Carlow Approaches Special Ed With a Touch of Magic

Can magic be used to motivate special-education students and improve problem-solving skills?

Carlow approaches special education with a touch of magic
Carlow University professor Susan O'Rourke, also the chair of special education and coordinator of instructional technology, is researching how to motivate special-education students through the use of magic as a way of improving problem-solving skills. Currently, O’Rourke is conducting a two-project study at the Braddock Hills Propel School. The first project, which started Oct. 22, involves a group of children who have a higher-than-average intellect. Students in the gifted group will be paired with engineering students from Carnegie Mellon University to analyze the math and science behind a magic trick before using that knowledge to further examine math and science topics. The second project, which began Nov. 6, works with students who are physically, developmentally or emotionally disabled. This study connects Propel’s special-needs students with ones from Northern Ireland’s Belmont School via online video conferences; participants will learn magic tricks and teach them to peers, enabling them to develop certain motor skills. In both projects, student growth will be measured and analyzed.
— Krystal Hare, PM Fact-Checker

CMU receives grant to improve road conditions
Transportation likely affects your everyday routine in some way. That’s why the U.S. Department of Transportation has given Carnegie Mellon University a $5.65 million grant to conduct research on safer transportation methods. Over two years, CMU students will collaborate with researchers from the University of Pennsylvania to bridge the gap between technology and infrastructure and move toward more efficient, reliable road systems. The grant also will complement CMU’s newly designed autonomous car and its traffic-signal control technologies. For the next two years, researchers in Pittsburgh will seek solutions for traffic congestion and harmful vehicle emissions around the country.
–– Mahala Scott, PM Editorial Intern

Pitt’s Center for Urban Education holds open house
Through Friday, the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Urban Education, housed within its School of Education, is holding an open house to celebrate new headquarters in Oakland’s Posvar Hall. To improve urban education both locally and nationally, the center uses research and other evidence-based methods to support collaboration between universities and K-12 schools. The open house began yesterday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. It will continue today with an undergraduate information session and the University Preparatory School Student Art Showcase, which features work created by local secondary students. Other events include an information session for masters and doctoral students; an inaugural lecture by sociologist Pedro Noguera, who teaches at New York University; and a community organization reception. Find more information on the center’s website.
— K.H.


Categories: Great Minds