Summer 2011 Newsletter

Professor Mark Warschauer Announces Publication of Learning in the Cloud

Returning from his year sabbatical in Japan, Professor Mark Warschauer announced the release of his latest book: Learning in the Cloud: How (and Why) to Transform Schools with Digital Media, to be published by Teachers College Press in September 2011.

Professor Warschauer explains:
"This 144-page book portrays a vision of how digital media can help transform schools, and analyzes the kinds of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, infrastructure, and learning environments that are necessary for that transformation to take place."

Additional information on the book and its contents.


Brain Boost Completes Successful Pilot Project in Irvine Unified School District
Brain Boost Project Team*

Professor Michael E. Martinez announced successful completion of the Brain Boost pilot program, carried out in two schools in the Irvine Unified School District.

Brain Boost is a scalable model program targeting the improvement of human intelligence. Designed as an after-school program, Brain Boost aims to increase students’ intelligence and motivation to learn with program effects measured by transfer tasks, students’ beliefs about cognitive ability, and subsequent academic achievement. During this past spring, a successful pilot program was launched in two schools in the Irvine (California) Unified School District: Rancho Middle School and University Park Elementary School. 

The program builds three components of intelligence: working memory, inductive reasoning, and vocabulary reasoning. The program also aims to boost motivation by teaching students that intelligence is malleable rather than fixed. The pilot program was enacted as a test of logistical feasibility and a gauge of interest among students, parents, and school administrators.

The Brain Boost project targets three specific goals:

  1. to establish a scalable model program that can measurably enhance participants’ intelligence,
  2. to cultivate participants’ academic motivation for intellectual enhancement though understanding the evidence for brain plasticity, and
  3. to advance the field of learnable intelligence though empirical research on the effects of targeted training programs on school-age participants.

The project entails plans to launch the Brain Boost program in multiple after-school programs in Orange County; however, the program is also designed to be a scalable model that can be implemented widely.

For additional information, contact Professor Michael E. Martinez or Project Manager Jeneen Graham

* Brain Boost Project Team
Back Row (l to r): Arena Chang, Teomara Rutherford, Katerina Schenke, David Lee
Front Row (l to r): Professor Michael E. Martinez, Jeneen Graham, Jana Leyrer

Assistant Professor Rebecca Black and Associate Professor of Informatics Bill Tomlinson develop iPad app: "Seed Cycle"

Assistant Professor of Education Rebecca Black and Associate Professor Bill Tomlinson of Informatics have created an iPad app "The Seed Cycle" to engage children in learning about plant growth and pollination. As described on Seed Pod Productions:

"In this fun and educational app, children can grow their own beautiful flowers while learning about plant growth and pollination. Players earn badges as they complete different stages of the plant growth cycle. With informative text and a read-to-me option, children can learn science vocabulary and concepts while helping a busy bee pollinate flowers and protecting their plant seeds from a hungry bird. This app is designed to appeal to children from toddlerhood to elementary school."

Under development is a second iPad app - "The Butterfly Cycle" - about butterfly growth and metamorphosis.

Learn more about "The Seed Cycle" and Seed Pod Productions

Professor Mark Warschauer Receives Grant from Google: "Cloud-Based Writing in K-12 Schools"
Mark Warschauer

Professor Mark Warschauer has been awarded a Google Grant to research cloud-based writing in K-12 schools. 

Abstract: Though learning to write is a vital skill in today's knowledge economy, writing is poorly taught in K-12 schools. And learning to write collaboratively with others is seldom taught at all. Building on a successful study funded by a Google Research Award last year, we seek to investigate the ways that Google Apps for Education, and particularly Google Docs, is used in writing instruction in a successful public school district providing one-to-one computer access with netbooks and open source software. Using interviews, observations, a survey, server data, and test score outcomes, this study will investigate how Google Docs is integrated into instruction for diverse students, what are the particular uses for collaborative writing and for receiving and responding to peer or teacher feedback, what the relationship is of use to student test score outcomes in writing, and how all of this can contribute to the design of an online writing environment that incorporates Google Docs and that matches the needs of K-12 schools.

