Western Pa. school districts unite with Carnegie Mellon University to Remake Learning through EdTech Research

McKees Rocks, PA – December 16, 2016 – In August 2015, Carnegie Mellon University and Montour School District formalized a partnership called the “CMU LearnLab at Montour.” This on-campus research center, housed in a classroom at Montour High School, was designed to advance K-12 educational research by providing the latest advances in the science of learning and edtech. The CMU LearnLab at Montour brings together K-12 classroom teachers and university researchers for research collaborations, introducing evidence-based education technologies into the classroom, and taking science and mathematics instruction to the next level.

With support from the Grable Foundation, the CMU LearnLab will now expand to Cornell School District and Carlynton School District.  The one-year $40,000 grant will support a collaboration among Montour, Cornell, Carlynton and Carnegie Mellon University.

The grant funds will be used to support a newly created Research Fellow.  He/she will work in close collaboration with a regional group of university researchers, school district leaders, teachers, and technology partners. Doing so will fill a much-needed gap in truly bridging research and classroom education.

“The Carnegie Mellon University research team mainly led by Dr. John Stamper and Dr. Ran Liu has provided Montour with valuable data that can be used to improve student’s outcomes through emerging technologies,” said Dr. Michael Ghilani, superintendent at Montour.

In a previous CMU Learn Lab study at Montour’s David E. Williams Middle School, 5th graders piloted a software called the Fraction Tutor. Students had to collaborate with a partner in order to learn the fraction skills involving operations (addition and subtraction), as well as comparing fractions, finding the least common denominator (LCD), and finding equivalent fractions. Students’ “conceptual fraction knowledge” scores (being able to identify other students’ errors) increased from a 30% to a 98%.

“Our experience partnering with Montour School District has been amazing. We have introduced educational technologies that have been validated by cutting edge research to numerous classrooms, ranging from fifth grade math to high school chemistry.  Now with the expansion of the CMU LearnLab to Cornell and Carlynton, we will now be able to further our reach to close the gap between EdTech research and classroom use,” said Dr. Ran Liu, Carnegie Mellon University.








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