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STEM Teaching & Learning

STEM Teaching & Learning

Our STEM Teaching and Learning research investigates how teaching and learning practices, tools, and media impact learner outcomes and experiences.

Bringing the Universe to America's Classrooms

2016 - 2021

The Bringing the University to America’s Classrooms project included the production, evaluation, and dissemination of a comprehensive set of Next Generation Science Standards-aligned interactive modules for K-12 students – collections of STEM resources highlighting NASA science through custom-designed resources, including video clips, interactives, animations, digital games, lab experiences, and accompanying lesson plans.

Corvallis School District Tablet Evaluation


The Corvallis School District has introduced about 4,000 tablet computers into classrooms with the intent to provide students with access to personal devices and digital resources to support their learning. The implementation of the “tablet program” began in 2012 with the goal of connecting every student to a deeper and more personalized learning experience with instructional technology. The Corvallis School District and the STEM Research Center (Leads: Martin Storksdieck and Nancee Hunter) collaborated on a flexible and responsive research and evaluation process to analyze this effort.

STEM Matters: Investigating the Confluence of Visitor and Institutional Agendas

2016 - 2021

Led by Dr. Kelly Riedinger and Dr. Martin Storksdieck with assistance from Kimberley Preston Victoria Bonebrake, Nicolette Canzoneri, and Kevin Keys OSU’s STEM Research Center partnered with two other research organizations, Knology (formerly New Knowledge Organization Ltd. and COSI’s Center for Research and Evaluation on the NSF grant STEM Matters: Investigating the Confluence of Visitor and Institutional Agendas also referred to in the zoo and aquarium field as the Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter (WZAM) project.

STEM Beyond School

2016 - 2021

The STEM Research Center served as the evaluator for the STEM Beyond School program which used an innovative approach to expand STEM opportunities and student STEM interest, motivation and enthusiasm in STEM-related activities and careers among historically underserved students in grades 3-8 by supporting high-quality out-of-school STEM programming, professional development and a statewide network for community-based out-of-school-time providers.

Schoolyard LTER

2016 - 2026

The STEM Research Center serves as the Schoolyard LTER partner for the Andrews Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program. Our work focuses on providing authentic science experiences and building data literacy for K-12 teachers and facilitating and evaluating field trips for middle school students. Many center research projects leverage and build upon this partnership, including the Authentic Research Experience for Teachers at Long-Term Ecological Research sites (ARETs@LTERs) and the Advancing Public Engagement Across LTER sites, and the Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network.

Shifting Departmental Culture to Re-Situate Learning and Instruction

2015 - 2020

Led by PI Jim Sweeney and Co-PIs Devlin Montfort, Milo Koretsky, Michelle Bothwell, and Sue Nolen, the purpose of this project is to make bold and deliberate changes to the educational environment and practices in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. The project team is redesigning the curriculum and investing in extensive faculty training to reshape the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering into a warm, welcoming environment that helps students build strong ties between the content in the classroom and the rest of their lives. The graduates will be dramatically better prepared to apply their knowledge to whatever new and unpredictable challenges face our society in the years to come.

Authenticity of Sources in Data Visualization: How Real Do We Have to Be?

2015 - 2016

The Authenticity of Sources in Data Visualization project asks: does it matter whether a museum object or experience is real and that visitors perceive it as such? How disappointed would visitors be if they learned that they had encountered a replica of the Mona Lisa or the Hope Diamond? Empirical visitor research suggests that it matters to museum visitors’ enjoyment and sense of connection with what the objects or experiences represent (science, history, art, etc.) whether an encountered object is real or authentic, but that visitors may care less about authenticity if they are placed in a mode in which they seek conceptual understanding. So, just what does that mean in terms of the realness or authenticity of virtual experiences or scientific representations?

Cascading Experiences: Using Big Data and Visual Analytics to Investigate the Long-term Effects of Informal STEM Learning

2015 - 2017

With support from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, Principal Investigators John Falk from Oregon State University and the Institute for Learning Innovation, Hasan Jamil from University of Idaho, and Kang Zhang from University of Texas at Dallas created an innovative new tool for investigating the long-term effects of learning experiences. They studied a range of online data sources to track over time the continuing conversations, inquiries and learning that individuals do after they engage in an educational experience, what Falk calls Cascading Experiences.

Connected Science Learning

2014 - 2017

The National Science Teachers Association (led by PI David Evans), the Association of Science-Technology Centers (led by Co-PI Margaret Glass), and Oregon State University’s STEM Research Center (led by Co-PI Kelly Riedinger) received an Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop, disseminate and evaluate a new resource for connecting STEM education practitioners across settings and to the teaching and learning knowledge base. As a result of this initiative, a new journal, Connected Science Learning: Linking In-School and Out-of-School STEM Learning was launched in the Spring of 2016. The STEM Research Center led the summative evaluation study to understand the impact of the journal on the STEM education field.