Professor Warschauer is Director of the UC Irvine Ph.D. in Education and serves as coordinator of the Language, Literacy, and Technology specialization. His research interests include technology in education, language and literacy, and diversity and equity.


Associate Professor Joseph Mahoney Heads to Washington as SRCD Congressional Fellow
Joseph Mahoney

Associate Professor Joseph Mahoney has received the Society for Research in Child Development and William T. Grant Foundation Congressional Policy Fellowship. The SRCD Congressional Fellowship Program is designed to provide greater interaction between the developmental research community and Congress. Currently, one Congressional Fellow with expertise in youth development is funded each year by a grant from the William T. Grant Foundation, and a second Fellow is funded by SRCD. Fellows spend one year working as a Legislative Assistant on the staff of a Congressional committee, on the staff of a member of Congress, or in a Congressional support agency that works directly for members or committees of Congress. Fellows may also work as staff on Congressional committees that deal with issues concerning children and families. Although the responsibilities of each Fellow vary by office, past Fellows have worked on drafting legislation, bringing research to bear on re-authorization of programs or appropriations, and advising members of Congress through research that bears on both local and Federal programs and services affecting children, youth, and families. Fellows may also prepare or assist in Congressional hearings, or preparing briefs and speeches.

Dr. Mahoney will offer his knowledge and experience as a researcher in child and adolescent social/educational development. His research has been concerned with a range of policy issues including after-school programming, positive youth development, summertime, the achievement gap, child obesity, juvenile crime, and the professional development of the after-school workforce.


Lecturer Susan Guilfoyle Introduces Bilingual Blog for Current and Prospective Candidates and Program Alumni
Susan Guilfoyle

Lecturer Susan Guilfoyle - Bilingual, Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development (BCLAD) Coordinator - has created a blog to support bilingual educators and BCLAD Credential candidates. Visitors to "Bilingual Teacher" are able to access information about Collaborating: Sharing Ideas and Resources; Dual Language Immersion Schools; Employment Opportunities; Preparing for the CSET:LOTE Spanish; Spotlight on Bilingual Teachers; and Valuable Resources. Contributions are welcome.

Ms. Guilfoyle teaches in the Department of Education’s  Multiple Subject Teacher Credential Program and serves as a field advisor to multiple subject candidates. As the BCLAD coordinator, she assesses students’ Spanish fluency in reading comprehension, listening comprehension, written expression and oral language ability. She also coordinates events to support BCLAD students in the program throughout the year.

California Motivation Project (CAMP) Completes Data Collection for Study of Motivation and Achievement Before, During, and After a Summer Mediation Program
AnneMarie Conley

Assistant Professor AnneMarie Conley's motivation lab CAMP (California Motivation Project) has completed data collection in the Summer CAMP Project. Working with Ph.D. in Education students Arena Chang, Rahila Munshi, Teomara Rutherford, Nayssan Safavian, Katerina Schenke, and Jessica Tunney, Dr. Conley has supervised the gathering of data to study motivation profiles among middle school students at risk for failure in mathematics. The team is looking at motivation and achievement data before, during, and after a summer remediation program to understand how these students are motivated and how classrooms can provide adequate support.  As Dr. Conley explains,

"How can I motivate my students?" is a question we hear often from teachers, but it implies that students lack motivation. This doesn't make sense. Students are motivated; they just aren’t always motivated to do what we want when we want it. Trying to do the least amount of work possible and still get by is motivation. Copying another student’s homework to get the points is motivated behavior. In neither case should we say the students aren’t motivated, but these aren’t the kinds of orientations toward learning that we want to encourage. To understand motivation in the classroom, we need to ask not whether they are motivated, but how.

