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WPI's AIR Lab is interested in improving STEM education and broadening participation in STEM fields.

Improving STEM education and broadening participation in STEM fields is integrated into all of our work. See below for more information about our efforts in these areas, including several research experiences for undergraduates and teachers.

  • We are working to improve STEM personal learning environments by combining intelligent tutoring technologies with unintrusive sensing of brain activity using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). 
    • By developing a better understanding of when and how learning is occurring during pauses in tutoring system use, adaptive interventions within tutoring systems can be better personalized to the needs of the individual. Facilitating more effective math learning could help retain learners who otherwise may not follow through on STEM learning, due to prior distressing experiences with math, and the typically extensive time and effort required to take semesters of developmental math before enrolling in other STEM courses.
  • We are developing and evaluating technology to enable effective STEM concept learning in the Deaf community. 
    • The goal is to provide delivery of signed language (SL) educational content by allowing deaf signers to navigate, learn, and take assessments completely in their first language (L1). Resources that are truly accessible to deaf SL-speakers have the power to build on stronger first language foundations, facilitate lifelong learning, improve access to educational content such as STEM topics, improve career opportunities, and allow SL-based organization of SL corpora, dictionaries, learning resources and assessments.
  • Dr. Solovey was co-director for the NSF-funded Research Experience for Teachers Site for Machine Learning to Enhance Human-Centered Computing at Drexel.  STEM and Computer Science high school teachers and 2-year college faculty in the Philadelphia Area are encouraged to apply for this program running this summer.
  • There are several opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research:
    • Our lab participates in the CRA-W/CDC Distributed Research Experience for Undergraduates (DREU), which allows promising undergraduates from other universities to spend the summer in our lab. The objective of DREU is to increase the number of women and students from underrepresented groups entering graduate studies in the fields of computer science and engineering. This highly selective program matches promising undergraduate women and undergraduate men from groups underrepresented, including ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities, in computing with a faculty mentor for a summer research experience at the faculty member's home institution. Deadline is usually in February
    • We also participate in the CRA-W/CDC Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates. The objective of the CREU program is to increase the number of women and underrepresented groups entering graduate studies in the fields of computer science and computer engineering by exposing them to the joy and potential of research. Drexel students are encouraged to get in touch with Dr. Solovey if they are interested. Deadline is usually in February.
    • And of course, there are MQP and IQP and ISP opportunities!
  • Past work has included developing and studying tangible programming languages in informal learning settings, in collaboration with the Boston Museum of Science.

Related Publications

S. Keating, E. Walker, A. Motupali, E.T. Solovey. Toward Real-time Brain Sensing for Learning Assessment: Building a Rich Dataset. In Proc. ACM CHI 2016 Extended Abstracts. San Jose, CA. May, 2016. (To Appear)

J. Reis, E. T. Solovey, J. Henner, K. Johnson, R. Hoffmeister. ASL CLeaR: STEM Education Tools for Deaf Students. Proc. ASSETS’15. (Poster paper) ACM. 2015.

M.S. Horn, E.T. Solovey, R.J. Crouser, and R.J.K. Jacob, Comparing the Use of Tangible and Graphical Programming Languages for Informal Science Education, Proc. ACM CHI 2009 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference, ACM Press (2009). [Acceptance Rate: 24.5%]

M.S. Horn, E. T. Solovey, R.J.K. Jacob. 2008. Tangible Programming and Informal Science Learning: Making TUIs Work for Museums. Proc. of Interaction Design and Children, (Chicago, IL, USA, June 11-13, 2008). IDC '08. ACM, New York, NY.

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