Research News – February 2014

Rebecca Ambrose, associate professor in the School of Education, and Marta Molina. “Spanish/English Bilingual Students’ Comprehension of Arithmetic Story Problem Texts.” International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education. November 2013.

In this paper, the researchers explore some of the factors that affect bilingual students’ comprehension of story problems: vocabulary, syntax, cultural relevance, and understanding of the word problem genre. In an effort to determine how these factors interact, they asked 18 Spanish/English bilingual children to retell and solve arithmetic story problems in their first and second language in one-on-one interviews. They conclude with implications for teachers and textbook writers. In 2009, Molina was a UC Davis visiting scholar from the University of Grenada in Spain. Data for this article were collected during that time.

Lee Martin, assistant professor in the School of Education, and Daniel Schwartz (Stanford). “A Pragmatic Perspective on Visual Representation and Creative Thinking.” Visual Studies, 2014, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp 80-93. Routledge.

This paper offers a cognitive analysis of how visual representations can increase the chances of creativity, while also considering the ways in which they might hinder it. Specifically, it presents four cognitive mechanisms of creativity supported by visualization: reinterpretation, abstraction, combination and mapping. The paper concludes with a discussion of how to best prepare people to make use of visuals to support creative thought.

Lee Martin and Pamela Gourley-Delaney, a PhD student in the School of Education. “Students’ Images of Mathematics.” Instructional Science, September 2013.

Students’ judgments about “what counts” as mathematics in and out of school have important consequences for problem solving and transfer, yet our understanding of the source and nature of these judgments remains incomplete. Thirty-five sixth grade students participated in a study focused on what activities students judge as mathematical, and how they make their judgments. The article concludes with possible implications for practice.

Lee Martin and Tobin White, associate professor in the School of Education. “Mathematics and Mobile Learning.” TechTrends, Jan. 2014, Vol. 58, Issue 1, pp. 64-70.

This paper argues for an approach to mobile learning that leverages students’ informal digital practices as resources for designing mathematics classrooms activities. The researchers briefly describe two exploratory designs along these lines, one featuring the use of photos taken by students outside class and the other centered on their recording and analyzing videos of motion. They then present a case study analysis of two students working through portions of these activities in class and discuss the potential of the approach as well as challenges associated with its implementation.

Susan O’Hara, executive director of the CRESS Center in the School of Education, Jeff Zwiers (Stanford University), and Robert Pritchard (Sacramento State University). Common Core Standards in Diverse Classrooms: Essential Practices for Developing Academic Language and Disciplinary Literacy. Portland, ME: Stenhouse. 2014.

Susan O’Hara , Jeff Zwiers and Robert Pritchard. “Cutting to the Common Core: The Academic Language Development Network.” Language Magazine: The Journal of Communication and Education. 2014

This article lays out the goals and practices of The Academic Language Development Network, a collaborative project, co-housed at UC Davis and Stanford University. The Network focuses on research-based teaching and assessment practices for developing the complex academic language, literacy, and thinking skills that support the learning of the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and new English Language Development standards. One of the main purposes of this network is to share ongoing research and effective professional development resources for building system-wide capacity to meet the instructional needs of academic English learners.

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