In the News

June 22, 2017

The Illinois Digital Ecologies and Learning Laboratory is focused on finding new and innovative ways to teach scientific concepts and to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math

Two little girls stand side by side in a virtually empty room, gleefully gyrating their arms. The room is “virtually” empty because the girls have a companion of sorts, a computer-simulated robot illuminated in high definition on one wall. Although their manner is playful, the girls have determined expressions on their faces, intent on completing a complex and urgent task. The robot is trapped in a factory that has caught fire, and the girls must help the robot escape by energizing it. Their motions control its movements, and the robot gives them verbal clues about what they need to do.

June 27, 2017

Children must be taught to collaborate, studies say

At its best, collaboration in the classroom can help students think more deeply and creatively about a subject and develop more empathy for others' perspectives. At its worst, group tasks can deteriorate into awkward silences, arguments—or frustration for the one child who ends up doing everyone else's work.

Now, as the teaching technique gains new prominence in state standards, researchers and educators are working to understand how to help students gain the skills needed to learn and work in groups.

June 01, 2017

Asparagus or broccoli: Food for thought

Technology plays an important role in the day-to-day lives of nearly everyone on the planet. When created and used thoughtfully, technology can be incredibly engaging, especially for children. With the advent of smart phones and tablets have come educational apps and a call for an increase in the use of technology in classrooms. When teachers use technology in the classroom, students have the potential to more readily learn and grasp complex concepts and lessons. One assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created an app to do just that.

May 02, 2017

C&I professor’s app helps kids understand the environmental impact of food choices

For two years Curriculum & Instruction scholar Emma Mercier and her team have been working on a Food for Thought app that helps make kids aware of the causes and impacts of climate change and assists them with making sense of data in their decision-making process on the topic.

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