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Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)
B - Readily funds technology as part of an award
National Science Foundation (NSF)
ITEST is an applied research and development (R&D) program providing direct student learning opportunities in prekindergarten through high school (PreK-12). The learning opportunities are based on the innovative use of technology to strengthen knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communication technology (ICT) careers. To achieve this purpose, ITEST supports projects that engage students in technology-rich experiences that:
- Increase awareness and interest of STEM and ICT occupations;
- Motivate students to pursue appropriate education pathways to those occupations; and
- Develop STEM-specific disciplinary content knowledge and practices that promote critical thinking, reasoning, and communication skills needed for entering the STEM and ICT workforce of the future.
ITEST seeks proposals that pursue innovative instructional approaches and practices in formal and informal learning environments, in close collaboration with strategic partnerships. ITEST proposals should broaden the participation of all students, particularly those in underrepresented and underserved groups in STEM fields and related education and workforce domains.
ITEST supports three main types of projects:
- Exploring Theory and Design Principles (ETD) - ETD R&D projects draw on literature in the field to develop conceptual framing for innovations that foster student knowledge of, and interest in, STEM and ICT careers. ETD projects investigate extant conditions and explore factors in the field intended to increase students' and educators' knowledge, motivation, participation, persistence, confidence, and resilience in STEM and ICT fields. The outcomes of an ETD study will be a preliminary theoretical framework or a prototype; and a set of design principles, methods or features of innovations to increase knowledge and interest in STEM and ICT careers for students in PreK-12 formal and informal 6 settings, particularly students from underserved and underrepresented populations. Because both knowledge and interest are important, ITEST encourages ETD studies that collect and analyze data related to both cognitive and social-emotional student outcomes.
- Developing and Testing Innovations (DTI) - The core work of DTI R&D projects involves designing the innovation, pilot-testing or implementing the innovation, and analyzing its outcomes. DTI studies focus on direct engagement with students and educators and assessment of student outcomes. DTI implementation involves all students, particularly underserved and underrepresented student populations in PreK-12 formal or informal settings. Research on implementation explicitly attends to the ways in which the design principles or features of the innovation capitalize on the strengths and challenges those student populations bring to the learning environments and influence knowledge of and interest in STEM and ICT careers. Because both knowledge and interest are important, ITEST encourages DTI studies that focus on both cognitive and social-emotional student outcomes.
- Scaling, Expanding, and Iterating Innovations (SEI) - SEI R&D projects make use of an existing innovation and investigate the mechanisms that expand its reach to broader audiences. SEI studies are designed to build on and expand DTI projects, or findings from innovations previously developed within or outside of the ITEST portfolio. SEI projects (a) broaden an innovation at a significant scale of five to ten times greater than the original implementation; (b) extend an innovation to different student populations, regions of the country, grade levels or ages of students with varying skills, and educators' capacities in PreK-12 formal and informal settings; (c) examine issues of transferability and generalizability and the factors that support or inhibit scaling; and (d) assess cognitive and social-emotional student outcomes and measure whether students continue to pursue further STEM and ICT education or careers.
ITEST also supports Synthesis and Conference proposals.
- Synthesis Studies - ITEST supports synthesis studies, including qualitative syntheses and quantitative meta-analyses focused on effective technology-based models, STEM and ICT workforce development in PreK-12 STEM learning environments, and measurement of cognitive and social-emotional students' outcomes resulting from STEM learning environments. Synthesis studies demonstrate a command of the literature on the question, issue, or topic in both breadth and depth to make a case for the amount, type, and relevance of available literature. Literature selection processes (e.g., search criteria) and quality and inclusion criteria (e.g., peer-reviewed articles, conference presentations, evaluation reports) should be discussed. Synthesis studies are expected to generate products usable by researchers and practitioners and indicate how the products serve the ITEST program goals.
- Conferences - ITEST supports conference projects aimed at building capacity among researchers and practitioners, particularly focused on the development of R&D agendas to advance the ITEST program goals and objectives. Proposals must demonstrate command of the literature and practice of the topic selected and describe the expertise and selection criteria of participants. Conference proposals include a conceptual framework, a draft agenda, the expected outcomes or products resulting from the activity, and discuss how these products will be useful and disseminated to the communities of researchers, practitioners, and beyond.
History of Funding
Abstracts of recent ITEST awards are available online at: http://www.nsf.gov/awards/award_visualization.jsp?org=NSF&pims_id=5467&ProgEleCode=7227,7774&ProgOrganization=DRL&BooleanElement=true&BooleanRef=true&from=fund.
Successful ITEST proposals will meet the intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria by describing the ways in which proposed technology-rich learning opportunities will strengthen knowledge and interest in STEM and ICT careers among PreK-12 students. All ITEST proposals must address how they are:
- Designing Innovations that Meet ITEST Program Goals - ITEST projects provide direct learning opportunities in formal and informal PreK-12 settings that leverage innovative use of technology to strengthen knowledge and interest in STEM and ICT careers. Measuring knowledge and interest includes attending to cognitive outcomes (such as changes in knowledge related to STEM and ICT domains and careers), and social-emotional outcomes (such as changes in motivation, engagement, interest, dispositions, or attitudes towards STEM and ICT careers) for individuals and groups of students. ITEST project innovations will accomplish these goals through strategic partnerships and with a focus on broadening the participation of groups who are underrepresented in STEM and ICT careers. To meet ITEST program goals, proposals should include design elements that address five components: innovative use of technology, innovative learning experiences, STEM workforce development, strategies for broadening participation, and strategic partnerships.
- Measuring Outcomes through High-Quality Research - ITEST projects must include a research component that measures the outcomes of the innovation relative to the goals of increasing knowledge of, and interest in, STEM and ICT careers. Measuring knowledge and interest includes attending to cognitive outcomes (such as changes in knowledge related to STEM and ICT domains and careers), and social-emotional outcomes (such as changes in motivation, engagement, interest, dispositions, or attitudes towards STEM and ICT careers) for individual and groups of students. ITEST proposals can include a wide variety of research designs and methodologies but must include the following three components: high-quality research design, project evaluation, and dissemination.
All U.S. organizations with an educational mission are eligible for ITEST. All ITEST projects must demonstrate evidence of partnerships and collaboration in the formulation, implementation, and/or interpretation and dissemination of the project. It is highly recommended that research-capable entities serve as the lead applicant and K-12 districts or schools act as a sub-recipient.
Applications are to be submitted on August 13, 2021. A similar deadline is anticipated annually.
Up to $30,000,000 is available for 22 to 30 awards per year. Awards will be distributed across all project areas:
- 6 to 8 awards for Exploring Theory and Design Principles for Innovations (ETD) with durations up to three years and budgets up to $400,000;
- 8 to 10 awards for Developing and Testing Innovations (DTI) with durations up to four years and budgets up to $1,500,000;
- 3 to 5 awards for Scaling, Expanding, and Iterating Innovations (SEI) with durations up to five years and budgets up to $3,000,000;
- 2 to 3 awards for Syntheses with durations up to two years and budgets up to $300,000; and
- 2 to 3 awards for Conferences with durations of one year and budgets up to $100,000.
In addition, ITEST intends to fund one Resource Center with duration up to three years and total funding up to $4,000,000 in FY 2020. This award may be made as a continuing award.
Note - Major research equipment purchases are not supported. The ITEST program limits the purchase of equipment to software, probes, and specialized equipment needed to implement a specific project. General purpose equipment, such as computers, notepads, and cellphones are not supported.
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