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INT: Project Learning with Automated, Networked Supports (PLANS): 1451604

Principal Investigator: Marcia Linn
CoPrincipal Investigator(s): Elizabeth Gerard, Nitin Madnani, Michael Heilman
Organization: University of California-Berkeley

Project Learning with Automated, Networked Supports (PLANS) will contribute to science and engineering education in middle schools. This software technology will support deep learning as students carry out project-based work. Specifically, PLANS will connect tools for brainstorming, planning, modeling, sketching, data gathering, graphing, designing, and testing, with technology that automatically assesses use of the tools and generates guidance that supports learning. This project is funded by the Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies program, which integrates opportunities offered by emerging technologies with advances in what is known about how people learn.

PLANS will define a genre of technology-enabled learning resources that combine investigation tools within a sequence of student-led projects, and analytics technologies that guide students toward deeper understanding. The researchers will explore an instance of this genre applied to middle school physical science with a focus on energy content, science and engineering practices, and cross cutting themes. By implementing and researching a half-semester sequence of projects, the researchers will examine synergies between investigation and analytic technologies that result in substantial learning gains. The researchers will collaborate with five middle schools serving diverse student populations. Through three iterations of improvements in the technologies and project materials, the project will optimize and document the educational value of this approach.

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