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2010 News Releases

Longwood’s ITTIP earns $1,049,777 grant from the NSF

January 26, 2010

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Longwood University's Institute for Teaching Through Technology and Innovative Practices (ITTIP) has received a $1,049,777 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund "Digispired ii: Workforce Investigation Inspiration for STEM (WiiSTEM)." The grant allows for the continuation of the Digispired project that began in June 2007 and was funded by an $891,000 grant from the NSF. The project serves students and teachers in rural communities of Southside Virginia.

Dr. Manorama Talaiver, director of the ITTIP and principal investigator of the grant proposal, said, "This grant will enable students and teachers to continue their work as they explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  We are excited about the opportunities for student success that will result from the continuation of this project." Virginia State University professors Dr. Giti Javidi, Dr. Ehsan Sheybani, and Dr. Seung Yang are co-principal investigators with Dr. Talaiver.

Through Digispired, 78 middle school students have developed collaborative problem solving, communication, and programming skills and designed simple computer games on four science themes. In Digispired ii, they will apply mathematics, science, and engineering principles such as kinematics and kinesthetics to the creation and development of interactive computer games. WiiStem will build on the achievements of Digispired and will involve 36 ninth grade students currently enrolled in the Digispired project. In addition, the project director will recruit 24 additional ninth graders to make a total of 60 Digispired ii students. They will explore science and engineering principles behind game controllers such as wiimotes and dance pads; interact with experts in game industries; enhance programming skills using multi-platform game development tools to create games with a focus on kinesthetics; and develop an understanding and appreciation for STEM careers. In continuing with the same students until the senior year, project administrators will be able to track the progress of the students by analyzing the data on their enrollment in STEM related courses, their choices for colleges and disciplines, and their career interests. 

In addition, WiiSTEM will train approximately 40 teachers to create and integrate games in education. "We have identified that teachers also need to be motivated about games in education in order to sustain the project," said Dr. Talaiver. "The teachers will develop instructional modules that address STEM concepts and learn to create instructional games. In addition, they will help with research questions focusing on gender differences in game creation, the impact of the project on student achievement in math and science, and on improvement in student interest in STEM careers."

Partner institutions are Virginia State University and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. Edvantia, a non-profit education research and development corporation, will evaluate Digispired ii for accountability, effectiveness, impact, and outcome.

The ITTIP is an outreach of Longwood University's College of Education and Human Resources.  The ITTIP researches and develops effective technology-integrated instructional strategies and models that are proven to be successful. Headquartered in South Boston, the Institute serves primarily 25 public school divisions extending from Patrick County eastward to the city of Franklin and as far north as Buckingham County. It works closely with, and is the fiscal and administrative agent for, the Southside Virginia Regional Technology Consortium (SVRTC).