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Plan for Classroom Testing and Validating Materials

A field test of all materials was conducted during Project Year IV with 12 formal field test teachers from ten states, seven “informal” field test teachers that included teachers from abroad as well as from within the U.S. A four-day professional development workshop was conducted during the period between August 9-12, 2011 to prepare the 12 Field Test teachers. The workshop was held in a technology education lab in one of the pilot-test schools (Southwoods Middle School, in Syosset, NY). The lab included 20 computers on which game files were installed, and a fully equipped facility with tools and machines that was used for physical modeling of the shelter. Prior to the field test training workshop, a face-to-face meeting was conducted by PI Hacker with three expert middle school technology teacher-consultants (Nick Cimorelli, East Rockaway NY Schools, Kevin Oswald, Syosset NY Schools, and Jim Wandzilak, Freeport NY Schools) who had been working with the Project as advisors and pilot test teachers since Year I.

Training for the field test teachers was conducted by these three teachers and also by the Project leaders (PI Hacker, Co-PI Kapp, Game Producer Kiggens, Engineering Consultant Tom Robertson); and the Project research team (Drs. Deborah Hecht and Laura Saxman).The 12 field test teachers were paid honoraria by the Project to participate in the field test training and in the actual field test that was conducted  during the January, 2012 semester;  their travel and lodging expenses related to the field test training workshop in Long Island were reimbursed and all field test supplies were paid for by the Project.

In addition to the face-to-face training that occurred during the summer of 2011, a series of Webinars was provided as ongoing support to the field test teachers. During the following year (Project Year V), a second field test was also implemented with 10 teachers from seven states (providing additional data to those collected during the initial. Teachers and their students were divided into two groups: Group I completed the physical modeling activities (KSBs and the physical modeling design challenge) and subsequently engaged in the virtual “team-based design activity.” Group II completed the virtual modeling activities (KSBs and the virtual “team-based design challenge”).