughts on teh program: http://nextgenmath.org/2015/04/10/it-has-helped...
    Next month, the digital PD and videos will be provided on the http://first8studios.org website, but we’re still finalizing that for the public release!
    Thanks again!

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Hassrick

    Elizabeth Hassrick

    May 11, 2015 | 11:42 a.m.

    The video uses engaging visual graphics to capture the organization of the intervention, the different types of participants and the overall way that the different project participants were brought together to create math intervention apps for preschoolers. It provided me with a clear idea of how each component of the overall system impacted the research project, even down to how the kids themselves shaped the iterations of development of the app. The video clips of the project collaborators, discussing the design process elements (especially the use of the “learning blue print”) and how they engaged in design-based implementation research, was exciting to see. The stated goal of integrating the tablet in ways that are consistent with social, emotional learning goals for preschoolers (for example, using tables for collaborative learning- sharing an IPAD is hard for everyone- even adults!!) was inspiring! It would have been great to learn more about what role the 53 teachers had in the process? More details about their challenges or engagement would be useful. I wonder what role, if any, parents had in the process? I appreciated the research graph, but further discussion about how results were derived would be great.

  • May 13, 2015 | 09:28 a.m.

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Thanks for the feedback! Yes, the inclusion of 1 collaborative game in each unit made a big difference and we’d love to design future games to address additional social/emotional learning goals, such as persistence and flexible problem solving. For the collaborative games – meaning 1 iPad with 2 kids touching the screen at the same time – we found this was successful, but only if the teacher set it up so that they only had access to that 1 iPad and taught them how to collaborate in an explicit way. You can see on Treasure bubbles there are two characters and each child is suppose to control one character. A challenge was that they could play alone if they wanted to.

    Teachers were involved in multiple ways – some were testing materials with the development team, some were part of the pilot study (n=3) or RCT (n=16), and the rest were involved in focus groups during the development and revision process. There are several videos on our blog that show interviews with teachers that show what they think (http://nextgenmath.org/).

    Unfortunately, we didn’t have resources to work with parents, but that is an area we’ve identified for future work, especially now that the apps are available to everyone now. We’d want to develop parent materials with as much feedback from parents as we had for the development of the teacher materials.

    Jillian’s like to the SREE presentation above should help answer your questions about the research, but feel free to contact me directly for more information on that (and the assessment we developed) at alewis@edc.org.

    Best wishes,

  • Icon for: Jillian Orr

    Jillian Orr

    May 13, 2015 | 02:04 p.m.

    Yes, thank you, Elizabeth! At some point, I would love to have a full documentary made to share how integral every teacher was to the development of the apps, teacher’s guide, and curriculum. :)
    Here are a few videos from just one of our regular partner sites for development:
    During the first two years, the development team was in the classroom between 2 – 4 times a month. This includes having our designers, developers, and editorial team sit in and learn from the teachers and children.
    Here’s a video of one of our partner teacher’s reactions: http://nextgenmath.org/2015/04/10/it-has-helped...
    We’re still constantly learning from our teachers and now since our materials are available to the public, we’re hearing from even more teachers!!
    Thanks again for your interest and feedback!!

  • Icon for: Joanne Lobato

    Joanne Lobato

    Professor, Dept. of Mathematics & Statistics
    May 12, 2015 | 10:50 p.m.

    Hi Phil! Really interesting project! The video mentions that the work was grounded in a learning trajectory — was that work by Clements and Sarama?

  • May 13, 2015 | 09:07 a.m.

    Hi Joanne,

    I’m sure Phil will have more to say, but yes the subitizing unit is based on the learning trajectories work by Clements and Sarama. The equipartitioning is based on the learning trajectories work of Jere Confrey.
    Best wishes,

  • Icon for: Avron Barr

    Avron Barr

    May 13, 2015 | 12:14 a.m.

    Important work and a nicely done video. I especially liked the point about having to get tablets into kids hands before you know what they’ll actually do with them. What else did you discover about working with media developers to produce useful tablet software? Also, does the design include any feedback from the exercises (to a teacher’s dashboard, for example) or are they just stand alone learning materials?

  • May 13, 2015 | 09:13 a.m.

    Hi Avron,
    The collaboration between the research and development teams was great, but I think the key was having the learning blueprint from which to ground the development process. I think what’s unique about our project is how much the research impacted the development and really making sure that the balance between fun (because they won’t learn if they aren’t motivated enough to play) and learning was achieved.

    Two games from each unit (total of 4) tracked the students play and reported that back to the teacher within the digital teachers guide. This allowed a teacher to look at each child’s gameplay and have a good sense of which skills they had mastered in the game and those they were struggling with, so they could focus on those during non-digital activities or explicitly direct children to play certain games. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep the tracking feature in the public release, but that’s an area for future work here!
    Best wishes,

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    Jeremy circlcenter.org

    May 13, 2015 | 07:50 a.m.

    Wonderful work and great video! Dr. Phil, do you think of this as a curricular activity system? Expand on what “integration in to pre-school” means to you…

  • Icon for: Philip Vahey

    Philip Vahey

    May 13, 2015 | 09:01 p.m.

    Yes, we definitely used a curricular activity system approach here—-meaning that technology was not designed to be stand-alone, but was integrated into coherent sequences of instructional activities, and these sequences were designed in accordance with the needs and constraints of public preschool programs.

    For example, we used non-digital activities—such as whole-class book reading and small-group hands-on activities—in addition to the digital materials. Also the digital and non-digital materials were designed to address preschool math content standards and to employ common preschool activity structures, such as whole-class discussions during circle time and small-group work during center time. As another example, teachers were provided professional development (PD) that integrated pedagogy, content knowledge, technology training, and materials use so that they could use the materials effectively.

    We think that this systems approach is important, since decades of research has shown that simply “air dropping” technology into classrooms is ineffective.

  • May 14, 2015 | 08:39 p.m.

    Great work! I love the collaboration and research going in the design process, as well as the iterative feedback with the developers driven by the student use. Do you have any plans to follow these control and treatment students into early K-12 and measure longitudinal effects?

  • May 15, 2015 | 11:12 a.m.

    Hi Kathy,

    Thanks, its been a great project! We’d love to conduct a longitudinal study and our team was just discussing that yesterday! Its on our list of future projects :-)

    Best wishes,

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