February 2020

Principal Investigator: Theodore Peck-Li Chao
Project Dates: 07/01/2020-06/30/2025
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $817,220
Project Sponsor: NSF Diversity of Research on Learning

CAREER: Digital mathematics storytelling: Fraction stories from urban emergent communities

Elementary school children in urban communities often do poorly in math because the math they see in school is not related to the math they see in their homes, families, and communities. This project solves this problem through a digital storytelling approach, investigating how 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade children can use mobile technology to create digital mathematics stories¬–made from videos, photos, and audio–to connect math from out-of-school settings to the math they learn in school. This project will also create a teacher-friendly website of 3-5 minute math videos that showcase the rich mathematics that exists in the everyday lives of urban children, such as the math used when multiple family members cook a large meal together so that all seven dishes are hot and ready at the same time.

The goals of this project are to (1) develop a digital mathematics storytelling protocol for all teachers to use, (2) understand the effects of digital storytelling on children’s mathematical identities, fraction knowledge, and digital literacies, (3) understand how using digital mathematics storytelling effects mathematics instruction, the level of equity in the classroom, and the level of connectedness that teachers feel to their communities, and (4) create a nationwide, online community space for all teachers to learn how to use digital mathematics storytelling. In terms of research methods, a Participant Design Research methodology will be used so that students, their families, and community members will have a voice in developing the digital mathematics storytelling protocol. Narrative Inquiry and Constant Comparison Analysis will be used to analyze the impact of creating and sharing these stories. Over five years, this project will impact 12 elementary classrooms serving over 700 children. Research findings will be used to understand how digital mathematics storytelling connects to mathematics learning. Additionally, a free, online elementary teacher professional development website will be created that features stories authored by participant children, their families, and their communities. Finally, this project will help urban children learn how to use current technology (i.e., phones, tablets) to craft mathematics narratives that help them see themselves as mathematically powerful while still connected to their community.

Principal Investigator: Jay Plasman
Project Dates: 02/01/2020 -01/31/2021
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $34,000
Project Sponsor: Charles Koch Foundation

The link between career and technical education and criminal behavior

Career and technical education (CTE) has seen a steady rise in its prominence in the American education conversation over the past twenty years. Today, it is one of the least polarizing topics in education. Policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels continue to search for ways to grow CTE programming for their respective constituents, while researchers continue to add to a growing body of literature on the benefits of CTE participation. Practitioners benefit from the policies and research as they search for ways to improve and adjust CTE programming to fit the changing needs of the students.

A great deal of the existing research on CTE focuses directly, and tangentially, on how participation ultimately improves labor market outcomes. Various points along that pathway have served as outcomes of numerous studies: attendance, advanced academic coursetaking, high school graduation, college enrollment, college persistence, college graduation, and ultimately employment. Each of these identified academic outcomes links with improved labor market outcomes.

Career and technical education participation can be linked to all of these benefits, whether directly linked to labor market success or not, through human capital theory. Under this theory, individuals gain skills (human capital) through training and education, thereby improving their potential for success later in life. This human capital approach has previously been used to connect education with criminal behavior through the idea that individuals who have more training have more to lose because the opportunity cost of participating in crime is higher. In other words, these individuals can earn more in the long run through legal employment because there is no risk of incarceration.

Under this framework, it therefore stands to reason that students who participate in CTE in particular may see reduced odds of criminal behavior because of the specific skills (i.e., human capital) gained from such programming. This theory was tested with adults who were incarcerated and participated in GED training and separate vocational training, and there were promising results related to recidivism rates. However, there is a very big difference between educating incarcerated adults and educating high school students. This is especially so considering criminal behavior tends to peak toward the end of the teenage years.

With this background on the benefits of CTE, and the relationship between general education and criminal behavior in mind, I hope to be able to contribute meaningful insight to this area of research. Specifically, I plan on answering the following questions. First, are students who participate in CTE less likely to participate in criminal behaviors? And second, can CTE help reduce the chances of repeated criminal behavior?

Principal Investigator: Patricia Brosnan
Project Dates: 07/01/2019-06/30/2020
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $161,717
Project Sponsor: University of Cincinnati

Preparation of orientation & mobility specialists






Principal Investigator: Samuel Hodge
Project Dates: 10/01/2019-09/30/2024
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $814,992
Project Sponsor: East Carolina University

Training leaders to improve education and health outcomes of individuals with high-intensity needs: A multi-institution mentorship consortium






Principal Investigator: Kenneth Steinman
Project Dates: 07/01/2019-06/30/2020
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $41,981
Project Sponsor: Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Ohio children’s trust fund (OCTF) regional prevention coordinator for central Ohio regional trust fund 2020