Read more about the California Motivation Project

Theater of Translation, Innovative Program to Engage High School Students in English Language Learning, Ends Second Year with Drama Production: "Forbidden Fruits"
Curtain call for cast of "Forbidden Fruit"

Godinez High School students participating in the Godinez-UC Irvine collaboration Theater of Translation (TOT) project presented their year-end show “Forbidden Fruits” on June 10th in the Godinez High School Auditorium.

“Writing is suffering!” is the unofficial motto behind the Theatre of Translation project headed by Dr. Joseph Jenkins and now in its fourth year of operation. Bringing together UC Irvine undergraduates and urban high school students, TOT aims to motivate minority students to write by giving high school students not only the chance to be actors in a main-stage production, but also opportunities to write and direct.

During the year TOT students are encouraged to write about topics of interest to them. UC Irvine undergraduates help the high school students tease out themes of translation in whatever they write. Over the past four years student writings have included controversial topics such as homosexuality, teen pregnancy and abortion, gang related issues, and intra-family conflicts.

The “translation gap” suggested by the program name Theater of Translation involves being subjected to the demands of more than one culture. Dr. Jenkins stresses to students the power of being aware of this condition.

Recognizing the translation gap is especially important for minorities, for whom this condition is especially intense. Over 90% of the students at Godinez are Latino. TOT's focus on translation gaps gives minority students the opportunity to become educators via their scripts and their final performances. By writing about the conflicts they feel, students can teach what it means to be a minority student living in a predominately white culture.

The first half of the TOT program is focused on writing.

With guidance from the instructors and the UCI undergraduates, the Godinez students are asked to write, write, and write some more. But unlike most writing classes, rewriting includes staged improvisation work and group suggestions. When the production is finally mounted at the end of the academic year, it is said that the play has been written by the group, rather than attributing scenes to separate authors.

Dr. Jenkins explains to students that one meaning of the motto “writing is suffering” involves the inevitable tension that arises when others, including teachers, comment on one’s writing. In the TOT program, the students are given an opportunity to audition their scenes in order to be featured in the end-of-the-year performance, which is delivered before their peers as well as parents, families, and community members.

Once auditions are over, students who did not make the final cut have an additional opportunity to appear in the show; the challenge here is to excerpt and perform a Shakespeare scene.

TOT students also have the option of writing and performing narrator monologues, which use high diction and complicated syntax in an effort to introduce the students to a more academic style of writing, while parodying a professor who uses such language to intimidate others.

The following UC Irvine undergraduates participated in the 2011 TOT program: Preston Hoppers, Jennifer Shin, Candice Perez, James Alonzo, Lacey Pierce, Natasha Roberts, Caroline Montes, Juliet Ante, Christina Leef, Krupa Patel, Chris Aguilar, Daisy Teves, and Mihwa Koo. Janette Jovel was the project assistant. Graduate student support was provided by Ph.D. in Education student Briana Hinga.

Ph.D. Students' Summer Activity Highlights
Femi Vance

Fifth Year Ph.D. in Education student Femi Vance has been selected to be an Education Pioneers Fellow this summer in Chicago. Education Pioneers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education reform, places graduate student Fellows in districts, schools, research firms, and other education-focused nonprofits for mutual benefit: Fellows gain practical experience working on education reform and partnering organizations receive access to new talent. During the summer each Fellow works on one project that is designed to be manageable within the 10-week duration of the internship. Ms. Vance is working with Chicago Public Schools in the Office of School Improvement.

Laurie Hansen

Fifth year Ph.D. student Laurie Hansen and two colleagues, Loretta Donovan and Timothy Green, presented a report to the Fullerton School District Board of Education, Fullerton, California: "Laptops for Learning Program Evaluation 2011." Their article "One to One Laptop Teacher Education: Does Involvement Impact Candidate Technology Skills and Disposition?" will be published in the Winter 2011 edition of the Journal of Research on Technology in Education.
Abstract: "Laptops for Learning Program Evaluation 2011"
Abstract: "One to One Laptop Teacher Education"

Emily Penner

Ph.D. in Education student Emily Penner presented two papers during the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas, Nevada in mid-August. She is the sole presenter for “Who Does Concerted Cultivation Help? Examining the Distributional Effects of Concerted Cultivation.” She is co-presenting with Professors Thurston Domina, Andrew Penner, and AnneMarie Conley “Detracking across the Distribution: Evidence from a Mathematics Curricular Reform." Ms. Penner is a third year doctoral student specializing in Educational Policy and Social Contexts.

