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Dr. Kelly Ryoo is a professor with the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education and is developing tools to help eighth grade students, who speak English as a second language, to learn about science. When the tools are complete, they will be available online at no cost for any teacher to use in their classroom.

“My research focuses on promoting equity for linguistically-diverse students in science education through the design and use of visualization technology. I am particularly interested in how these visualization technology can create equitable learning opportunities for English learners who speak English as their second language. They are the fastest growing population in the United States, but it has been a challenging task for teachers to support them in mainstream classrooms because they are such a diverse group of students, with different levels of proficiency in English and their home languages.”

Dr. Ryoo’s current research is funded by the National Science Foundation and is entering its third-year of a five-year project. They work with four Title 1 middle schools in North Carolina that have a large population of students who speak English as a second language and also receive free or reduced lunch.

“Another example of our visualization is a modeling environment, and this technology allows students to visually represent their ideas about scientific systems using icons, labels, stems and text. It has been found to be effective to give English learners a way, multiple ways to represent their understanding because they do not have to rely on linguistic resources to articulate their ideas.”