Special Spotlight Insert
virtual realities of COE's Roxana Moreno
ready images of Argentina include gauchos, tangos by Gardel,
the intellectual labyrinths of Borges, and a national cuisine
that begins with meat, is followed by meat and ends with meat.
reality of Roxana Moreno, an assistant professor in the Educational
Psychology Program in the College of Education (COE), is in
sharp contrast to these images. A vegetarian from Buenos Aires,
she is a woman who loves motorcycles, mathematics and computers,
attributes that are still too rare even in this country.
passion, however, lies with understanding how students learn
mathematics and science and how best to teach them.
teaching students to be successful in mathematics and science,
you can promote the development of good thinking about any other
area as well, Moreno says.
Science Foundation recently reinforced her efforts to improve
how mathematics and science are taught when it funded two of
her research projects for more than $2.3 million.
project, Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice
in Teacher Education: Guided Interactive Virtual Environments
(GIVEs) for Case-based Learning, entails developing a
virtual classroom, where student-teachers can experience the
demands of a diverse classroom.
New Mexico, 60 percent of school children are identified as
minorities, 17 percent are special education children and 28
percent live in poverty, Moreno reports.
means that teaching in diversity requires not only being knowledgeable
in the subject matter and instructional methods, but also being
able to simultaneously process many variables for each student.
The complexity of the classroom environment constantly threatens
to overwhelm teachers, she adds.
classroom (GIVE) will provide teachers the opportunity to practice
with virtual students from very different backgrounds, all trying
to learn in the same classroom, just like the real world.
hopes that better preparing teachers for the reality of the
classroom will lead to high-quality teaching and a higher retention
with COE Professor Joseph Stevens and UC-Santa Barbara Professor
Richard Duran, her second research project is also very ambitious.
Titled Assessing Cognitive Diversity: Implications for
Hispanic, Native American and White Childrens Mathematics
Learning, this longitudinal study will examine how these
students in grades four to eight differ in their ways of learning
mathematics and displaying that learning.
personal background is also intellectually and culturally diverse.
After receiving a bachelor of science degree in economics and
a law degree in Argentina, she decided to study artificial intelligence
and computer programming at UC-Berkeley.
spare time, she also passed the California State Bar and became
a multimedia designer and consultant.
interest in artificial intelligence evolved into the study of
human intelligence and how multimedia techniques could aid learning.
Moreno earned a Ph.D. in psychology with an emphasis in cognitive
science at UC-Santa Barbara and then received a postdoc from
the National Science Foundation.
started out giving folks talks, very theoretical talks, on psychology,
and then I got a taste of what it was like to teach in a classroom.
I decided that I had to work in education, she relates.