U of I receives $2.8 million grant from National Science Foundation

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The University of Idaho College of Education, in partnership with the University of Rochester in New York, was awarded a $2.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Discovery Research PreK-12 program to provide teachers in rural school districts access to innovative online professional learning experiences in mathematics.

Julie Amador, assistant professor in the UI College of Education and director of the Idaho Region 1 Math Center in Coeur d’Alene, serves as the co-principal investigator along with Jeffrey Choppin of the University of Rochester.

The four-year grant will support research of an online professional development model that includes coordinated online courses and online video coaching, in addition to online demonstration lessons. The goal is to increase the quality of professional development opportunities for teachers in rural areas in the United States.

"This project will advance our existing professional development efforts and will focus on teachers in rural contexts who may traditionally have less access to quality professional support," Amador said. "Through synchronous online professional development, this program will ensure teachers in remote areas of Idaho are receiving instructional support that will ultimately influence student learning in mathematics."

This project is one of only 50 studies nationwide to receive a Discovery Research PreK-12 award in 2016. The program seeks to enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics by preK-12 students and teachers through research and development of STEM education innovations and approaches.

Central to the project will be a research team in Idaho and New York that will study online professional development activities to better understand the limitations and benefits of conducting such activities in virtual, rather than face-to-face, settings.

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