Project Prime

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Project Overview

The goals of Project PRIME* are to increase student interest and engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics for military dependent children of marine base personnel. Researchers are working within schools most impacted by high mobility rates, social-emotional issues, and academic underachievement which can be common in schools impacted by military deployments. Through improving instruction in mathematics and science using technology, Project PRIME aims to boost student achievement by providing teachers with professional development on instructional practices around utilizing technology in the classroom. Additionally, students were provided with iPads to use to enhance learning, specifically in science and mathematics.But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself,because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?

Key Activities

  • Interviewed Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) about their experiences with PRIME to understand what worked well, and what challenges were experienced.

  • Conducted a survey with participating teachers to uncover their comfort with and use of technology, SmartLab implementation perceptions, and professional learning experiences in regards to technology integration support.

  • Conducted observations of a subset of SmartLab and classroom learning environments to capture instances of learner-centered instruction that supports the development of 21st century skills in science and mathematics

  • Held focus groups with teachers to understand the effectiveness of professional development received, the degree of their changing instructional practices, and the extent of alignment of district and SmartLab curriculum in science and mathematics

  • Held focus groups with students from this subset (i.e., from the 3rd and 5th grades) to determine whether classroom instruction changed and to assess the impact of the SmartLab on science and mathematics instruction.


  • Inform the ways in which students experience technology integration in their classrooms and in the SmartLab

  • Findings from this evaluation provide insight on the TOSAs’ ability to effectively run SmartLabs, offer professional development workshops, and provide in-class support of technology integration for teachers


DoDEA Evaluation Technical Assistance Center (ETAC) website:  

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Project Lead

Project Lead: Katy Nilsen

  • Warren Whitaker
  • Yang Jiang
  • Yaoran Li