Apr 18, 2006

Resources for All: Supporting UDL, RTI, Visual and Multimedia Literacy, Project-Based Learning, Learning with Mobile Devices

Since I started blogging, new technologies have made their way into an increasing number of classrooms, and many educators are aware of efforts such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Response to Intervention or Instruction (RTI), as well as innovative technologies that provide engaged, interactive learning experiences for students.

In this post, I've consolidated information and updated links and resources from some previous posts from my TechPsych and Interactive Multimedia Technology blogs. Although many of the resources cited in this post relate to K-12 education, some of the information is useful for instructional designers, school administrators, researchers, college/university educators, parents, and technologists who are interested in developing interactive multimedia applications for children and teens.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Planning for All Learners

Universal Design for Learning incorporates differentiated instruction, addressing visual learning and other means of academic engagement through the use of media technology, including project-based learning. The concepts of Universal Design for Learning fit with Response to Intervention (RTI), universal prevention/intervention, and instructional consultation/ problem-solving teams. For those who are considering this approach, plan on spending time exploring this Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) website.

The Planning for All Learners section provides resources such as lesson plan examples and planning charts that provide teachers a way of representing the specific needs of each student.

CAST offers the on-line interactive book, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning.
This book is a good resource for staff development activities. Plan on spending a good bit of time on this site!

EDUTOPIA: The George Lucas Foundation

The Edutopia website provides "..detailed articles, in-depth case studies, research summaries, instructional modules, short documentary segments, expert interviews, and links to hundreds of relevant resources."

The Technology integration link.
provides resources for teachers, staff development, including video segments that cover technology integration, project based learning, school-to-career, the use of multimedia for emotional intelligence activities, and more.


Visual learning software: "Learning to think. Learning to learn. These are the essential skills for student success. Research in both educational theory and cognitive psychology tells us that visual learning is among the very best methods for teaching students of all ages how to think, and how to learn." Many school districts have adopted Kidspiration and Inspiration; there are many resources for teacher support for this software. Effective with visual learners and works well for paired and small group activities. Potential for intervention and "engagement" research.

Many school districts have adopted Kidspiration and Inspiration; there are many resources on the website for teacher support for this software. Inspiration and Kidspiration are effective with visual learners. These applications work well on large-screen displays as well as P.C.'s, and are good for paired and small group activities.

Inspiration now offers a visual data analysis application, InspireData.


“Our mission is to empower educators in their quest to create and support life-long learners, to make education relevant and engaging for the student through creative software.”
I Support Learning provides applications for creative, interactive project-based activities for middle and high school students that integrate the use of technology and build technology skills."

I Support Learning's Personal Experience Curricula



There are some classrooms in that do not use textbooks. Textbooks are provided to students electronically on their PDA's. Some versions of electronic textbooks are interactive and include hypertext links to supplemental information or activities. Students who use Wi-Fi enabled PDA's have access to interactive websites that compliment what they are learning in class.

In most classrooms that use this form for instruction, students often work in pairs and groups. Because PDA's run many of the same applications as do PC's, they can be utilized for frequent monitoring and charting of progress. Here are a few resources:


"Our classroom uses Windows CE and Pocket PC based Personal Digital Assistants (we call them PDA's.) We are running a paperless classroom with the PDA's. All homework and reading assignments are done on the PDA's. We do not use copied ditto sheets or heavy textbooks. All of this is accomplished in a 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts class, not in a math or science classroom."

This is a good example of how a teacher, a "rookie" during the 1998-99 school year, embraced new and effective ways of using technology to meet the needs of a diverse range of learners in the middle school setting for Language Arts instruction. This website has expanded to include a range of resources for educators interested in learning how to implement paperless classrooms. Research in this area can be found through HiCe and related organizations.

HICE: Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education

HiCe provides consultation and resources for schools regarding the use of handheld devices in learning environments. The work of the HiCe project at the University of Michigan has been in place for over a decade.."With PDA's, students can access websites created by their teachers to keep track of assignments and upload or e-mail assignments when completed. Software on PDA's such as calendars and an alarm can help students who have organization problems."

A spin-off of the HiCe project is GOKNOW.

INSPIRATION for handhelds



Moop was developed in Finland and integrated up-to-date SmartPhones into daily learning activities. Some of the activities involved out-door learning experiences.

