Jul 12, 2006

Revised Post 8/1/06 Interactive multimedia for social skills, understanding feelings, relaxation and coping strategies, etc.

UPDATE Links:
Link to Pragmatic Language/Social Skills Objectives (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction)
http://techpsych.blogspot.com/p/social-skillspragmatic-language.html


Link to a post about interactive technology (whiteboards, interactive websites, touch screen technologies, tabletop computing, etc.) in my work as a school psychologist in 2010:
http://interactivemultimediatechnology.blogspot.com/2010/08/reflections-about-interactivity-in-my.html


UPDATE: 1/17/08

(Additional information about multimedia and social skills applications, tips, and strategies can be found on the CITEd website. See my post on the TechPsych blog for links to CITEd resources.)

Here are some interactive applications and games that focus on social skills, coping skills, feelings, stress management, relaxation, communication, attention, or study skills. Multimedia applications present students with experiences that address a variety of modes of learning, communication, and thinking. This can be helpful with students who have more difficulty with traditional word-based counseling techniques.

The links with an asterisk (*) have online demos or offer the content on-line. Click on the links to view on-line activities and information.

ITSMYLIFE *
is an interactive website for middle-school students. It has video clips, games and related activities on topics such as bullying, dealing with emotions, dealing with crushes, gossip and rumors, divorce, death, time management, test stress, fighting, and more. Streaming video clips on a range of topics are available on this site. Resources are provided on-line for teachers and parents. The activities on this website are appropriate for classroom guidance, small group counseling/ intervention, and for "homework". The website also includes several interactive games. The activities are engaging when presented via an interactive white board. Good potential for social-emotional intervention/prevention research.
(I used activities at the It's My Life website for group and individual counseling with middle school students who had social-emotional and behavioral difficulties.)

MOODGYM *is "a free Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy intervention designed to treat and prevent depression in young people, available to all Internet users, and targeted to those who may have no formal contact with professional help services.” This online intervention was developed and researched in Australia . It can be used effectively with older teens in a school setting. Some of the activities are appropriate for a group through presentation on an interactive whiteboard. Some of the activities can be completed during the week outside of school. Good research potential. Click here to download a 2.6 mg. PowerPoint presentation about MoodGym.
(I used MOODGYM with high school students with anxiety disorders, Asperger Syndrome, bipolar disorder, and depression. The students did some of the activities at home and we discussed their "homework" during counseling sessions. Although MoodGym was designed for young people to use independently, I found that it was useful- and informative- to guide the students I worked with through the first sessions. MoodGym has several self-tests that provide results that show the student where they stand relative to others within their age group in areas of anxiety, depression, and "warpy thoughts"(mistaken beliefs).
Cloud is a relaxing, nonviolent game, created by graduate students at USC. The character, a child, flies around, collecting clouds and putting them into puzzles in the sky. The music is very soothing. The game is free and can be downloaded through the website. This game could be used to help relax students with anxiety disorders, Asperger syndrome, etc., develop coping strategies. Here is the link to the Cloud video trailer.
(I use the Cloud Game as a form of crisis intervention with students undergoing high level of agitation and stress at the middle and high school level.)



DO2LEARN*
Facial Expression Game
Feelings Game
Resources for students, parents, and teachers. Focuses on activities suitable for students with Asperger-Autism spectrum disorders, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Effect, and related disorders. Offers free online activities as well as affordable interactive applications. Many activities are useful for younger students in regular education settings and would work for small group support as well as in classrooms using an interactive whiteboard. A good site to use when consulting with new teachers about intervention strategies. Do2Learn links to information regarding various disabilities. Do2Learn's early work with Virtual Reality helped young children with autism learn street crossing. These games are available on the internet for free.
(I use the Facial Expression Game and the Feelings Game during assessment of students with Autism spectrum disorders and students with other disorders or disabilities. The students enjoy the games. I have also used it during counseling activities that focused on understanding and identifying feelings.)
Ripple Effects programs have been researched in the schools, with positive results. The programs would integrate well with positive behavior support programs, including those that offer small group counseling interventions. Some activities work well on an interactive whiteboard and could be incorporated in school-wide efforts for character education, bullying prevention, and so forth.

