Break-out sessions I. Participants choose one session (on day of event). 10:45 a.m. to 12 p.m.
a. Summer Slide, Glide, or Gain: Struggling Reader Outcomes in a High-stakes Season
Joanna A. Christodoulou, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, MGH Institute of Health Profession
The summer is a high-stakes season for reading development, particularly for children who are in elementary school, who struggle with acquiring reading skills, or who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. A major concern is that children's reading skills may become eroded during the summer vacation, leading to fragile skills in September that may have been more robust the previous June. Despite being a critical time period, limited empirical work explores summer reading skills in at-risk populations and the factors that can optimize reading outcomes. In this talk, I will present findings from both neuroimaging and behavioral data on the nature of summer reading outcomes, the impact of summer reading intervention, factors differentiating students who did and did not benefit from intervention, and implications for practice.
b. Applying Universal Design Practices in Economics Courses
Manju Banerjee, Ph.D., VP for Educational Research and Innovation, Landmark College
Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, Ph.D., Director, Landmark College Institute for Research and Training
Jim Koskoris, M.B.A., Assistant Professor, Landmark College
Students with LD can often face challenges in Economics classrooms where formulas and specialized language may make underlying concepts inaccessible to them. This session will explore the Universal Design (UD) mindset as it relates to teaching Economics to diverse learners. We will explore ways to apply this mindset to making economics more accessible to a broader range of learners, including examples of gamifying economics content. Participants will experience practical demonstrations of UD practices used in Landmark College classrooms.
c. “Passage to Hunza”: Developing Hands-on Educational VR Games to Teach Statistics
Landmark College students (Cael Hansen, Caroline Hubley, Dylan Gebel, Dennis Champagne)
A team of Landmark College students has been working on developing an interactive Virtual Reality (VR) game to provide a hands-on way for students to learn core statistics concepts. This interactive demonstration, led by the development team, will provide multiple perspectives on the design and development elements of the project including technical development, pedagogical design, and artistic direction. Participants will have the opportunity to playtest the game in VR.
d. Engaging Faculty and Staff in Students' Success
Amy Strage, Ph.D. Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development
Elizabeth Tu, M.S. Instructional Designer and Accessibility Specialist, Center for Faculty Development
San José State University
Borrowing from the well-known adage, “It Takes a Village,” we are committed to a truly collaborative approach to helping ensure the academic success of our students--especially those with atypical learning profiles. On our campus, this has entailed working creatively to raise awareness among faculty and staff about (1) students’ needs, (2) how those needs manifest themselves in academic settings, and (3) supports and resources available to students as well as staff and faculty. We will share some of the activities we have developed to equip faculty and staff with the knowledge, the pedagogical skills, and the disposition to work effectively with these students: panels featuring faculty who are parents of young adults with disabilities, panels features students interviewing peers with disabilities, lunch-and-learn sessions, and informational “house calls” to campus departments and colleges.
Break-out sessions II. Participants choose one session (on day of event). 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
a. Dyslexia Interventions: What Do You Do When All Else Fails?
Matthew Schneps, Ph.D., Director, Laboratory for Visual Learning, UMass Boston; MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program
Dyslexia is largely an impairment in phonological processing. And yet, many practitioners and an increasing number of researchers find that traditional instruction encouraging phonological awareness is not effective for all students with dyslexia. Even when phonological processing deficits fundamentally impair reading in dyslexia, other impairments--such as those in orthographic processing that overlay reading--can also take their toll. If phonological instruction fails to provide benefits, what is a practitioner to do? Here, we will discuss some of the research in this area, and talk about the benefits and pitfalls of assistive technologies intended to help those who struggle with reading and writing. This will be an interactive session, so please come prepared with stories and examples from your own practice or experience to share with the group. (What problems did you encounter? Did you find solutions? Did technology help?)
b. We Know More than We Can Tell: How Game-based Learning Assessments Help Students Demonstrate their Knowledge
Micah Altman, Ph.D., Director of Research, MIT Libraries
Ibrahim H. Dahlstrom-Hakki, Ph.D., Director of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training
In an educational system that prioritizes testing, particularly those that use text and formalisms to portray concepts, many learners may be excluded from educational opportunities because of their cognitive differences. Games and other digital environments allow us to use learners’ behaviors, such as the strategies they use during gameplay, to measure what they know implicitly but may not be able to express on a test. We will show examples of how we are using game data, along with eye-tracking and other sensor data, to help understand what players really know.
c. New and Engaging Medium: How Diverse Student Talent Can Be Brought into VR
Landmark College students (Caroline Hubley; Cael Hansen)
Virtual Reality (VR) is a new and engaging medium that can afford a broad range of opportunities for student engagement and expression. This interactive demonstration will provide participants with an opportunity to learn about some exciting VR art and innovation projects at Landmark College and how this medium can be used to engage students with a broad range of interests and talents. Participants will have an opportunity to experience a VR art project.
d. Environmental Influences on The Neural Basis of Language and Reading Development
Rachel Romeo, MSc, CF-SLP, Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University & MIT
Children’s environments early in life can have a profound influence on brain development, which provides the foundation for later learning. These environments include broad societal influences, such as one’s socioeconomic status, as well as much more immediate factors, such as how many words a child hears in a day. Participants will learn about recent research demonstrating relationships between these environmental influences and neural structure and function in the context of language and reading, and how the brain changes following reading instruction. Participants will also experience a demonstration of LENA technology, which tracks a child’s language exposure throughout the day