1. Ido Davidesco
  2. University of Connecticut
  3. BrainWaves: An EEG-based Neuroscience Curriculum Development and Teacher Training for Underserved High Schools
  4. https://wp.nyu.edu/brainwaves/
  5. University of Connecticut, New York University
  1. Cathryn Tuttle
  2. https://sites.google.com/uconn.edu/mstuttle
  3. Graduate Student
  4. BrainWaves: An EEG-based Neuroscience Curriculum Development and Teacher Training for Underserved High Schools
  5. https://wp.nyu.edu/brainwaves/
  6. University of Connecticut
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Cathryn Tuttle

    Cathryn Tuttle

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 9, 2022 | 06:16 p.m.

    Thank you for visiting the BrainWaves video! Our five year project is in its final stages. We are working to improve our website and finalize curriculum materials for public use. We welcome any comments, questions, or relevant feedback. We’d also love to know if you would consider using this curriculum in your own classroom.

     
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    Justice Walker
  • Icon for: Jay Labov

    Jay Labov

    Facilitator
    Currently STEM Education Consultant
    May 10, 2022 | 01:01 p.m.

    Thank you for submitting this very informative video. This kind of approach to teaching and learning about STEM incorporates the emerging research about how people learn and what motivates students to learn. Tying the program to the NGSS is also very helpful to teachers and their own motivation to adopt the program for their students.

    Now that the program is ending, I think it would be helpful to viewers of your video if you could address the following questions that occurred to me as I watched it:

    • How long does this course last? Is it embedded within other science courses for part of a term or is it a standalone program?
    • If it’s standalone, do students volunteer to participate or does it substitute for a more traditional course? If students volunteer to participate, are all students accepted into the course? I ask this question because if enrollment is limited, then there is an opportunity to compare various outcomes such as interest in STEM, persistence, etc. between the cohort of students who participate compared with students who are motivated to participate but are unable to do so.
    • You briefly mentioned how the program has improved self-efficacy and students seeing themselves as engaging in real science research. Could you describe the instruments that you used to measure these outcomes?
    • How did the pandemic affect this course? Can you offer any insights about how this kind of activity can be accomplished remotely?

    Thank you again for your description about this very interesting and important project!

     
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    Cathryn Tuttle
    Justice Walker
  • Icon for: Cathryn Tuttle

    Cathryn Tuttle

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 10, 2022 | 03:56 p.m.

    Thank you for your questions! The course was implemented as a semester long elective for students who volunteered to participate. I believe all interested students were enrolled however I really appreciate your idea about comparing students who participated with those who were interested but unable to participate. 

    Student self efficacy and future research interests were measured via a science opinion survey developed based on research supported strategies. The survey used a 5-point scale (Strongly agree, Agree, Not Sure, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) to rate statements about science activities. Items capture agreement across areas such as: I really enjoy going to science lessonsI would like to be a scientist when I leave schoolWorking in a science laboratory would be an interesting way to earn a living; etc. Responses were scored on a scale to capture students’ levels of interest in science. Items in the survey were adapted from Gibson and Chase’s (2002) 30-item Science Opinions Survey that was originally developed for the 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to assess current interest and attitudes in science activities at school.  In addition, we adapted 18-items from Fitzakerley, Michlin, Paton, and Dubinsky’s (2013) study of interest in and sense of efficacy towards science among 4th-6th grade students. 

    The pandemic affected a lot of the course's hands on activities. The team adapted the curriculum to be fully online and implemented synchronous online classes. Synchronous implementation offers more opportunities for student collaboration and science discourse that are essential to effective teaching and learning. While a key part of the course, student use of portable EEGs, is limited by remote implementation teacher demonstrations of the technology and online simulations of EEG waves can be used to teach students the same scientific concepts and skills. 

    We are currently working on a similar project implementing curriculum in required biology courses at the high school level. Do you feel one implementation method, integration into a required course or as an elective, would be more effective or result in more reliable research outcomes?

    We appreciate your feedback! Thanks!

     

    Here are the references we used for the student survey:

    Gibson HL, Chase C. Longitudinal impact of an inquiry‐based science program on middle school students' attitudes toward science. Science Education. 2002;86(5):693-705.

    Fitzakerley JL, Michlin ML, Paton J, Dubinsky JM. Neuroscientists’ classroom visits positively impact student attitudes. PloS one. 2013;8(12):1-14.

     
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    Justice Walker
  • Icon for: Jay Labov

    Jay Labov

    Facilitator
    Currently STEM Education Consultant
    May 15, 2022 | 09:19 p.m.

    Response to your question: "Do you feel one implementation method, integration into a required course or as an elective, would be more effective or result in more reliable research outcomes?"

    Like all such research, the answer to this question has to be based on the kinds of questions and outcomes you're seeking to answer. Of course, one basic question is whether one or the other approach makes a significant difference in your intended learning, self-efficacy, identification with science, outcomes. 

    But, such an arrangement also leads to conflicting variables. For example, if the required component is offered to all students taking intro biology, then students who elect to take it will likely be at a different grade level, so comparisons are difficult. If you want to control for grade level, then you might compare outcomes at different schools or in different districts, where one incorporates the program into a biology course and the other offers it as an elected. However, the variable that is then less controlled are the approaches to teaching and effectiveness of the instructors in different locations.

    Levels of motivation and interest for students in required courses will also likely have greater variance than for students electing to enroll. 

    What are the questions you hope to address by offering this as a required component of a course?

  • Icon for: Justice Walker

    Justice Walker

    Facilitator
    Assistant Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 02:51 p.m.

    This project seems incredibly relevant for neuroscience teaching and learning!

