A Workshop to Synthesize Findings from Education Research Conducted During the Pandemic: Emerging Lessons From COVID-19

September 15th, 2021 - August 31st, 2022 | PROJECT

This project will host a workshop in order to identify and synthesize research findings from NSF awards that addressed the unanticipated effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on STEM teaching and learning. The interruptions from the pandemic had dramatic, widespread effects in education. Across the nation, teachers, students, parents, staff, and school administrators experienced extended school closures and a rapid and unexpected shift to virtual instruction. Although long-term consequences are unknown, early observations revealed deeper disparities in access and opportunity for many students of color. These inequities extend beyond STEM education and include challenges to student’s mental health and wellbeing. In spring 2020, NSF invited researchers to submit educational research proposals in response to this national crisis. Each award has its own dissemination and plans for broader impacts, yet the public is underserved by separate reports published in many different venues. To enable stakeholders to find and discern the most important insights, our research team will aggregate and organize major findings across these projects via a workshop, synthesize key findings, identify unresolved issues, and communicate overall insights to broader audiences.

To synthesize findings, Digital Promise will organize and convene a workshop with NSF awardees who conducted research on the educational impacts of the pandemic. Workshop attendees will participate in answering four questions: (1) What are the major themes and topics across the different NSF awards? (2) How were imperatives to address emerging inequities related to STEM education addressed in research plans and findings? (3) Within each topic or theme, what are the major findings, insights and recommendations for teaching and learning in STEM? (4) Across awardees, what was learned about doing RAPID research during a pandemic, and what are recommendations for improvement when subsequent needs for RAPID research in education arise? Data sources for the synthesis will be collected from project artifacts (e.g., reports, journal articles, practitioner resources, etc.), pre/post-workshop surveys, and workshop outputs from workshop presentations, panel discussions, and small group discussions. Interviews with a subset of workshop attendees will provide insight into what was learned about conducting research during a global pandemic. Data will be codified, categorized, and coded using established qualitative methods. Digital Promise’s broad network of partners and collaborators will achieve broad dissemination and outreach to education stakeholders at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels. This project is jointly funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, the Discovery Research PreK-12 program (DRK-12) program, the EHR Core Research (ECR:Core) program, and the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program.

Project Website(s)

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Team Members

Vanessa Peters, Principal Investigator, Digital Promise Global
Judith Fusco, Co-Principal Investigator


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ITEST-Inov Tech Exp Stu & Teac, AISL, Discovery Research K-12, ECR-EHR Core Research
Award Number: 2140471
Funding Amount: $99,922


Access and Inclusion: Ethnic | Racial
Audience: Administration | Leadership | Policymakers | Educators | Teachers | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions | Projects
Environment Type: Conferences | Informal | Formal Connections | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks

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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within InformalScience.org are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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