SPUR 2018 Projects: Education

Educational Leadership & Policy | College of Education


University of Utah Prison Education Project
Erin Castro, Assistant Professor

The University of Utah Prison Education Project (UPEP) is a multidisciplinary collaborative effort providing on-site college curriculum and programming to students incarcerated in Draper and Timpanogos prisons. Through a commitment to educational equity and justice, UPEP aims to build a culture of sustained academic inquiry inside Utah prisons and to create positive impacts on students, volunteers, families, communities, the University of Utah, and the broader society. The mission of UPEP is to provide quality, sustained, and meaningful higher educational opportunities to individuals incarcerated in Utah state prisons. Through embodying the mission of the University of Utah, the project aims to assist incarcerated students and non-incarcerated volunteers to live lives of impact, both in prison and post-incarceration, by fostering leadership, civic engagement, and critical inquiry. UPEP seeks to positively contribute to our state and the broader society through reducing recidivism and improving the welfare of post-incarcerated individuals, families, and communities throughout the state of Utah.

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Educational Psychology | College of Education


Voice-Activated Digital Assistant: An Application for Teacher Professional Development and Technology Integration
Eric Poitras, Assistant Professor

Voice-activated digital assistants such as Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant has emerged as powerful platforms on smart devices, enabling users to interact with an artificial intelligence conversationally through voice. In the 21st century classroom, technology integration has become a central issue for teachers, who face many demands at work on a daily basis. This often leads young teachers to leave the profession because of lack of communication and support. The aim of this project is to explore the affordances of voice-activated assistants in supporting teachers to design lessons that implement technologies in the classroom. In particular, a voice-based application called nAdviser, where teachers interact with Amy to learn more about web services such as Plickers, PlayPosit, Google Forms, Kahoot!, and so on. Our efforts will lead to novel insights into the quality of voice-based teacher experience with automated digital assistants such as nAdviser.

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