News-The Simon Initiative - Carnegie Mellon University

Simon News, 2016

October 12, 2016

Online Learning
Online Learning: Lonely No More

The Simon Initiative

CMU’s Carolyn Rosé believes MOOCs have fallen short in one area that she is working to fix: incorporating the social aspects that are essential to learning into the curriculum. Rosé has been researching and developing software to improve online support and to help students virtually collaborate in ways that enhance what they learn.

October 9, 2016

New York Times
Looking for a Choice of Voices in A.I. Technology

New York Times

An education platform built by CMU’s Justine Cassell speaks “vernacular” to African-American children and achieves better results in teaching scientific concepts than when the computer spoke in standard English.

October 6, 2016

Maggie Braun will discuss an inventive seminar course that helps students’ personal development by focusing on the scientist rather than science.Vincent Allen
Summit To Showcase Innovative, Effective Strategies for Teaching, Learning

Carnegie Mellon University

The inaugural Teaching & Learning Summit will be an opportunity for faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and staff to discuss and exchange teaching strategies and explore how educational research at the university can be applied in classrooms. Daniel Willingham, a renowned cognitive psychologist, author, and debunker of educational myths, will give the keynote address on “Critical Thinking: Why is it so hard to teach?”

October 3, 2016

Vincent Allen
Adapting the Digital Tutor

The Simon Initiative

More than ever, digital tutors are teaching eager learners. CMU’s Vincent Aleven sees big opportunities for digital tutors, backed by his 20 years of research in artificial intelligence in education. His current research is making them more adaptive to the similarities and differences of learners.

September 28, 2016

Online Classes Get a Missing Piece: Teamwork


Most online courses are a solitary experience for learners. Carnegie Mellon University's Carolyn Rosé is working to make MOOCs more social.

September 18, 2016

Huffington Post
Relying on "Smile Scores" To Measure Student Learning Is Not a Good Idea

Huffington Post

Teachers want students to enjoy courses and find instructional innovations engaging. But students’ perceptions of enjoyment or engagement are not measures of instruction’s effectiveness.

September 1, 2016

US News & World Report
Ask 10 Questions to Assess Faculty in Online Degree Programs

U.S. News & World Report

Prospective students should consider whether an instructor has experience and was trained to teach online, experts say.

August 20, 2016

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Technology saturates curricula in Alle-Kiski Valley schools

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

For schools to successfully use technology, it has to be connected tightly to the curriculum, said Ken Koedinger, a professor of human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. Koedinger researches the creation of educational technologies that increase student achievement.

August 18, 2016

 Brain Imaging Eyed as Path to Better Education Software
Brain Imaging Eyed as Path to Better Education Software

Education Week

Carnegie Mellon has long been at the fore of the adaptive-learning field. Two decades ago, researchers at the Pittsburgh-based university pioneered the software that eventually became known as Cognitive Tutor.

August 17, 2016

Adaptive Learning Trends
5 Trends to Watch in Adaptive Learning

EdWeek Market Brief

Carnegie Mellon scholars, who are doing cutting-edge research, see promise in peer-to-peer tools and mixed reality.

August 17, 2016

Carnegie Mellon Leads Effort with Pittsburgh-Area Schools
New Project Helps K-12 Students Become Fluent with Data and Technology

School of Computer Science

Teachers from eight Pittsburgh-area school systems explored how to apply the concept of data and technology fluency in their schools during workshops this summer with CMU researchers.

August 16, 2016

Three Research-Backed Tips for Back-to-School
Three Research-Backed Tips for Back-to-School

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

With more than 205 trillion ways to teach and learn, it is easy to understand why going back to school can be overwhelming for students at any level—and their instructors. Here are three research-backed tips to help start the school year off on the right foot.

August 10, 2016

PCHE teachers at the Simon Initiative Summer School.
Pittsburgh’s Universities Go to Summer School

The Simon Initiative

CMU's Simon Initiative collaborated with the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE) to hold the first-of-its-kind PCHE Simon Summer School to support educators in incorporating Simon technologies and approach into their instruction at their home institutions.

August 10, 2016

CREATE Lab helps bring computer science to elementary students.
Computer science lessons reach elementary grades at Fox Chapel Area

Pittsburgh Tribune Review

The district has partnered with local groups like Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab, ABC Create and Bird Brain Robotics to support Pittsburgh resources and hopefully boost engagement for students.

August 5, 2016

Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative Draws 50,000

OLI, which began in the early 2000s, is an online learning platform that features not only readings and videos, but also modules, problem-solving exercises, and virtual labs. Norman Bier, Director of OLI and Core Collaborations at CMU, said the initiative aims to create an enriching learning experience for CMU students.

August 4, 2016

Carnegie Mellon University researchers dive into edtech pilots at innovative districts


Matching schools with effective edtech involves a bit of trial and error. But when elementary, middle and high schools are spending $6.6 billion on technology tools, according to Carnegie Mellon University estimates, experts say it's important to know if that money is delivering results.

