Funding

Current Grants

NSF

DRK-12: Developing and Testing the Internship-inator, a Virtual Internship in STEM Authorware System

This grant funds a collaboration among the University of Wisconsin, the University of Memphis, and the Massachusetts Audubon Society to develop the Intersnhip-inator, an authorware system that will allow content developers to design or modify virtual internships in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

Co-Investigators: Art Graesser, Kris Scopinich

$3,000,000

The National Science Foundation

 

NSF

REESE: Measuring Complex STEM Thinking Using Epistemic Network Analysis

This grant funds continued research on and development of Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA). ENA is a suite of statistical tools that measure and visualize the cognitive connections that students make between elements of complex thinking. For more information on the ENA project, click here.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

Co-Investigators: Naomi Chesler, Michael Gleicher

$2,500,000

The National Science Foundation (DRL-1247262)

 

Past Grants

NSF

REE: Using a Virtual Engineering Internship to Model the Complexity of Engineering Design Problems

This grant funds research on modeling the complexity of engineering design problems. Specifically, we are attempting to model the cognitive complexity of an engineering design problem as a function of (a) the mathematical complexity of the problem itself and (b) the information available that helps students to solve the problem. This would provide a method for both analyzing existing problems and creating new ones.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

Co-Investigators: Naomi Chesler, Jeff Linderoth

$550,000

The National Science Foundation (EEC-1232656)

 

NSF

DRK-12: AutoMentor: Virtual Mentoring and Assessment in Computer Games for STEM Learning

This grant funds a collaboration among the University of Wisconsin, the University of Georgia, the University of Maryland, the University of Memphis, and the Massachusetts Audubon Society to develop a virtual professional mentoring system. The AutoMentor system helps young people learn to think and act like STEM professionals by interacting with them in natural language. For more information on the AutoMentor project, click here.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

Co-Investigators: Al Cohen, Michael Gleicher, Art Graesser, Robert Mislevy, Kris Scopinich

$3,500,000

The National Science Foundation (DRL-0918409)

 

NSF

TUES Type 2: First Year Virtual Internships to Increase Persistence of Underrepresented Groups in Engineering: RescuShell and its parent company RescuTek

This grant funds the development of the engineering virtual internship RescuShell. In RescuShell, first-year undergraduates play the role of interns at RescuTek, a company that is developing a robotic exoskeleton to be used by rescue personnel working in dangerous or demanding situations.

Principal Investigator: Naomi Chesler

Co-Investigator: Nicola Ferrier, David Williamson Shaffer

$600,000

The National Science Foundation (DUE-1225885)

 

NSF

RIGEE: Development of Innovation Capacity in Engineering Students through Virtual Internships

This grant funds a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin and the University of Pittsburgh to develop additional content for the virtual internship Nephrotex and to investigate the process through which engineering students approach product design. For more information on the Nephrotex project, click here.

Principal Investigator: Cheryl Bodnar

Co-Investigators: Naomi Chesler, David Williamson Shaffer

$125,000

The National Science Foundation (REC-0347000)

 

IrvineFoundation

Virtual Engineering Internships for High School Students in Long Beach Unified School District

This grant funds a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin and the Long Beach Unified School District in Long Beach, California, to develop an engineering virtual internship for high school students. The virtual internship will simulate real-world engineering experience for students participating in the district’s Linked Learning program.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

$150,000

The James Irvine Foundation

 

NSF

CCLI: Professional Practice Simulations for Engaging, Educating and Assessing Undergraduate Engineers

This grant funded a collaboration between the College of Engineering and the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin to develop Nephrotex, a virtual internship in which first-year undergraduate students play the role of interns at a biotechnology firm that has tasked them with designing a nanotechnology-based membrane for use in hemodialysis equipment. For more information on the Nephrotex project, click here.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

Co-Investigator: Naomi Chesler

$500,000

The National Science Foundation (DUE-0919347)

 

NSF

EAGER: Proposal for Research in Measurement and Modeling: Dynamic STEM Assessment through Epistemic Network Analysis

This grant funded a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland to develop and explore the psychometric properties of Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA). ENA is a suite of statistical tools that measure and visualize the cognitive connections that students make between elements of complex thinking. For more information on the ENA project, click here.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

Co-Investigator: Andre Rupp

$300,000

The National Science Foundation (DRL-0946372)

 

NSF

NUE: A Nanotechnology Certificate Program for Engineering Undergraduates

This grant funded a collaboration between the College of Engineering and the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin to create an interdisciplinary program to promote teaching of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology (NSET) topics. The grant supports the development of NSET content for Nephrotex, a virtual internship in which first-year undergraduate students play the role of interns at a biotechnology firm that has tasked them with designing a nanotechnology-based membrane for hemodialysis machines. For more information on the Nephrotex project, click here.

