Department/SpecializationMathematics, Statistics, and Computer ScienceLSRI
Janet Simpson Beissinger is a research associate professor with LSRI and UIC's Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science. She is the director of the CryptoClub Project, a curriculum development project that designs and tests materials to teach cryptography and mathematics to middle-grade students in after-school settings and online. Current work includes the development of online computer games in which students use mathematics to make and break secret codes. A new focus is the development of afterschool clubs in which students create online-tutorials using iPads and screen-capture software to explain their solutions to mathematics and cryptography problems. The project will study student-friendly ways to create and share tutorials, investigate best practices for integrating a tutorial program into an afterschool setting, and explore the impact that participation in tutorial-making has on mathematics and communication skills.
Beissinger is the co-author of Cryptography: Using Mathematics to Make and Break Secret Codes, with Vera Pless, and the CryptoClub Cipher Handbook, with Bonnie Saunders. She is a senior author of Math Trailblazers (SEE NOTE), which was developed by LSRI's Teaching Integrated Math and Science project, and is one of the top royalty-generating patents at UIC. Beissinger has served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education as a member of their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in 21st Century Community Learning Centers Technical Working Group.
Mathematics education in afterschool settings, computer games for learning.
Beissinger, J., and Pless, V., The CryptoClub: Using Mathematics to Make and Break Secret Codes, AKPeters, Ltd., Wellesley, MA (2006)
Carter, A., Beissinger, J., Cirulis, A., Kelso, C., Gartzman, M., Wagreich, P., “Student learning and achievement in Math Trailblazers,” chapter in Standards-Oriented School Mathematics Curricula: What does the research say about student outcomes?, S. Senk and D. Thompson, Eds., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (2002).
Wagreich, P., et. al, Math Trailblazers: A Mathematical Journey Using Science and Language Arts, a complete mathematics curriculum, including student textbooks and teacher’s manuals for grades K-5, developed with support from the N.S.F. Published by Kendall-Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa. (May 1997, 1998, 2004, 2008, 2013)
Math Trailblazers Teach Enhancement Resource Modules, 2nd Edition (Beissinger, editor) Kendall-Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa (2004).