August 1, 2016

The Hertz Foundation
'Math Evangelist' Po-Shen Loh Wants to Bring Higher-level Math Education to the Masses

The Hertz Foundation

In his role as head coach for the U.S. International Math Olympiad team, Loh has helped turned the Americans into a veritable powerhouse. After winning the Olympiad in 2015, a first for the U.S. in 21 years, in July Loh’s team duplicated the feat, this time having all six team members take home gold medals.

July 29, 2016

David Klahr, Herb Simon and Brian MacWhinney
A Century of CMU Psychology

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

The field of cognitive psychology and big data’s intersection with education, language and brain sciences would not exist as they are today without Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Psychology.

July 28, 2016

What Your Brain Looks Like When It Solves a Math Problem
What Your Brain Looks Like When It Solves a Math Problem

New York Times

Solving a hairy math problem might send a shudder of exultation along your spinal cord. But scientists have historically struggled to deconstruct the exact mental alchemy that occurs when the brain successfully leaps the gap from “Say what?” to “Aha!” Now, using an innovative combination of brain-imaging analyses, researchers have captured four fleeting stages of creative thinking in math.

July 28, 2016

CMU Holds LearnLab Summer School
Carnegie Mellon Holds 12th Annual LearnLab Summer School

T.H.E Journal

The Simon Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University has concluded its 12th annual LearnLab Summer School, a week-long intensive course that teaches graduate students, working professionals and researchers about CMU-developed tools that merge education, data and technology.

July 28, 2016

Decimal Point
Decimal Point: Can Having Fun Increase Learning?

Human-Computer Interaction Institute

When it comes to learning math, how much fun you are having is rarely factored into the equation. That isn't to say that game designers have not tried to turn instruction into more engaging material. For instance, there are plenty of educational games on the shelves; unfortunately, very few of them have been shown, through empirical research, to lead to improved learning outcomes, particularly in mathematics. But, that is about to change.

July 27, 2016

LearnLab Summer School
Summer School Helps Students Build Tech Tools To Improve Learning

Carnegie Mellon University

Ashish Aggarwal wants to help students taking online classes by creating a digital teaching assistant to answer questions. To help turn his idea into reality, Aggarwal needed to learn about data and software. So, he enrolled in Carnegie Mellon University’s Simon Initiative LearnLab Summer School, which teaches participants about the leading tools that merge education, data and technology — all of which are developed by CMU researchers.

July 25, 2016

Best Paper
Can Past Learning Activities Predict Differences in Individual Student Success?

Human-Computer Interaction Institute

A recent project with researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) set out to answer just that, and picked up a Best Paper award along the way.

July 22, 2016

Education Week
Researchers Target Brain-Scanning Technology to Improve Ed. Software

Education Week

"What if we could read students' brains and see what they're thinking?" That was the question posed to a group of education reporters last week by John Anderson, a professor of psychology and computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, where a cross-disciplinary team of researchers is seeking to push the boundaries of adaptive educational software.

July 21, 2016

Math Brain
Watching the Brain Do Math

Carnegie Mellon University

A new neuroimaging study reveals the mental stages people go through as they are solving challenging math problems. Insights from this new work may eventually be applied to the design of more effective classroom instruction – particularly in the form of improving cognitive tutors by creating models that match the brain activation and thinking patterns used to solve these problems.

July 11, 2016

Digital Learning’s Pioneers Are Cautiously Optimistic


Complete digital courses offer a way to give students who might fall off track in large lecture classes more personal attention. CMU’s Norman Bier weighs in on the promises and pitfalls.

June 15, 2016

Herbert Simon
Herb Simon’s 100th Birthday

School of Computer Science

Herbert Simon would have turned 100 years old on June 15, 2016. Winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economics, the A.M. Turing Award, the National Medal of Science and many other awards, Herb Simon joined the CMU faculty in 1949. And for the next 50 years, his work, and his vision, helped to turn Carnegie Mellon into a major international research university. The Simon Initiative is named in his honor.

June 13, 2016

Eberly Center
Call for Proposals: CMU’s Inaugural Teaching & Learning Summit

Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation

CMU faculty and graduate students are invited to submit proposals to showcase their work in effective and/or innovative teaching strategies, TEL strategies, data from classroom research on student learning and data from learning science research. The deadline is June 30, 2016.

May 18, 2016

Simon ProSEED Grants Awarded to Nine Learning Science Projects

Carnegie Mellon University

The new technology-enhanced learning (TEL) projects are designed to improve education for CMU students while advancing our understanding of how humans learn.

“These grants represent a unique investment in education at CMU that pays dual dividends down the road — first in improving outcomes for our learners and then in providing a foundation for future funding,” said Norman Bier, executive director of the Simon Initiative.

May 6, 2016

Tech Crunch
At Carnegie Mellon, Using Tech To Make Teachers More Engaging

Tech Crunch

Amy Ogan, an educational technologist at Carnegie Mellon University, calls herself a “CMU lifer” and for good reason. She nabbed both her undergraduate degree and Ph.D from the school. For the last couple of years, she has also worked at the university as an assistant professor, where she’s primarily focused on making classrooms, both online and offline, far more engaging.

