Research Opportunities

Location: Unity Hall
Fax: 508-831-5776

RA-ship in Learning Sciences and Mathematics Learning

Ivon Arroyo is seeking an RA (with a focus on mathematics education and computational thinking) to work across a few different projects that require expertise in mathematics education, as well as computational thinking. This RA will be exposed to various research projects that involve mathematics learning at the K-12 level for learning/teaching as well as games for K-12 students. The RA in Learning Sciences and Mathematics Learning will design mathematics content and activities aligned to Common Core Standards, with a deep understanding of mathematics knowledge and teaching of mathematics. At least some experience as a mathematics or technology teacher is required.

The RA in Learning Sciences and Mathematics Learning will help to design content, math problems for math tutoring systems such as, design help and hints to give students given math problems and activities from a didactics perspective, design or modify math game-like activities to fit the classroom, provide professional development or lead pilot studies in schools. The RA in Learning Sciences and Mathematics Learning will learn to evaluate the impact of mathematics education technology interventions from a variety of angles in public schools and after-school programs.

RA-ship in Predictive Models of Affect from Student Data Logs and Facial Expressions

Ivon Arroyo and Jacob Whitehill are seeking an RA (interested in Machine Learning, AI, Data Science, Learning Sciences) for an NSF-funded research project involving affect detection from student logs, computer vision, and mouse behavior tracking. We will gather fine-grained data on states of GRIT and emotion generated features that capture student behavior, construct models of states of grit and emotional states, design modifications to the software, and assess the impact of math learning software moves in a software called MathSpring, for middle school mathematics. This is a collaborative project involving faculty from Boston University and Clark University, who will provide features of visual student behavior that will be integrated with data analytics of log data of student moves in the tutor and patterns of student moves (e.g., hint requests, mistakes, effort, topic mastery) to generate predictive models of GRIT and EMOTIONS, that will be used to provide individualized guidance and tutor responses in a timely fashion.

The group is using the Affectiva software from MIT to capture facial gestures, as well as mouse tracking software. We design and measure new modes and mechanisms to respond to negative affect, disengagement, persistence, and initiative (or lack thereof) to improve student performance, and motivational outcomes inside and outside of the learning software (perseverance, initiative, attitudes). We seek to answer the following questions: How does "grit" relate to emotions? How do emotions and grit impact student behaviors and general performance? How can researchers create quantitative models from hundreds to thousands of student data points that automatically predict states of persistence, initiative, and positive and negative emotions? Nine experiments will provide valuable data to evaluate if changes/modifications to the tutor can alter/improve grit and emotion.

RA-ship in Big Data in Education: Visualizations of Student/School Data to Teachers, Students, and Researchers

Ivon Arroyo and Neil Heffernan are seeking an RA (with knowledge in several of these areas, please indicate which: Data Science, HCI, Learning Sciences, front-end programming —JavaScript/HTML, visualizations and visualizations software e.g. jCharts) for a grand challenge NSF award that addresses helping teachers to make sense of dense online data to influence their teaching through DATA VISUALIZATIONS, e.g., how to represent data from students in an understandable manner, recommendations of what teachers should say or do in response to student activity. We need to create representations that are understood by teachers in particular, as well as give recommendations to classroom teachers. 

We will work with teachers to make effective and successful predictions about students and to develop new visualizations and methods that enable informed teaching actions and personalized education. Key outcomes include introducing teachers and other stakeholders to educational big data, learning analytics, and models of teaching interventions. We intend to use big data to better understand students, groups, and the settings in which they learn, and present this data in an easily understandable manner to teachers, to students themselves, and to researchers, all of whom may need to see the same data in different ways.

RA-ship in Data Integrity in Software Systems for Learning Sciences Research

Ivon Arroyo is seeking an RA (with a focus on systems engineering, databases, data storage/retrieval, and with a focus on data integrity) to work across a variety of projects that require Java programming, web services and servlets, MySQL/PostGre databases, all of which need to guarantee data integrity. This RA will be exposed to various research projects that involve software for learning/teaching as well as games for K-12 students, teachers, and other stakeholders that require different forms of data being saved in relational databases as well as retrieval for a variety of purposes. 

The Data Integrity Research Assistant will create and modify Java code from software systems such as, create/alter structure of databases, design and run tests to verify data integrity, make databases available to researchers, create code to deliver retrieved data to parties such as teachers, students, administrators, and researchers, to fit the needs of various research projects.

RA-ship in Augmented Reality Mobile Educational Games

Ivon Arroyo is seeking an RA (with a focus on several of these: mobile devices, games and educational games, Apps, software engineering, networks) to work on a project that requires the development of Apps that run on Android-based phones and watches, as much as supporting the software engineering of a back end servlet in Java that runs the core of the games.

The RA in Augmented Reality Mobile Educational Games will work towards the creation of augmented reality educational games in math which run on cell phones and SmartWatches for K-12 students in public schools. A big focus of the project is the design of easily accessible "game authoring tools" that would allow the easy creation of games to third party users and that would allow the general public (e.g., teachers or K-12 students) to create their own games.

RA-ship in Interface Design and Front-End Programming

Ivon Arroyo is seeking an RA to work across several research projects (with knowledge on several of these: JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Actionscript, Apps for cellphones, Apps for watches, visual art design skills, sound skills, pedagogical character/educational avatars design, human computer interaction, Spanish/English language) to work on the user interface and front-end of several projects involving the look of web sites, web pages and apps in mobile devices geared to K-12 students, teachers, and parents.

The RA in Interface Design and Front-End Programming will design interfaces and implement them, taking into account that the look of the front end might need to change (dynamically or not) depending on the audience and the project. This RA will also be involved in the evaluation of interfaces with target audiences, either teachers, K-12 students, parents or others, learning to run studies such as think-alouds, qualitative interviews, and other usability studies.

Software Engineer for Learning Sciences Research Staff

Ivon Arroyo is seeking a Software Engineer that leads the development and maintenance of web-based software systems and Apps for the teaching of mathematics to K-12 level students. The software teaches students through tutorials and games and supports teachers through assessment tools. The Software Engineer will participate in research projects that investigate how students learn best with technology by designing, programming, and installing software solutions designed and specified by the principal investigators (learning sciences and technologies and computer science faculty). The software engineer will be part of a team of learning sciences and technologies researchers and students at WPI, possibly directing a few undergraduate student programmers.

The Software Engineer will be comfortable programming in at least half of the following languages and concepts: Java, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, HTML5 and front-end development, MySQL or PostGre databases, Action script, CSS, Apache, Tomcat, GIT or CVS.