"
Ripple Effects for Teens (grades 6-10) addresses social, emotional and learning needs with individualized guidance in 390 areas.” “Ripple Effects For Kids (grades 3-5) prevents bullying, builds character, promotes healthy behavior and academic success with over 140 reading independent tutorials.” Ripple Effects also offers "Teaching Coach" for staff development. Download an 8 minute video clip overview of Ripple Effects software here.
(I use Ripple Effects in group and individual counseling. It works well for groups using a SmartBoard, as the touch screen on the SmartBoard allows the students to get up and physically interact with the various activities. I have also used Ripple Effects for crisis intervention, choosing topics related to the immediate problem and guiding the student through the activities. I find that Ripple Effects software is easy for the students to use and they can do the activities independently once they are familiar with the format.)
ZAPDRAMATIC *
Free and low-cost on-line games: "Life Experience through Simulations" and "Online Negotiation games" Suitable for high school students for teaching social skills needed for the workplace, community, and relationships. Some of the applications are used for training attorneys, agrologists, and business workers. Simulations could be used in work/life planning classes, conflict resolution, and transition planning.
On this website, you will find short, interactive games designed to promote positive self-esteem and counteract negative thoughts and anxiety, based on research at University. Appropriate for students who have negative thought patterns and feelings of lower self-esteem. The on-line games may work well with a small social skills group and an interactive whiteboard. Games are based on over 15 years of social psychology research at McGill.
Eye Spy Wham! Grow your Chi
IMMERSIVE EDUCATION*
"Kar2ouche Composer is a highly creative and interactive multimedia authoring tool. It helps students develop contextual understanding, critical interpretation and individual expression through a wide range of creative activities, including interactive role-play, picture-making, storyboarding, animation, publishing and movie-making.”

"MediaStage provides students of all abilities with a creative simulation environment that has all the engagement of the best computer game but puts creative and collaborative learning at its core. MediaStage stimulates students into new ways of thinking about the interactions between characters and people through its use of 3D role-playing simulations. Students can express their own thoughts as if others were expressing them and then mediate these thoughts in empathic ways which are sensitive both to audience and performer. Students can also use MediaStage to design virtual performances that include subtleties of expression through the body language of characters, their proximity to each other and their juxtaposition, as well as their movements and interactions with props and stage settings.”

MediaStage and K ar2ouche allow users to develop narrative and dialogue, so both applications are good for role-play activities. The visual nature of the applications may appeal to students who are visual learners, such as those who have language delays/disorders, autism-spectrum disorders, and language-based learning disabilities. Both applications incorporate story-boarding activities. Story boarding is useful with students who benefit from visual schedules and "Social Stories".

"Immersive Education has substantial evidence which demonstrates how its software and support materials are leading to significant benefits in the traditional classroom environment. These include:
  • Better classroom performance and increased pupil motivation and attention
  • Inclusion for children of all abilities in understanding difficult texts and concepts
  • New ways for teachers to involve children in learning where software is used as an integrated part of an overall teaching solution extending teachers' creative computer skills leading to wider use of computing in the classroom."
Click here to view a short video clip about MediaStage. Click here for a free user's guide.
RELAX TO WIN
Vyro Games
Relax to Win is appropriate for students who have difficulty coping with stress or anxiety. The game is available as a PC game as well as for the smaller screen of a SmartPhone or newer cell phone. It comes with a bio-sensing feedback device. The more relaxed the user, the better the outcome of the game. Research regarding Relax to Win has shown that it is effective. It has not been researched in U.S. schools.
FREE DIVE
BreakAway Games

BreakAway Games
produced Free Dive, in collaboration with others. Free Dive a 3-D game found to reduce the need for pain medication among children undergoing painful medical treatments, such as chemotherapy. Click here for a short video about Free Dive.
BreakAway Games produced A Force More Powerful , a game that encourages non-violence. .
"The goal of this site is to catalog the growing number of video and computer games whose primary purpose is something other than to entertain. These are also known as "serious games." This site is updated regularly and has links to various categories of games. The site is supported by Games2Train.

A gamer's comments:
"On-line relaxation "game": I really feel like I'm flying around in this space and the notion of 'tranquility' and how it really is needed in order to master the game is something I find extremely cool." Tranquility is similar in principle to the "Cloud" game. This game could be included in interventions for students who have anxiety and related disorders.
From the information provided by the Play Attention Website: "Inspired by the same technology NASA uses to train their astronauts, Play Attention® builds skill sets that are vital to everyday activities- from staying organized, to filtering out distractions, to listening more attentively in class."
KIDS TOOLS AND KIDS SKILLS is “performance support software for children, ages 7-13, who have learning disabilities and/or emotional and behavioral problems.” K id Tools/Skills provides accompanying databases and tools/skills resources for teachers and parents. Information can be downloaded from the website that includes overviews, examples of completed tools, and tips for implementation. Although the graphics and interactive technology of K ids Tools doesn't have all of the "bells and whistles" of other programs, it provides a means for students to track and monitor their own progress. The programs are free and there are teacher resources. Funded by the Steppingstones Technology grant.
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