News from WCER

UW–Madison’s Hidden Village Computer Game Selected for Sixth Annual Virtual STEM Video Showcase

May 10, 2020   |   By Janet L. Kelly

A video about a UW–Madison online learning game – titled “The Hidden Village: Mathematical Reasoning Through Movement” – is among 170 videos featuring science, technology, engineering and math education initiatives selected to compete in the 2020 STEM for All Video Showcase. The public can view the videos at any time and through May 12 they can communicate online with presenters and vote for their favorites at https://stemforall2020.videohall.com .


‘Beats Empire’ Simulation Game Moves Hip-Hop from Fiction to Online Learning Tool for Middle School

April 23, 2020   |   By Janet L. Kelly, WCER Communications

“Beats Empire,” released to the public this week, is designed for use in middle school classrooms and at home. Built upon education research, the game is recommended for players from middle school through adults. It was developed with National Science Foundation funding as a project among research universities, private sector partners and the New York City Department of Education. With its name inspired by the hip-hop drama series “Empire,” the Jay-Z song and New York City vibe, university researchers from Columbia, UW–Madison and Georgia Tech worked together to create the game, which places players in the roles of music producers who leverage data and analyze trends to dominate the music industry.


CareerLocker: Helping Adults & Children With Career-Planning and Learning During COVID-19

April 10, 2020   |   By Lynn Armitage, WCER Communications

As the world is sheltering safely at home from COVID-19, everyone has more time to look ahead and think about their future―including children, who can explore the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Parents now can help their kids answer that and other questions right from home, and get career help themselves, with a self-paced, online career-information system called CareerLocker.


COVID-19 and Social Distancing Do Not Need to End College Internships

April 7, 2020   |   By Karen Rivedal, WCER Communications

Careful redesign of traditional face-to-face internships can ensure web-based alternatives that are meaningful for students and recent graduates seeking real-world work experience or a bridge to a permanent job during the health crisis.


New At-Home Language Activity Booklet for Young Children Available Online

April 1, 2020   |   By Janet L. Kelly

WIDA Early Years is making a new booklet, “Learning Language Every Day: Activities for Families,” available free online in English and Español to help children keep learning at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The booklet can be downloaded for printing and sharing.


EdNeuroLab Zeroes in on Math Learning

March 26, 2020   |   By Lynn Armitage, WCER Communications

In 2012, Edward Hubbard, an assistant professor in UW‒Madison’s Department of Educational Psychology, created the Educational Neuroscience Lab to understand—through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)—how the physical changes that occur in children’s brains as they learn may help improve education practices.


Education on the Home Front: How to Keep Young Children Learning in the Early Days of COVID-19

March 20, 2020   |   By Janet L. Kelly, WCER Communications

For families with young children, UW–Madison educator, doctoral alum and family engagement researcher Lorena Mancilla has some advice on how to create spaces and establish routines for learning and working effectively from home.


First Analysis of UW System Hmong Undergrads Finds Low & Declining Enrollments, Grad Rates

March 10, 2020   |   By Janet L. Kelly, WCER Communications

A team of HMoob (Hmong)* American undergraduates mentored by UW–Madison education researchers in WCER’s Center for Research on College to Workforce Transitions has completed the first analysis of University of Wisconsin System student data disaggregated by race and ethnicity for the state’s largest Asian ethnic population.They find that except for UW–Oshkosh and UW–Green Bay, UW System enrollment of HMoob Americans is proportionally low and declining, particularly at the state’s flagship UW–Madison campus.


“Meet Your Immigrant Neighbor” Series Pitched by UW-Madison Researcher Airs this Week

March 9, 2020   |   By WCER Communications

Starting today, a television news series pitched by Ruslana Westerlund, a researcher in UW-Madison’s School of Education, begins on Madison’s NBC affiliate during its “News at 4” time slot. “Meet Your Immigrant Neighbor” will air at 4:15 p.m. today through March 13, featuring immigrants and the contributions they make to Dane County. Westerlund, who has lived in the United States for 25 years, pitched the interviews to highlight the positive contributions of immigrants and counteract negative rhetoric in the media.


Teacher-Guided Play Seen as Key to Deeper Student Learning

February 14, 2020   |   By Karen Rivedal, WCER Communications

An errant paper airplane, and a teacher’s insightful response to it, led to one of the best examples of successful play-based learning in a classroom that Angela Pyle, a faculty member in early childhood education at the University of Toronto, has witnessed in her extensive research.

Termed “inquiry play,” it’s a type of teacher-guided play in which an instructor seizes on young students’ expressed passions for a topic or activity, even if it means shifting gears to pursue an unexpected interruption as a multi-faceted learning opportunity.


WIDA Receives $4 Million to Support Multilingual Learners with Cognitive Disabilities

January 14, 2020   |   By Katie Stenz, WIDA

Educational tools and resources for assessing a small but important group of students, multilingual learners challenged with the most significant cognitive disabilities, now will become reality thanks to a $3.998 million U.S. Department of Education grant awarded to WIDA.


WEC Evaluators Recommend Sharing Best Practices as Student Career Planning Spans State

January 14, 2020   |   By Karen Rivedal, WCER Communications

Capstone experience of completing and presenting a final project was most often named by students as the “most beneficial” activity for them to do, along with job-shadowing, in the state-required Academic and Career Planning (ACP) program, a WEC evaluation shows.


Latest Gear Learning Game, ‘Newt’s Voyage,’ Teaches Laws of Physics by Feel

December 16, 2019   |   By Karen Rivedal, WCER Communications

Players learn scientifically sound concepts about motion and gravity as they fly virtual spaceships around the moons of distant planets.


What’s Right With Rural

December 4, 2019   |   By Lynn Armitage

We hear a lot about the challenges of rural education: declining enrollment, limited resources and funding, difficulty recruiting teachers and keeping them. And at UW‒Madison’s Rural Education Research & Implementation Center (RERIC), much good work is being done to improve educational outcomes in the state’s distant, sometimes forgotten classrooms.

But on a recent day in November, the narrative shifted when 19 STEM teachers from 18 rural school districts in Wisconsin traded stories at the third annual Teacher Speakout! sponsored by RERIC, housed at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. This exchange of ideas between teachers, researchers, policymakers and rural advocates turned into a public display of spirit, grit and passion for what is right with rural education.


WIDA Seeks Input on English Language Development Standards Edition 2020

November 20, 2019   |   By WIDA

WIDA, a leading support organization for multilingual learners, educators and families, is seeking public input on the 2020 edition of its English Language Development Standards. The research-based nonprofit includes a consortium of 40 U.S. state education agencies as well as an international consortium of more than 400 international schools. WIDA invites anyone involved in multilingual learner education to share their views by completing an online survey by Dec. 15, 2019.