We have designed and developed real technologies (kits, electronics systems, and sensor systems in the classroom) that help teachers and learners understand what is happening when people do Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). We have worked with high schools, undergraduate engineering and masters courses in interaction design looking common patterns across all these different environments.
The results or work helps support teachers and learners, classrooms and STEM education overall. We have bridged the qualitative (human experience) and quantitative (sensor tracking and machine learning) to get a better understanding of learning and helped develop the field of multimodal learning analytics. Put another way: The project has resulted in different tools, processes, furniture that integrates learning analytics tools for practice-based STEM learning in real-world learning environments.
Practice-based Experiential Learning Analytics Research And Support (PELARS) is a project about learning and making. We are studying how people learn about science, technology and mathematics when they use their hands as well as their heads. A big part of the project is making more explicit the implicit practices of science teachers: “Lab demos” and hands-on experiments have been a big part of science teaching for as long as anyone can remember, but how to model and analyse these practice, while empowering teachers, is far less understood.
So, the PELARS project will find ways of generating “analytics” (data about the learning process and analysis of this data), which helps learners and teachers by providing feedback from hands-on, project-based and experiential learning situations.