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Writing or Adapting Songs for Student Inputs to Make Interactive STEM Songs

Presented by
Larry Lesser (The University of Texas at El Paso), Dennis Pearl (The Pennsylvania State University), John Weber (Perimeter College at Georgia State University), and Greg Crowther (Everett Community College)

The first three presenters' NSF-funded Project SMILES launched this May a collection of 26 interactive introductory statistics songs for which students choose inputs that will appear in the song played back to them on an online platform. While this song format may provide additional student engagement or learning (we are now analyzing data to assess this), having inputs (especially those that can vary in content or length) can greatly constrain the songwriting in expected and unexpected ways, and we have learned that not all prewritten songs can be retrofitted as interactive songs. We will briefly overview these issues in general and then for concrete illustration, discuss with Greg Crowther some of his songs. While Crowther wrote three SMILES statistics songs (and therefore has insight into the distinctive dynamics of interactive songs), we will discuss with him a couple of his biology songs (as an example how the principles transfer across STEM disciplines) and how prompts, inputs, hints, and feedback would work. For an introduction to Project SMILES and interactive songs, we invite you to view in advance our 3-minute video at, and then browse our song library (choose "build a song") as desired.