In brief: Research News from Fall 2020

The Faculty of Education has a proud tradition not only of producing great educators, psychologists and information studies professionals, but great research. Here are some recent stories you may have missed about UAlberta education researchers and the important work they do to improve teaching, learning and professional practice in Alberta, in Canada and around the world.

Teaching genocide in social studies education: the case of the Holodomor

Secondary Education professors Olenka Bilash and Cathryn van Kessel will host an online screening of Hunger for Truth: The Rhea Clyman Story on Tuesday November 24 at 2:30 p.m. MST as part of National Holodomor Awareness week. Alberta high school teachers Kim Edmonson and Melissa McQueen will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Dean of Education Jennifer Tupper following the screening. Everyone is invited to attend this special event via Zoom.


Indigenous students explore pathways to environmental research in new U of A program

A new University of Alberta program with an unlikely origin sees Indigenous students serve as paid interns on environmental research projects.

The I-STEAM Pathways program, conceived by Makere Stewart-Harawira, an Indigenous Māori professor in the Faculty of Education, helps First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth explore career possibilities while they do interdisciplinary research in fields such as biology, technology, environmental engineering, policy and law.

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Teachers need trauma supports too, doctoral grad says

In 2016, forest fires ravaged Fort McMurray. Almost 100,000 people were evacuated and 2,400 homes were destroyed. In the aftermath, Nathalie Reid’s research into trauma-sensitive pedagogy found many student-focused resources, but there were few resources for educators also experiencing trauma.

Reid, who received her PhD in Elementary Education last spring, realized that the significant research gap might present an opportunity to better support teachers in schools.

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Dungeons & Dragons may help at-risk kids level up social skills, say researchers

A community program using Dungeons & Dragons to foster social growth among at-risk youth has caught the attention of Educational Psychology researchers Devyn Rorem and Jacqueline Pei, who plan to evaluate its apparent success.

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Why remote learning takes new ways of thinking

As students log in to online classes this fall, they’ll have to adjust their thinking caps in a new way, a University of Alberta education expert advises.

The major shift to remote online learning means students, left largely on their own without in-person instruction and classrooms, will have to be more self-aware of the questions they’re asking themselves as they navigate their lessons, Secondary Education professor Greg Thomas said.

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U of A expert helps develop national framework for K-12 computing science curriculum

At a time when reliance on digital technology and online interaction is a daily fact of life, fewer than half of Canada’s provinces and territories include computing science in their elementary and middle-school curricula. A University of Alberta secondary education expert is working with a national network of teachers, computing scientists and other educational stakeholders to change that.

Cathy Adams, a professor in the Faculty of Education, is one of 12 experts who have developed a new Canada-wide framework for K-12 computer science curriculum with Canada Learning Code.

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How parents can help their kids succeed at online learning

For students learning from home this year, there will be some lingering challenges from last spring’s COVID-19 shutdown: parents busy balancing their own work needs, no in-person connection with teachers, technology headaches.

But the best way to support online learners is through solid teamwork involving everyone in the equation, says University of Alberta elementary education professor Suzanna Wong.

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Digital mental health treatment just as effective as in-person therapy: study

Digital mental health treatment can work just as well as in-person therapy according to newly published research by a team of rehabilitation, psychology, psychiatry and military experts based at the University of Alberta, including Educational Psychology professor Phil Sevigny.

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Feature image: Students participate in the I-STEAM Pathways Program, which enables First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth to participate in internships involving environmental research under the supervision of University of Alberta faculty (photo: Grant Wang, Faculty of Arts Media).