June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.189.1 - 15.189.12
Are French Fries and Grades Bad for You? Conflicting Evidence on How K-12 Teachers Search in a K-12 Engineering Digital Library
The TeachEngineering digital library provides teacher-tested, standards-based engineering content for K-12 teachers to use in science and math classrooms. Since its release in 2005, TeachEngineering has experienced significant growth in users and contributors; data on this growth is presented. The TeachEngineering team─researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Oregon State University, Duke University, Colorado School of Mines, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute─continues to research its search functions and user interface in order to ensure that it meets the needs of its intended users, K-12 teachers. Empirical evidence from an experimental study on the dimensions of alignment between digital K-12 lesson materials and education standards, however, contradicts that of the observed search behavior of patrons of TeachEngineering. Whereas the experiment convincingly shows that grade band information does not add to the teaching materials’ relevance for an educational standard, observed patrons’ searching patterns show ample evidence of grade band-based searches. In this paper, we offer that although grade band-based searches should perhaps be avoided because they improperly bias search results, they are such a prominent feature in the actual use of digital libraries that as designers we must support them while mitigating the risk of unfortunate search bias. As a possible solution, we suggest supporting grade-based searches as well as offering query expansion by widening the grade band.
With NSF funding, a multi-university team of engineering researchers embarked on creating the TeachEngineering digital library in January 2003. Engineering educators from various universities, with advice from dozens of K-12 teachers, pooled their K-12 engineering curricula and created a unified collection—with a common look and feel—of freely-accessible teaching resources. The TeachEngineering digital library was launched in January 2005 as a searchable, educational standards-based repository of high-quality, classroom-tested engineering lessons and activities for use by teachers and engineering faculty to teach engineering in K-12 settings. Up to 55,000 unique users access the collection’s contents monthly.
TeachEngineering (www.teachengineering.org) is a growing digital library of K-12 engineering lessons and hands-on activities. The collection’s curricular materials are developed by a variety of organizations and programs, and are available free-of-charge. New institutions are continually contributing their original K-12 engineering lessons and activities, mostly NSF-funded research grantees seeking outreach and dissemination opportunities. As a result, TeachEngineering collection content has grown to more than 800 hands-on engineering lessons and activities.
TeachEngineering founding partner institutions are the University of Colorado at Boulder, Oregon State University, Duke University, Colorado School of Mines, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Beyond this team, curricular contributions from the University of South
Reitsma, R., & Klenk, P., & Zarske, M., & Sullivan, J. (2010, June), Are French Fries And Grades Bad For You? Conflicting Evidence On How K 12 Teachers Search In A K 12 Digital Library Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16838
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