CONNECT Research Program’s STEP Project Wins Award at International Conference on System Science

UCLA Lab School Demonstration Teacher Noelani Morris is part of a team that won Best Research Paper Award at the 50th Hawaiian International Conference on System Science for their work on Science through Technology Enhanced Play (STEP)

Demonstration Teacher Noelani Morris, CONNECT Director Noel Enyedy and their co-authors were awarded the “Best Research Paper Award” for their presentation at the 50th Hawaiian International Conference on System Science (HICSS), in January 2017. The annual conference is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious international conferences for Information Science and Informational technology in the world, and according to Google Scholar it is the top Information Science conference in terms of scholarly citations.

The paper and presentation, titled “Social Affordances of Mixed Reality Learning Environments: A case from the Science through Technology Enhanced Play project,” reports findings from the last two years of research in the Primary classrooms in which UCLA Lab School is pioneering a new form of educational technology. Using this “mixed reality” technology, students’ physical movement in the real world drives a virtual simulation within which students can learn about science concepts such as pollination and states of matter through play and inquiry.

To date, Enyedy’s research team has received four National Science Foundation grants totaling more than $3 million to fund this research at UCLA Lab School and a public school in Indiana.

The presentation at HICSS was the most recent of 12 presentations and four publications based on this project. All are helping to promote the school’s international reputation, Enydedy said. Demonstration Teacher Gabriela Cardenas presented the work in Argentina in 2015. Demonstration Teacher Kelly Peters presented in Singapore, CONNECT Researcher Christine Lee presented in France and Enyedy presented in Shanghai, all in 2016.

The Science Through Technology Enhanced Play project resumes its work in Gregg G. Juárez Community Hall in the 2017-2018 school year. The team is excited to test out the new lessons and the increased interactivity of the learning environment that are the focus of their current NSF grants.