Nikki Schechtman

Senior Education Researcher, SRI International

Nikki Shechtman is a senior researcher at SRI International. Her work focuses on using dynamic representational technology to support mathematics learning, engagement, and motivation in the middle school classroom, on teacher professional development to support classroom mathematical argumentation, and on how to bring productive playfulness into serious classrooms. She is the principal investigator of an NSF-funded research project whose goal is to understand the complexities of “engagement” in the middle school math classroom, and examine what it takes to engage different types of learners. She received her B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and her PhD in psychology from Stanford University. Shechtman is a representative of the NSF-funded Scaling Up SimCalc Project.

The Scaling Up SimCalc Project

This project investigated the scale-up of an innovative integration of technology, curriculum, and teacher professional development aimed at improving mathematics instruction in grades 7 and 8. The SimCalc approach integrates teacher professional development, curriculum and software called SimCalc MathWorlds. The project builds on an almost 30-year research program. Dr. James J. Kaput, Ph.D. of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth designed the SimCalc program in the late 1980s to achieve his vision of "democratizing access to the mathematics of change," i.e., making concepts of proportionality, linearity and rates of change accessible to middle school students of all cultural and demographic backgrounds. Through use of interactive software, the SimCalc program advances student learning of proportionality beyond the traditionally taught cross-multiplication procedure. Read more