Ivon Arroyo, Assistant Professor of Social Science and Policy Studies, received a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) entitled "Wearable Tutors in the Embodied Mathematics Classroom" in the amount of $586,839. Dr. Arroyo's research will study mathematics teaching and learning with physically active games within late elementary-school using mobile learning technologies. Specifically, her research will explore how learning with physical-technology (e.g., a Smartwatch worn by students as they move and manipulate objects, as part of math games) compares to learning with classic/stagnant-technology. Dr. Arroyo and her team will measure how physical learning impacts student behavior, learning outcomes, and student motivation for STEM learning.
This research addresses significant problems and limitations in today's American classrooms, including passive learning, boredom and disinterest. In particular, mathematics classes are generally static and require students to remain quiet, sit to listen and solve problems on worksheets. Instead, this research makes students move, talk, interact with each other and the environment, and be active in general. This research has the potential to impact a wide variety of students especially those who have a hard time staying still and those who are interested in games, which are typically great motivators for students. The technology to be studied by Dr. Arroyo also holds the promise of matching the cognitive and affective needs of hyperactive students, and those who affectively disconnect from mathematics as they progress school.