    Almost immediately—and perhaps because I am a learning scientist—I wondered about:

    (1) how learners might use these insights (about brain structure and function) to optimize their own learning processes (e.g., metacognitive thinking),

    (2) how these approaches my be used to help learners understand sociocultural factors that impact learning processes, or even

    (3) what context-based features (of the actual learning environments and social arrangements) may have shaped how your curriculum/intervention unfolded?

    I guess my inquiry here coalesces around a broader interest of mine (as it relates to your project), which is: neuroscience seems like an unique frame within which to study learning and learning processes—and so I wondered what unique affordances this frame enabled you to investigate that would otherwise not be possible in typical life science teaching and learning?  

    By the way, how did you get EEG devices into classrooms—are there low cost tools available that folks would benefit from knowing about?! I'm a bit of a low cost portable lab tool geek! 

    Thanks again for presenting this fantastic project!  

     
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    Cathryn Tuttle
  • Icon for: Cathryn Tuttle

    Cathryn Tuttle

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 10, 2022 | 04:39 p.m.

    Thank you so much for your questions!  To address your lab tool question, we used low-cost portable EEGs such as emotiv©. The context of neuroscience has great advantages for investigating science teaching and learning. I really appreciate your comment about metacognition and having students use their insights to optimize learning. One portion of the curriculum speaks about the lack of evidence that students have different learning styles and teaches students that belief that they have a single best learning style based on their own brains is in fact a misconception. In a similar notion, student research projects often included learning about factors that affect attention and memory. Student outcomes could be used to inform their own learning. I would certainly be interested in expanding the idea of having students consider their own learning processes!

    Context-based features had a direct effect on implementation, mainly due to the pandemic. We were fortunate enough to have already completed two years of implementation before the pandemic began and were able to adapt our curriculum for remote learning as well. Student collaboration was a significant part of the curriculum - I'm wondering how students could consider the role of collaboration in their learning processes as well. As a learning scientist, I'd appreciate further recommendations for future projects as well! Like you said, neuroscience is a really unique frame to investigate aspects of teaching and learning and the discipline is not commonly studied in high school classrooms.  

    You've given me quite a lot to think about! I really appreciate your insights!

     
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    Justice Walker
  • Icon for: Justice Walker

    Justice Walker

    Facilitator
    Assistant Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 05:23 p.m.

    Many thanks Cathryn—for your explanations.  I'd be glad to share more insights.  The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (as you probably know) has a really good chapter on Metacognition, which I understand to mean thinking about thinking (consistent with the second framing you raised).  I am not so sure about learning styles. In any event, here is a link to a free PDF of the chapter if you haven't seen it and are interested.  

     
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    Cathryn Tuttle
  • Icon for: Cathryn Tuttle

    Cathryn Tuttle

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 10, 2022 | 05:29 p.m.

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate you sharing this resource!

     
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    Justice Walker
  • Icon for: Anne Kern

    Anne Kern

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 05:37 p.m.

    Super exciting and authentic inquiry learning activities. Have you tracked students to see if they continue in neuroscience majors, cognitive psychology, or perhaps health science fields and careers? The subject matter appears to be high-level and specialized scientific content knowledge and learning. It would be exciting to see what students do with this experience. Thoughts or ideas for the next steps?

     
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    Cathryn Tuttle
    Justice Walker
  • Icon for: Cathryn Tuttle

    Cathryn Tuttle

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 12, 2022 | 09:12 a.m.

    Hi Anne, thank you so much for this idea! We have not tracked students future careers or majors. We used student surveys as a measure of pre and post STEM interest. I think a longitudinal study of student majors, involvement in an undergraduate research, and future careers would be a really valuable component to our work. We appreciate this suggestion!

  • Icon for: Anne Kern

    Anne Kern

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 14, 2022 | 01:55 p.m.

    Hello Cathryn,

    Good stuff! I am an advocate for extracurricular STEM activities. Still, I am unconvinced of these programs' long-term impact on student's entry into the field and ultimate success in affecting the pipeline. Not to say these types of programs aren't necessary!

    Thanks,

    Anne

  • Icon for: Cathryn Tuttle

    Cathryn Tuttle

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2022 | 04:30 p.m.

    Hi Anne,

    It's certainly hard to measure ultimate success in affecting the pipeline. Our project, however, was specifically designed not to be extracurricular but instead as an integration into a student's coursework during the school day in the form of an elective students take for science credit. Our next project involved integration into curriculum of a required science class, rather than an elective, in an effort to make programs like this more accessible. Perhaps my team and I can add a longitudinal component to our next project to start measuring long-term impact. 

    Thanks,

    Cathryn 

  • May 11, 2022 | 09:13 p.m.

    Such wonderful work. I wish I had this in school. Thanks for sharing.

     
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    Justice Walker
    Cathryn Tuttle
  • Icon for: Cathryn Tuttle

    Cathryn Tuttle

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 12, 2022 | 09:12 a.m.

    Thanks so much, Victor!

  • Icon for: Leah Wiitablake

    Leah Wiitablake

    Graduate Student
    May 15, 2022 | 08:43 a.m.

    This is SO cool! I love that they made posters to share their findings with their classmates. 

    I see that you used questionnaires to measure student interest and self-efficacy in STEM. When were the surveys distributed? 

    Keep up the amazing work! I'm excited to see how the biology course goes!

     
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    Justice Walker
  • Icon for: Cathryn Tuttle

    Cathryn Tuttle

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Student
    May 15, 2022 | 10:57 a.m.

    Thanks, Leah! The surveys were administered three times - once at the beginning of the course, once a month into the course, and once at the end of the course. We compared data at all three stages to see how student outcomes were changing!

     

     
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    Justice Walker
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