Paul Rama

Paul Rama presented at the Games + Learning + Society Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. The Society, a collection of academic researchers, interactive media (game) developers, and government and industry leaders, investigates how interactive media environments (video games) operate, how they can be used to transform how we learn, and what this means for society. Mr. Rama's presentation, "WoW! Participation and Learning in a L2 Spanish Virtual Environment," examined how L2 Spanish learners begin to participate in the myriad of activities found in the Spanish language version of the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) World of Warcraft (WoW).

Huy Chung

Ph.D. student Huy Chung, who is serving as a UC Irvine Writing Project Fellow, is researching the affordances of the autobiography/bildunsroman genre in the literacy classroom for English Language Learning (ELL) students. Mr. Chung, a second year Ph.D. in Education student specializing in Learning, Cognition, and Development, taught English and history in downtown Los Angeles prior to entering the doctoral program as a Gates Scholar. His current research interests include teacher learning and professional development, classroom discourse analysis, interdisciplinary curriculum, semiotics in educational contexts, comparative education, and studies of volition.

Alma Zaragoza

Ph.D. student Alma Zaragoza presented a qualitative report on the THINK Together pilot programs Leyendo en Familias and Early Literacy Program (ELP) to the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. Both THINK Together and the Children and Families Commission of Orange County are Department of Education community partners. Ms. Zaragoza, a second year doctoral student specializing in Educational Policy and Social Context, is a Eugene Cota Robles Scholar. As part of her personal commitment to fostering equity and opportunity she is serving as a mentor in two UC Irvine programs: Summer Undergraduate Research Program and Competitive Edge Summer Program.

Diana Mullins

Incoming Ph.D. student Diana Mullins is a UC Irvine Writing Project Fellow. The UCI Writing Project, established in 1984, offers workshops to over 2,500 students, pre-K through 12th grade. The workshops are structured to help students enhance the reading and writing skills identified in the California English/Language Arts Content Standards. Ms. Mullins has worked as an education researcher in Boston and has taught adolescent students for 12 years in Maine. She specializes in interdisciplinary learning and reading/writing workshops and has coached middle level students in the performing arts.

Cathy Tran

Cathy Tran is teaching at the University of Hong Kong as a Senior Teaching Fellow for Crimson Summer Exchange, a cultural exchange program that promotes interaction with people of different countries and cultural backgrounds. Following her time in Hong Kong, Ms. Tran, a National Science Foundation Scholar, is using her NSF International Travel Grant to be a visiting student at the Knowledge Media Research Center in Tubingen, Germany, an extra-faculty research institute committed to bridging basic research and applied science. Ms. Tran's research interests include technology, media, child development, cognition, informal learning, and motivation.

Anny Hwang

Anny Hwang is the summer instructor for "Teaching Models of English" at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul, Korea. For Ms. Hwang, returning to Sookmyung, her alma mater, provided an opportunity to expand her research into language acquisition and cultural adaptation. Ms. Hwang's interest in language acquisition began with her childhood experiences as a native Korean speaker living in Ecuador, continued through her study at Sookmyung University and Harvard Graduate School of Education, and motivates her doctoral study of second language and literacy development, language assessment, reading difficulties, accurate identification and early intervention.

Tara Barnhart

Tara Barnhart is attending the Google Faculty Institute for STEM (Science, Math, Technology, and Engineering) Educators in Mountain View, California. The Institute offers hands-on experience for faculty of secondary education in Math and Science and is dedicated to the use of new technologies to break traditional practices. Ms. Barnhart is a National Board certified teacher in Adolescent and Young Adult Science. Prior to becoming a full-time lecturer in the single subject and master's program at California State University, Fullerton, Ms. Barnhart taught life science in a Los Angeles urban high school.