"Through Moop, a pupil makes observations and saves and manages information in the mobile and network learning platform. The learning environment supports the process of inquiry learning, during which a pupil outlines his or her thoughts on the current topic, collects information and observations from the surroundings and reports the findings in the network-learning environment. Moop project is based on needs of schools and teachers: the traditional learning environment is broadened from classroom to observation in the surroundings"

Mattila, P. & Fordell, T. (2005) MOOP- Using m-learning environment in primary schools. http://www.mlearn.org.za/CD/papers/Mattila.pdf
Mattila, P. (2005) Moop - Mobile Learning Environment as Part of Daily School Work


Quote from the project website:

"…the user group has expanded to encompass people of all ages, from grandparents getting involved in family learning, adults looking to improve their employment prospects, to pregnant teenagers needing health advice and guidance." Website has demos of software and links to references and resources, along with video clips useful for presentations.

The M-Learning website provides extensive resources for m-learning; it is a good place for self-study and for staff development for anyone planning on using m-learning as a strategy. The use of m-learning in education would area that would be good for further research, particularly in the areas of dropout prevention and transition planning.






This company produces interactive whiteboards, which allows educators to bring the touch screen to the wide screen in their classrooms.

Educator's Resources


According to WISC, learning objects are web-based, self-contained chunks of learning, small enough to be embedded in a learning activity, lesson, unit, or course, are flexible, portable, and adaptable, and can be used in multiple learning environments and across disciplines.



MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching

Quotes from users of learning objects:

"Reading something in a book, I may not get the concept. So as I go through it on the screen, I can see how the different things work...for an example , one of the classes I had , that had a CD and a learning object with it, I actually passed the test, got a 100%, because I was able to go over it. The way it was on screen, was completely different than how I had memorized in my head." - Holly Davidson, Student

"You can read everything in a book that you want, but as soon as you see it in a learning object, you really understand it." - Paul Heidger, Student

Like Merlot, WISC provides interactive learning objects geared primarily for higher education. Learning objects incorporated into instruction provide students with multiple paths to gaining knowledge, consistent with the principles of Universal Design for Learning.

"Learning objects are self-directive, so the student can review it over and over" "They grasp it much faster, and they retain in much better." -Instructor.

Note: Very little research regarding the use of learning objects and K-12 populations, including special needs populations, has been conducted.

Apr 11, 2006

Updated 5/20/06 ! Interactive Multimedia Technology for Science and Math


Science/Math Update 5/20/06

The Molecularium website at Rensselaer has links to information about the new Molecularium project.
This description is from the website:

"Our mission is to blend art and science to create unique vehicles to excite, entertain, and educate
children of all ages about science in the world around them. Molecularium™ is the flagship outreach
and informal education effort of Rensselaer’s National Science Foundation funded Nanoscale Science
and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures."


The fields of science and math increasingly rely on technology for scientific visualization, data visualization, and three-dimensional modeling. These technologies can be incorporated into interactive multimedia activities for students, often improving the motivation, learning, and academic engagement of students. This list is a starting point and will be updated periodically.
The following resource is from a recent presentation regarding newer technologies for math and science, including the use of computer graphics, the Tablet PC, and immersive virtual reality for scientific visualization. The pictures are informing. A good overview:

van Dam, A. (2006). Immersive virtual reality in scientific visualization. Presentation: Simon Fraser University.


The Active Worlds Educational Universe is an Active Worlds Universe that uses and explores the educational applications of the Active Worlds Technology. Margaret Corbit, of Cornell University, participated in the Vlearn study regarding virtual worlds for science. Final Report: "Building blocks for virtual worlds."

"For several years, researchers at Cornell University have been using Active Worlds software to help students in science classes around North America translate various science related curriculum into virtual worlds students author, explore, and interact in. By doing so, students must research, actively construct, and thus translate their knowledge of a specific scientific domain (e.g. DNA or Martian exploration) into a virtual simulated experience."


The Concord Consortium is a nonprofit educational research and development organization based in Concord, Massachusetts. We create interactive materials that exploit the power of information technologies. Our primary goal in all our work is digital equity, improving learning opportunities for all students." Concord Consortium offers free software for science and math interactive learning activities; a free software development kit is available for download. Take a look at the Modeling Across the Curriculum page on the Concord Consortium website.


