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UW Receives NSF Grant to Promote Lifelong Learning With New Technologies

October 7, 2021

The University of Wyoming has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to host a series of workshops where experts at the intersection of education and the human-technology interface will discuss how recent technological advances might be used to create tools and methods that enhance learning.

Andrea Burrows, a professor and associate dean for undergraduate programs in the UW College of Education, is the principal investigator for the grant from NSF’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships Engineering Directorate.

“The team will host three virtual NSF workshops bringing experts and stakeholders from the areas of educational research, technology and business development for the first time to discuss the transformation of scientific and engineering discoveries into viable products and services that can impact humanity,” Burrows says.

UW faculty members serving as co-principal investigators for the project include Mike Borowczak, the Loy and Edith Harris Assistant Professor of Computer Science, and Gabrielle Allen, a professor of mathematics and statistics. Co-investigators from outside UW are Carolyn Rosé, a professor of language technologies and human-computer interaction, and interim director of the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and Laurie Campbell, an associate professor of instructional design and technology at the University of Central Florida.

“The principal investigator team realized that research and development in science and engineering products could use support,” Burrows says. “The workshops we have developed have the capacity to inspire future products that support lifelong learning of pre-K students through senior citizens.”

Goals for the project include advancing current research in technologies and cognition; practices in cohort formulation, implementation and assessment; experiential education and integrated learning; social processes driving educational outcomes; and other elements of holistic education to identify best practices that can be implemented at scale.

The workshops will take place one day each month in November, December and January to stimulate ongoing conversations among the different stakeholders. The workshops have subthemes that go beyond the human-technology interface and include diversity, equity and inclusion; the missing millions from rural students; and impacts of COVID-19. The public is invited to attend the workshops. Those interested should register at www.accelevents.com/o/NSFHTIWorkshops.

One goal of the workshops is to increase proposals to NSF’s America’s Seed Fund, which awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $2 million to support research and development, helping de-risk technology for commercial success.

America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research program. NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.5 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. For more information, visit https://seedfund.nsf.gov/.

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