Cathery Yeh

Cathery Yeh is leading a series of math workshops on creating student-centered instruction on early number concepts for Stepping Stones, a preschool in La Palma and working as a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) preparing measures for Assistant Professor Rossella Santagata's NSF Career Project. Ms. Yeh  is serving as an AERA proposal reviewer and attending the planning conference in Hartford, Connecticut, for the 2012 Regional Conference of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Her research interests include diversity and equity in education, teacher learning, pre-service mathematics teacher development, and professional development.

Chin-Hsi Lin

Chin-Hsi Lin is working on his dissertation with financial support from a Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship. GDD fellowships, awarded by UC Irvine's Graduate Division to select Ph.D. students nearing completion of their dissertation, allow students to forgo their non-research related employment obligations and concentrate on their dissertation. Mr. Lin's dissertation explores language learners' attitudes, interactions, and practices on the largest social networking site for language learning in the world, Livemocha. His research interests include computer-mediated communication, Chinese learning, and reading development of Chinese language learners.

Tina Matuchniak

Tina Matuchniak is pursuing dissertation research in advance of her $20,000 UC/ACCORD Dissertation Fellowship for 2011-2012. Her working dissertation title is "Mind the Gap: A Cognitive Strategies Approach to College Writing Readiness." Ms. Matuchniak has research interests that encompass technology-mediated teaching and learning, literacy, and first-generation college student success. According to the UC/ACCORD Director Daniel Solórzano, Ms. Matuchniak was awarded the fellowship because she is “conducting groundbreaking work that will surely make a great contribution to educational equity and opportunity."

Briana Hinga
Dan Flynn

Ph.D. students Briana Hinga and Dan Flynn are preparing for their responsibilities as 2011-2012 Pedagogical Fellows. Pedagogical Fellows guide Teaching Asssistants during their university level training and organize specific department level training. They facilitate communication among the 2011-2012 TAs, course instructors, and the TA Coordinators and Directors, and provide suggestions for improving the TA program. Ms. Hinga has been awarded a position with the Department of Education and Mr. Flynn with the Paul Merage School of Business.

UC Irvine Participants

Eight UC Irvine students (out of 22 state-wide from the University of California system) were selected for the June University of California Educational Evaluation Center (UCEC) Institute for Training in Educational Evaluation in Santa Barbara. Method, theory, and skill-based workshops were conducted by nationally recognized UC scholars. Pictured at left are the Department of Education students, Professor Greg Duncan, and two students from UC Irvine School of Social Science. Back row: Emily Penner (GSR focus), Charles Hardy (Economics), Erik Ruzek, Distinguished Professor of Education Greg Duncan, Jimmy Leak. Front row: Matthew Rafalow (Sociology), Anamarie Auger, Teya Rutherford, Tran Dang, and Lauren Shea.

Fourteen doctoral students have been appointed Teaching Assistants for 2011 summer courses: Alejandra Albarran, Mary Cashen, Huy Chung, Sean Drake, Ernest Johnson, Alex Lin, Sonja Lind, Rahila Munshi, Paul Rama, Nayssan Safavian, Adam Sheppard, Shelly Vanamburg, Chenoa Woods, and Alma Zaragoza.

Twenty-three doctoral students are employed as summer Graduate Student Researchers on faculty grants: Tracy Bennett, Anamarie Auger, Arena Chang, Tran Dang, Briana Hinga, Liche "Sean" Kao, Sabrina Kataoka, Melissa Kibrick, James Leak, Weilin Li, Jennifer Long, Ilona Missakian, Emily Penner, Teomara Rutherford, Erik Ruzek, Nayssan Safavian, Lauren Shea, Cathy Tran, Cathery Yeh, and Binbin Zheng.

Congratulations to our 2010-2011 Doctors of Education

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