Wired for Learning: Enhanced Pedagogy for K-2 Teachers (2021-2022)


The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction appointed a statewide, collaborative committee in 2000 to design a model K-2 program that would nurture students who have traditionally been underrepresented in gifted and advanced learning programs. Project Bright IDEA was launched from this initiative. 

In order to recognize the full potential in every child and address disproportional representation in advanced education programs, Project Bright IDEA aimed to increase student achievement among underrepresented populations by redesigning the curriculum and learning environment, and training teachers in the implementation of a Thinking Skills curriculum to foster high-level thinking in students.

Project Description

This project will build on Project Bright IDEA by enhancing teachers’ instructional practices to ensure every student has access to an assets-based, rigorous curriculum that will raise their achievement, reveal their full potential and prepare them for their future. 

The previous project team learned that one of the main obstacles in the implementation of the Thinking Skills curriculum is preparing teachers to effectively deploy the associated instructional strategies in their classrooms. Building on that research, this year’s team will address the implementation issues by developing a series of open access, interactive professional development modules. These short, asynchronous, “just-in-time” modules will assist K-2 teachers in effectively implementing the Thinking Skills curriculum in their classrooms.

Team members will analyze past Project Bright IDEA data and deliverables (videos, teacher-created Thinking Skills curricula) to target module content and identify usable content; plan and produce a series of modules; and determine the best venue for hosting the modules. 

Learn more about this project team by viewing the team's video.

Anticipated Outputs

Professional development modules for K-2 teachers; digital archive of instructional videos; online resource library of Thinking Skills instructional materials

Student Opportunities

Ideally, this project team will include 1 graduate student and 5 undergraduate students studying public policy, psychology, documentary studies, computer science, education, engineering or visual and media studies. Students should be interested in curriculum development, early childhood education, instructional design, video production and website creation.

Students can expect to gain a deeper understanding of teaching and learning from instructional design and adult learner perspectives and have an opportunity to analyze secondary data from previous research projects. They will increase their familiarity with the K-2 curriculum and the process for developing instructional strategies aligned with this curriculum. They will expand their knowledge of video production and online learning methodologies and systems. For graduate students, the project offers the opportunity to lead a team toward goal completion.

Project tasks will be completed through a combination of whole group and small group collaborations. The team will meet weekly. In Fall 2021, the team will meet on Tuesdays from 2:30-4:00 p.m. At least one meeting per month will be devoted to gaining additional knowledge/expertise around instructional design, adult learning, effective K-2 pedagogy and microcredentialing among other topics. Guest speakers with specific expertise in these and other identified areas of need will be invited to these meetings to share their insights.

Alissa Griffith will serve as project manager.


Fall 2021 – Spring 2022

  • Fall 2021: Analyze past project data to determine which implementation components of Thinking Skills curriculum are of highest priority; develop scope and sequence for professional development modules; create standard format/structure; write scripts; create storyboards
  • Spring 2022: Produce module videos; compile and prepare supplemental materials; publish modules and materials on hosting site; investigate microcredentialing and badges for module completion


Academic credit available for fall and spring semesters

See earlier related team, Wired for Learning: Supporting Thinking Skills in the K-2 Classroom (2018-2019).

Image: 2018-2019 team member Raisa Reed with first-grade students at Pearsontown Elementary, by Julie Schoonmaker

2018-2019 team member Raisa Reed with first-grade students at Pearsontown Elementary.

Team Leaders

  • Margaret Gayle, Social Science Research Institute; American Association for Gifted Children
  • Alissa Griffith, Arts & Sciences-Program in Education
  • Kristen Stephens, Arts & Sciences-Program in Education
  • Daniel Turner, Social Science Research Institute

/graduate Team Members

  • Natalie Hochhaus, Masters of Public Policy
  • Zachary Sanna, Masters of Public Policy

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Rebekah Alvarenga, Visual and Media Studies (AB), Cultural Anthropology (AB2)
  • Hanul Choi
  • Brynn Meyercord, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Ashley Rea, Psychology (AB), French Studies (AB2)
  • Shiyue Song, Biology (BS)
  • Ayla Weiss

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Megan Lancaster, Duke Learning Innovation