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Distinguished University Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Education Hollylynne Lee Leads Team Named Finalist in 2023-24 Tools Competition

Hollylynne Lee

A team of developers at NC State and RTI International, led by Distinguished University Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Education Hollylynne Lee, are finalists in the Preparing for the 21st Century World track of the 2023-24 Tools Competition. Their tool will be integrated into Invigorating Statistics and Data Science Teaching through Professional Learning (InSTEP), a free professional learning platform to support educators in developing expertise to teach secondary statistics and data science. 

The InSTEP Assist tool is one of 30 overall projects selected as a finalist from more than 475 submissions and one of 10 selected as a finalist for the Growth Award. If selected as a winner, Lee and the project team will receive $150,000 in funding. 

“It is very exciting to be one of 10 finalists. Competing in this phased approach to funding research and development has brought out our entrepreneurial spirit,” Lee said. “We are working hard to prepare our four-minute pitch to build a convincing case for why and how InSTEP Assist can make a difference in teachers’ readiness to prepare their students for a world filled with data!”

The project team includes Emily Thrasher and Gemma Mojica at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and Patrick Brown, Andrzej Proczka,and Jonathan Holt from RTI International.

InSTEP Assist, for which Lee and the project team are seeking funding, is an artificial intelligence-powered tool that will be integrated into the InSTEP platform to help tailor an educator’s learning experience through the utilization of large language models that will provide targeted recommendations for educators based on their stated demographics, goals, time availability, user activity and available resources. 
Since launching in 2019 through a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, InSTEP has attracted more than 885 users and the project team has partnered with districts and projects in North Carolina, Virginia and Connecticut as well as at the University of the Virgin Islands.