/ LRDC Newsletter Volume 11, Issue 3, 2020
We are sad to pass on the news that our dear friend and colleague Jim Greeno died on Sept 8. Jim was the most kind and generous human being one could imagine, and a great cognitive and educational scientist. He was part of the LRDC faculty at two separate periods, 1976-1984 and then again from 2003 until now. Read a tribute here.
Kudos to LRDC alumnus Michelene T. H. Chi, Director, Learning and Cognition Lab, Dorothy Bray Endowed Professor of Science and Teaching, Arizona State University. Dr. Chi has been awarded The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education for Learning Sciences Research given to people who have had an extraordinary impact on the field.
Kudos to Lindsay Page who received the 2020 Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA), more here.
Kudos to Kevin Binning, a recipient of a 2020 Pitt Seed Grant for his study on "Using Administrative Data to Measure Teaching Effectiveness." Details here.
Kudos to PI Marc Coutanche and co-I Natasha Tokowicz for NSF-funded research examining how the brain represents different granularities of a concept (animal, mammal, dog, Labrador, Fido). The work will use a series of fMRI experiments to test competing hypotheses for how the corresponding brain activity influences new learning, retrieval, and consolidation through sleep.
A Facebook Post Sparks Anti-racist Book Drive
It all started as a passion project for Jennifer Iriti, a research scientist with the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center. In May, Iriti came across a Facebook post that listed 30 recommended anti-racist children's books appropriate for children in grades K-6. Iriti, whose work focuses on changing education systems to make them more equitable, found the list to be a great resource, containing books like "Little Leaders: Bold Women in History," by Vashti Harrison and "The Color of Us," by Karen Katz.
"In my work in literacy and equity, it's always been centered on making sure minoritized students have access to materials that reflect them; that they can see themselves in that work," said Iriti, who also serves as a faculty fellow for the Center for Urban Education in Pitt's School of Education. "And it's equally important for white students to see people of color through the materials they use in school." With her many educator contacts in mind, Iriti clicked "share" on her Facebook page and wrote: "Hey, teacher friends, here are some great books to think about."
She never would've imagined what would happen next. "One of my teacher friends commented that she was embarrassed to say she's never heard of any of the books' titles and said she was going to purchase some of the books," said Iriti. "And then, another one of my friends chimed in and said, 'I'll buy a book for each of ten teachers who will use them in their classrooms.'"
That friend was Celina Farabaugh, a mother of two in South Fayette, Pennsylvania, who knows Iriti through volunteer work outside of Pitt.
"I had been reading quite a bit about ways to be an anti-racist, and one of the suggestions I read was to donate an anti-racist book to a teacher," said Farabaugh. "So, when Jen posted a list of suggested books, I felt called to take this small step." Her first donation: "Separate is Never Equal," by Duncan Tonatiuh, to a teacher in the Keystone Oaks School District, located about 10 miles from downtown Pittsburgh.
Like Farabaugh, more and more of Iriti's friends chimed in, offering to buy books for teachers' classrooms. "It just sparked organically," said Iriti, who has been coordinating the donations from her home office for the past two months. "What started as a little pop-up effort to build anti-racist actions into all parts of our lives has turned into something bigger."
The book drive has grown from Iriti's initial Facebook post: Farabaugh joined efforts with Iriti and extended the book exchange to her own social media network. The combined reach has put more than 70 books in the hands of teachers across the country, and counting.
"Jen has coordinated the majority of the donations, but the donations I coordinated have reached teachers in Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; and even one near Lansing, Michigan," said Farabaugh. Iriti said donations have come from family, friends, colleagues, Pitt students-even strangers.
Olivia Bartholomew, a rising Pitt senior double majoring in neuroscience and political science, both in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, felt compelled to donate for many reasons. Growing up in a racially diverse neighborhood in Washington, D.C., Bartholomew learned about racial injustices from an early age. She said she hopes these books can help educate students living in predominantly white areas who may not be talking about racial justice at home.
"I donated these books so younger children can be aware of people from different backgrounds, the injustices they face and how they can make a difference," said Bartholomew, who calls Iriti a mentor. "Dr. Iriti has shown me the impact of giving back to community in a way of meeting today's needs and beyond."
Read the full article here.
Recent Publications (LRDC scientists names in boldface)
Bhide, A., Ortega-Llebaria, M., Fraundorf, S.H., & Perfetti, C.A.(2020). The contribution of orthographic input, phonological skills, and rise time discrimination to the learning of non-native phonemic contrasts. Applied Psycholinguistics. Link to article here.
Correnti, R., Matsumura, L.C., Walsh, M., Zook-Howell, D., Bickel, D.D. & Yu, B. (2020). Effects of online content-focused coaching on discussion quality and reading achievement: Building theory for how coaching develops teachers' adaptive expertise. Reading Research Quarterly. Link to abstract here.
Coutanche, M.N., Koch, G.E., & Paulus, J.P. (2020). Influences on memory for naturalist visual episode: Sleep, familiarity, and traits differentially affect forms of recall. Learning & Memory, 27(7), 284-291. Link to abstract here.
Howe, E. & Correnti, R. (2020). Negotiating the political and pedagogical tensions of writing rubrics: Using conceptualization to work toward sociocultural writing instruction. English Education, 52(4), 335-360. Link to abstract here.
Matsumura, L.C., Wang, E., Correnti, R. & Litman, D. (2020). What do Teachers want to see in Automated Writing Evaluation Systems? eSchool News Innovations in Educational Transformation. Link to article here.
Ribner, A.D., Barr, R.F., & Nichools, D.L. (2020). Background media use is negatively related to langague and literacy skills: indirect effects of self-regulation. Pediatric Research. Link to abstract here.
Russell, J.L., Correnti, R., Stein, M.K., Thomas, A., Bill, V. & Speranzo, L. (2020). Mathematics coaching for conceptual understanding: Promising evidence regarding the Tennessee coaching model. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Linke to abstract here.
Wu, Y. & Schunn, C.D. (2020). When peers agree, do students listen? The central Role of Feedback quality and feedback frequency in determining uptake of feedback. Contemporary Educational Psychology. Link to abstract here.