Principal Investigator: Wendy Crone

Co-Investigators: Naomi Chesler, Kristyn Masters, David Williamson Shaffer, Kevin Turner

$200,000

The National Science Foundation (EEC-0938517)

 

ADLlogo

Games and Professional Practice Simulations (GAPPS) Collaborative

This grant funded a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin of Education and developers at the Academic ADL CoLaboratory to establish a university/industry think-tank for research on games and education.

Investigators: Judy Brown, James Paul Gee, Richard Halverson, Kurt Squire, David Williamson Shaffer

$105,000

Academic Advanced Distributed Learning CoLaboratory

 

Walt_Disney_Company_logo_expo2010

Mentoring in Online Games

This grant funded research into the form and function of mentoring in an online simulation. Using data from the Urban Science simulation, this research focused on (a) whether and how online mentoring differs for students of different ages; (b) whether and how online mentoring differs from face-to-face mentoring in the simulation; and (c) what computational models can describe mentor discourse in the simulation. For more information on the Urban Science project, click here.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

$25,000

The Walt Disney Company

 

MacArthur

A Productive Approach to Learning and Media Literacy through Video Games and Simulations

This grant funded research on which aspects of popular games could be adapted to build the linguistic, cognitive, and technological skills of underprivileged youth with purpose-built games. The Epistemic Games Group focused on development and testing of the core technologies for Urban Science, an urban planning simulation in which middle school students redevelop a pedestrian mall. For more information on the Urban Science project, click here.

Principal Investigator: James Paul Gee

Co-Investigators: Elizabeth Hayes, Erica Halverson, Richard Halverson, Kurt Squire, David Williamson Shaffer, Constance Steinkuhler

$1,800,000

The MacArthur Foundation

 

NSF

CAREER: Alternative Routes to Technology and Science

This grant funded the development and testing of two epistemic games: Ecology 2020 and Digital Zoo. Ecology 2020 was an urban planning simulation in which middle school students redesigned a popular pedestrian mall to learn about ecology and systems thinking. Digital Zoo was a biomechanical engineering simulation in which middle school students built virtual creatures using SodaConstructor, an online spring mass-modeling simulation, to learn about physics and engineering. For more information on the Digital Zoo project, click here.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

$585,000

The National Science Foundation (REC-0347000)

 

Spencer foundation

How Journalists Find the Beat: A Cognitive Ethnography of Journalistic Pedagogy

This grant funded a cognitive ethnography of science journalism, which included: (a) observations of journalism classes and real newsroom practices; (b) in-depth interviews of journalism instructors at three universities, as well as reporters and editors at a local newspaper; and (c) a literature review of readings recommended by practicing journalists and journalism instructors. The information gathered was used to develop science.net, an online simulation of professional science journalism. For more information on the science.net project, click here.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

$50,000

National Academy of Education and the Spencer Foundation

 

WARF

ByLine: Developing Adolescents’ Civic Engagement through Online Community Journalism

This grant funded the development of core technologies for youth civic engagement through web-based community journalism. These technologies were eventually incorporated into science.net, an online simulation of professional science journalism. For more information on the science.net project, click here.

PI: David Williamson Shaffer

$20,000

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

 

ethics

Technology and Informed Youth Decision Making

This grant funded the analysis of data from Pandora Project, a negotiation simulation in which students learn about ethical issues in the development and deployment of new technologies. Students learned to examine how social, economic, and cultural values from different regions interact and affect decision making in a global economy. For more information on Pandora Project, click here.

Principal Investigator: David Williamson Shaffer

$30,000

The Foundation for Ethics and Technology

GAPS is housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.