Dimenxian is an engaging, immersive 3-D Algebra 1 game, with multiplayer capabilities. It was developed by Tabula Digita. The game aligns to curriculum standards and would work well in an after-school study skills or tutorial program. Math teachers with an interactive whiteboard might find it useful in grabbing attention when introducing new concepts or for reviewing for exams. You see the Dimenxian trailer request a demo of the game here.


Discovery School is part of the Discovery Channel website. It includes a wealth of information for education, including lesson plans for all grade levels, including science. Many of the online are interactive. Example lesson plan with interactive online activities: Earth and Beyond
Link to United Streaming video


Environmental Detectives is a an interactive simulation developed by the Games to Teach Program at MIT. It is classified as Augmented Reality Simulation. Environmental Detectives allow students to use handheld PDA's with GIS technology to participate in a variety of activities outdoors and is used in environmental education classes.

There is a PowerPoint presentation about Environmental Detectives on the website


National Geographic has a kid's home page . This site has a variety of engaging learning activities, including a virtual rain forest at night, with sound. Information for teachers can be found on the educator's home page.


The PBS Science website contains links to NOVA, Nature, and Scientific American Frontiers. It includes a variety of on-line science activities and resources for students, teachers, and parents. Resources for teachers and parents are available here. For kids: ZoomSci


The River City Project is at the Harvard School of Education.
"This project is studying the extent to which The River City MUVE, a technology - based curricular innovation, developed through "robust-design" strategies is effective in increasing students' educational outcomes across a range of challenging classroom settings." Dr. Chris Dede is the lead researcher for this project. River City on-line videos are available on the website.


"Drawing on the look and feel of computer games, the Wayang Outpost is set in a virtual world representing an orangutan research station in the rainforest of Kalimantan. Students interact with virtual mentor characters based on real female scientists who provide role models for students considering math-intensive fields of study."

The engagement provided by the game format may help draw in at-risk, disengaged teens back into learning. The game support geometry and SAT preparation and was designed to interest girls in math and science.

Publications about Wayang Outpost

Wayang Outpost project at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Wayang Outpost project at the University of Southern California

Update: Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds WebQuest (QuestGarden)

UPDATE 12/25/09

This post is over three years old, and I have not checked the links.  It was created as part of a project for a course I took that focused on on-line communication tools and designing e-Learning experiences, in 2006.  I used this blog for a few months as an on-going resource for participants of a 3-hour workshop that was held at the 2006 annual conference of the National Association of School Psychologists in Anaheim, CA.   At the time, I was also taking "Virtual Reality in Training and Education", and chose to explore the theme of the webquest, games, simulations, and virtual worlds.

Much has happened since I created the webquest.  If you are here because a search led you to this page, do a search of this blog site and I'm sure you will find some interesting links and information!


The Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds WebQuest is posted at Quest Garden. This WebQuest was designed for school psychologists who attended the "Interactive Multimedia Technology: A Tool for Intervention and Prevention" workshops in February or March of 2006.
Feel free to explore the WebQuest if you aren't a school psychologist, but are interested in this topic!

To prepare for this WebQuest, first visit the previous post on this topic. The WebQuest includes a WebQuest journal with links to a variety of interesting websites. Many of the websites are interactive or media-rich. There is a rubric that can be used as a guide during the Webquest. The WebQuest can be modified for staff development and related training activities.

Quia Website Activities for School Psychologists/Workshop Participants:

I have set up a web page at Quia that has links to activities that relate to topics discussed in the workshop. You will find a needs assessment and action plan for school psychologists to complete. You can also find a WebQuest Scavenger Hunt, a shorter version of the quest posted at QuestGarden, with links and questions related to each link, in the form of a quiz. There is a "class roster" under the name of School Psychologists for workshop participants and those interested in participating in on-line learning activities related to the topic of the workshop.


Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds - preparing for the WebQuest activities

WebQuest Information:

For those of you who work in educational settings, the links you will explore during the WebQuest activities will provide you with information about various technologoies that can be harnessed to enhance academic and social engagement . These applications have the potential for improving the outcomes of intervention and prevention efforts in your schools.

During your quests, you will need the following tools:

Getting Started:

If you haven't been reading about interactive multimedia, simulations, games, or virtual worlds in education, keep in mind that technology is rapidly changing. Although the links on the WebQuest are checked periodically, you may encounter broken links that I have not yet discovered.