Feb 24, 2008

Mind Habits Update

I previously had a demo of one of the interactive games from MindHabits on this blog, but it no longer is available. The newer MindHabits on-line demo includes several games.

From the MindHabits website:

"Montreal-based MindHabits develops science-based videogames designed to help players reduce stress and build self-confidence. Founded on social intelligence research by Dr. Mark Baldwin at McGill University, these stress busting, confidence boosting games use simple, fun-to-play exercises that help players develop and maintain a more positive state of mind."

MindHabits allows you to adjust the faces that you see on the screen:

"Click the “Game Options” button and try moving the “neighbourhood” slider back and forth until you find a mix of faces that matches where you live as closely as possible."

Here is a screen shot of one of the MindHabits games:

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The MindHabits games are evidenced-based:

Stephane D. Dandeneau, Mark W. Baldwin, Jodene R. Baccus, and Maya Sakellaropoulo, Jens C. Pruessner (2007), Cutting Stress Off at the Pass: Reducing Vigilance and Responsiveness to Social Threat by Manipulation of Attention (pdf) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2007, Vol. 93, No. 4, 651–666 American Psychological Association 0022-3514/07/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.93.4.651

Feb 22, 2008

Via Tech Psych: Accessible Learning through Entertainment and Recreation - Resources for free or low cost games and applications

The people at Simply Entertainment/ 7-128 Software, make "mainstream, family-friendly, computer games that are designed from the ground up to be accessible to gamers with a variety of special needs, including: blindness, low vision, color blindness, deafness, and motion impairment".

They recently added a free on-line service for people searching for free or low-cost accessible computer games suitable for learning or rehabilitative environments.

According to the website, the Accessible Learning through Entertainment and Recreation service provides the following useful information:
  • Where to get those games, at low cost, or for free
  • What to look for in selecting those games, quickly and with fewer costly mistakes
  • How to apply those games to your learning objectives, without a lot of mystery
  • Who to go to for free help
"This information will be updated over the course of 2008, especially the growing series of How To articles."

Another resource on the Simply Entertainment/1-129 Software website is a section dedicated to links to 25 highest-rated websites that focus on games that are accessible for people who are blind. Many of the linked websites offer free on-line games.

Thanks to John Bannick and his colleagues at 7-128!

Feb 17, 2008

Touch Screen Interaction and Usability in Public Spaces: Link

If you are interested in what is happening with interactive displays in public spaces, you can find a description of the technology used at the Ballantyne Village center in Charlotte, N.C., along with video clips and my critique, on the Technology Supported Human-World Interaction blog.

Its a great concept, but as you can see from the unedited video clips of my frustrating interactions with large touch screen displays, there is much more work to be done in this arena.

Feb 16, 2008

MyMap email visualization, related link

I came across a link to the MyMap project via Andrea Gaggioli's Positive Technology Journal, reblogged from Information Aesthetics:

"Christopher Baker is an artist whose work engages the rich collection of social, technological and ideological networks present in the urban landscape. Baker creates artifacts and situations that reveal and generate relationships within and between these networks."

Here is a link to his MyMap project website. MyMap is an e-mail visualization. It won "Best in Show" during the Spring 2007 University of Minnesoa College of Design Student Exhibition.

Below are pictures from the site:

Smaller groups can be examined.A date range can be chosen.Individual connections can be highlighted.mymap-rotated.jpg

Description from Christopher Baker's website:

"I created My Map, a relational map and alternative self portrait. My Map is a piece of custom designed software capable of rendering the relationships between myself and individuals in my address book by examining the TO:, FROM:, and CC: fields of every email in my email archive. The intensity of the relationship is determined by the intensity of the line. My Map allows me to explore different relational groupings and periods of time, revealing the temporal ebbs and flows in various relationships. In this way, My Map is a veritable self-portrait, a reflection of my associations and a way to locate myself."

Looking at MyMap, I could see the potential for use of this program on an interactive whiteboard or display. It would be good if optimised for a mobile device, too!

Visit Andrea's blog for more posts about information visualization.

Feb 13, 2008

Cooperation between special education and regular education technology is vital: Link to TechPsych post and information from Education Week

I've shared some thoughts regarding collaboration between special education and regular education regarding technology, questions for educators about technology and educational data management systems, a link to a related article from Education Week's Digital Directions, and links to resources, in a recent TechPsych post. Take a look!

Feb 10, 2008

British Library's Online Gallery: Turning the Pages- Great for an interactive whiteboard or display

The British Library offers an on-line interactive gallery, "Turn the Pages" , where you can "turn" the pages of great books, page by page, view additional information about the information of the page you are looking at, and also listen to an audio description. You also have the option of using a magnifying feature that you can move over the surface of the page to get a closer view of the text or illustrations.

If you have an interactive touch screen display or whiteboard, you can turn the pages with your hand, and also move the magnifying viewport about the screen. What a great resource for the classroom!

Here is additional information from the "Turning the Pages" website that will help you get started:

"The standard version of Turning the Pages™ uses the Shockwave plugin, which can be downloaded from the Adobe website, to simulate the action of turning the pages of a real book. For Mac OS X users there is an alternative download. The volumes may not open if you block popups on your computer. Technical specification"

"A new version, Turning the Pages 2.0™, runs on Microsoft Vista operating system (and on Windows XP with the .NET 3 framework). It will also run on other operating systems using the Microsoft Silverlight plugin. Technical specification"

"And there are alternative versions which do not need a plugin but display static images (and enlargements) in standard web pages, in the same window."

Here are some sample titles:

Masterpiece of the Renaissance, Landmarks in Medical History, Glimpses of Medieval Art, Mozart's Musical Diary (with 75 audio excerpts), 15th-Century Church Book, Flemish Masters in Miniature,
Sketches by Leonardo, Classic of Botanical Illustration, The Original Alice, by Lewis Carrol....

Interactive Multimedia at the Local Bank: Link to post about Umpqua Bank

Ubiquitous Interactive Multimedia?

I came across info about the use of interactive multimedia by Umpqua Bank last November and wrote a post about it, "Ubiquitous Interactive Computing comes to the Corner Bank!?" .

Imagine this technology in our schools, museums, libraries, universities, and medical facilities!

Please leave a comment if you've seen this technology offered in your community.

Additional information about Umpqua bank's use of interactive technology can be found at
The Bank Channel, Putting People First, and BusinessWire.

For more information about ubiquitous interactive computing and related innovative technologies, browse through my TSHWI blog. (Technology-Supported Human-World Interaction)

Feb 8, 2008

Revisiting the Cambridge Guide to Multimedia Learning

The Cambridge Guide to Multimedia Learning, edited by Richard E. Mayer, the "father" of this fairly new discipline, is a great resource for people involved in instructional technology and application development.

According to Mayer, "the focus of this handbook is on how people learn from words and pictures in computer based environments. Multimedia environments include online instructional presentations, interactive lessons, e-courses, simulation games, virtual reality, and computer-supported in-class presentations."

As I revisited the various chapters in this handbook, I realized that people interested in topics such as information visualization, computer-supported collaborative systems, and data-driven decision making might find some value from this book.

What I'd like to see next from Dr. Mayer is a handbook that focuses on ways people learn, think, and communicate through interactive multimedia that is presented on screens of all sizes. This is important, given the explosion of large interactive whiteboards in classrooms, large-screen displays in the home, and mobile devices that now contain higher-resolution screens.