April 22, 2016

Teach English
Want To Teach Kids “Proper” English? Speak Their Language

Huffington Post

In a lab in Pittsburgh filled with sleek computers, doll houses and an assortment of colorful toys, two scientists are trying to find better ways to teach students who speak in non-mainstream dialects how to excel in school—and in life—by learning to communicate in mainstream English.

April 21, 2016

It Takes Two: The Practical Benefits of K-12 Public Education and Higher Ed Partnerships


In the Greater Pittsburgh Region, a strategic partnership has been created to introduce new and emerging educational technologies into the classroom, supplementing teaching methodology with guided practice for students and detailed progress reports for teachers.

April 21, 2016

Intelligent Tutors
Virtual Cartoon Children Look Like a Great Way to Teach Kids

Tech Insider

Can robots teach better than real teachers? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University may have programmed ones that can. In an ongoing six-year program, researchers have built and tested animated children that talk with and teach elementary and middle school students.

April 13, 2016

GLC Logo
Global Learning Council Unveils First Set of Recommendations

Carnegie Mellon University

The recommendations will help universities maximize the potential of technology-enhanced learning design and practices through informed research. “This report is a first step, not the end point, in the GLC's objective of utilizing technology to improve education outcomes,” said CMU President Subra Suresh.

March 29, 2016

Huffington Post
Visit a Children’s Museum!

Huffington Post

CMU’s David Klahr defines children’s curiosity in terms of uncertainty and ambiguity. So, situations that go beyond a child’s typical experience can aid in the learning process.

March 17, 2016

Teacher Leader
From Teacher to Leader: One Alumna is Leading CS Efforts in NYC

Carnegie Mellon University

A CMU alumna is leading efforts to teach computer science to all New York City public school students, and her experience with the Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER) helped prepare her. PIER implements a scientifically based and rigorous Ph.D. curriculum across several departments, including Psychology, Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction (HCII), Philosophy and Statistics, and is an affiliated project of the Simon Initiative.

March 4, 2016

Harvey Fineberg
Simon Lecturer: Keep Patients First as Tech Changes Medicine

Carnegie Mellon University

The medical industry has a patient care problem, and Harvey Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and former president of the National Academy of Medicine, understands its struggles. Fineberg recently delivered a Simon Distinguished Lecture on "Technology, Information and Learning: Medical Education for the Sake of Patients.”

February 19, 2016

CDE Logo
Breaking Down the Silos in Student-Learning Research

Center for Digital Education

As universities investigate how students learn, they're working through some challenges with the current system that conducts research in disciplinary silos including psychology, neuroscience and economics. CMU’s David Klahr talks about how Carnegie Mellon is paving the way.

February 18, 2016

Vital Ties
New EdTech Fund Forges Vital Ties Between Developers and Teachers

Remake Learning

Nesra Yannier is a fifth-year PhD candidate in human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University whose background includes computer science, design, art, and education. She drew on these skills in creating NoRILLA, a classroom technology that teaches kids the basic physics of balance.

February 16, 2016

NSF Logo
LearnLab Experts Present Education Research Accomplishments at NSF Meeting

Carnegie Mellon University

The NSF recently held a conference to celebrate the achievements of its six Science of Learning Centers. Key members from each center, including CMU and Pitt’s LearnLab, presented their educational research accomplishments to underscore the importance of establishing a sustainable science of learning community to produce breakthroughs that impact education.

February 8, 2016

Harvey Fineberg
Harvey Fineberg To Discuss Technology, Information and Learning

Carnegie Mellon University

CMU's Simon Initiative Distinguished Lecture Series will present a talk by renowned public health and education expert Harvey V. Fineberg at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25 in the Gates Hillman Center’s Rashid Auditorium.

February 2, 2016

10 of today's really cool network & IT research projects


A team of CMU researchers is taking aim at the $10 million grand prize of the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE competition, the goal of which is to empower children to take control of their own learning via tablet computers, software and the like.

January 29, 2016

How UC Davis Reaps Personalized Learning's Simple Benefits


CMU’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI) was used in the re-design of the discussion sections for the UC Davis’ courses.

January 21, 2016

John R. Anderson
National Academy of Sciences To Honor John R. Anderson For Revolutionizing How We Learn

Carnegie Mellon University

If the field of cognitive science is to truly understand how the mind works, researchers need to integrate the many theories about memory, language, problem-solving and other mental functions. Carnegie Mellon University’s John R. Anderson has spent decades doing this — developing a unified theory of cognition and using it to create successful cognitive-based tutors that have revolutionized education.

January 20, 2016

AW Mellon Logo
Five Andrew W. Mellon Fellows in the Humanities Selected

Dietrich College

With a well-established legacy of pioneering technology-enhanced learning (TEL) and through the Simon Initiative, a university-wide effort that aims to measurably improve student-learning outcomes by harnessing a learning engineering ecosystem that has developed over several decades at CMU, Carnegie Mellon is uniquely positioned to advance digital scholarship and TEL in the humanities.

January 15, 2016

Change the World
A Teenage Girl’s Journey to Change the World with Code


CMU’s Alice software is a freely available, innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web.

January 11, 2016

Educational Engagement
Educational Engagement

Carnegie Mellon University

The next phase of technology-enhanced learning is taking place via virtual textbooks and interactive experiences.