Research Mentor(s): Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Stamps School of Art & Design,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 20
The ORBIT project is aimed at launching a platform that encourages collaboration between people pursuing projects or researching similar topics of interest. The platform overcomes international borders and language barriers by encouraging intercultural connections. My contribution to this project has been investigating how to extend the existing research to a new audience of middle school students and their teachers. To this extent, we are developing a version of the platform based on the existing beta platform. Because the current platform was created with faculty in mind, we are conducting new research to reconfigure some of the elements to support the middle school student audience. Working in partnership with middle school teachers and administrators, we seek to provide a medium which effectively creates an engaged virtual or hybrid project-based learning environment where students can collaborate and build interpersonal skills. The literature shows that these activities support social-emotional learning, which is particularly critical for students in this age group. We have found that students enrolled solely in remote learning feel disengaged from their peers and their classes (compared to in-person instruction) causing them to face negative repercussions in their academics and personal lives. We have developed an IRB proposal to further investigate these students’ needs and how to best accommodate them in a collaborative virtual environment. As a next step, once the proposal is approved, we look forward to gaining insights from interviewing the students directly and involving them in a series of design-based research activities.