Dec 29, 2007

Keepon, BeatBot's robot: Potential to promote social behavior in children with autism spectrum and developmental disorders.

The BeatBots project develops rhythmically intelligent robots for research and entertainment. In the video below, the responsive robot, Keepon, dances to the Spoon song, "Don't You Evah".

Keepon was developed by Hideki Kozima and programmed by Marek Michalowski, from Carnegie Melon.

(The video is available to the public under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license.)

According to an article by David Templeton in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"While the videos have proven Keepon's human appeal, the double-bubble yellow fellow's key role is to interact with children. Keepon has shown promise in encouraging social behavior in children with developmental disorders, including autism."

"Keepon's simple appearance makes children comfortable, and its lifelike movement makes it attractive to them," Mr. Michalowski said. "This combination creates an environment in which social interaction is encouraged.""

"While the robot can dance to almost any song, it also can identify visual and other sensory rhythms, helping to prove how rhythm and synchronization in body language are paramount in human interaction. As such, Keepon has schooled roboticists in how to improve human interaction with robots."

An example of Keepon's attentive and emotive actions:

Another example of Keepon's entertainment value - Spoon's "I turn my camera on":

More videos can be found on the BeatBots website.

Dec 26, 2007

My Nokia n800 Internet Tablet!

I recently purchased a Nokia n800 Internet tablet for about $225.00. I'm impressed with all of the features for the price! It works well for making Internet calls via Skype, as it provides an integrated camera/ webcam.

The screen is crisp and easy to read, especially when zoomed in. The screen can be manipulated with a stylus or fingers, and the on-screen keyboard can be enlarged to allow for finger-typing.

Playing around with the device, I can see that it has potential for use in education.
In my opinion, the n800 the potential to support low-cost assisted technology and augmented communication applications.

Screen shot of pictures on flickr.

A few specs:

  • Direct access to shared media over Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) connectivity and Windows network shares
  • Rhapsody Music service client (only available in US)
  • Direct access to Nokia Internet Radio Directory with free internet radio stations available
  • Supported audio formats: AAC, MP3, WMA, AMR, AWB, M4A, MP2, RA (RealAudio), WAV
  • Supported video formats: 3GP, AVI, H.263, H.264, MP4, ASF, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, RV 7/8/9 (RealVideo)
  • Supported playlist formats: M3U, PLS, ASX, WAX, WVX, WPL
  • Desktop applet for internet radio
  • Storage support for memory cards up to 8GB
  • Additional specifications


Nokia nSeries n800

Detailed Review of n800 running OS2008
(Tips, tricks, hacks, and news about Nokia Internet Tablets and related technology.)

Maemo Downloads for the n800

Internet Tablet Talk

Internet Tablet Wiki

The m-Learning potential of the n800

Linux on Board: Developing for the Nokia n800

Dec 10, 2007

Cross Post: Microsoft Research SenseCam

From the Microsoft Research SenseCam Website:

"SenseCam is a wearable digital camera that is designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention, while it is being worn. Unlike a regular digital camera or a cameraphone, SenseCam does not have a viewfinder or a display that can be used to frame photos. Instead, it is fitted with a wide-angle (fish-eye) lens that maximizes its field-of-view. This ensures that nearly everything in the wearer’s view is captured by the camera, which is important because a regular wearable camera would likely produce many uninteresting images."

Technology Review Article

The SenseCam application has the potential to be a resource for people who have developmental delays, traumatic brain injury, severe attention deficits, and autism spectrum disorders. It would be a great tool for special educators, occupational and speech/language therapists, and rehabilitation specialists.

Images from Microsoft Research:

Dec 9, 2007

Seth Sandler's AudioTouch Multi-user Musical Table

Seth Sandler is an undergraduate student finishing a Bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts with an emphasis in Music at the University of Southern California, San Diego.

Seth has been focusing his energies on research and developing a Multi-user, Multi-touch musical interface.

Here is a video of some musical multi-touch applications:

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

I'm pretty sure this will have a place in the music education world.

Seth is a member of the The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. , (Natural User Interface), an interactive media group researching and creating open source machine sensing techniques to benefit artistic and educational applications.

Link to a great post about serious games and virtual reality in business

Elaine Alhadeff's Future-Making Serious Games blog has a wealth of interesting information for people interested in how interactive multimedia technology can impact the present- and the future. Take the time to visit her blog and take a look!

Here is a slice from one of her latest posts:

Via: daytaOhio - Barco and daytaOhio Equipped Collaborative Visualization Complex at Wright State’s Joshi Research Center

"Barco, a leading global provider of visual display systems, has partnered with daytaOhio to implement the industry’s most advanced virtual collaboration and visualization complex at Wright State University’s Joshi Research Center. "

It is exciting to learn about the growth in collaborative visualization! The businessmen below seem to be enjoying the experience:

For more interesting ideas, look at Eliane's archived posts about serious games.

Dec 6, 2007

iSocial: A Virtual Social Space for Youth with ASD, built with Croquet

iSocial is a 3D environment developed to support conversation and positive social skills for young people who have autism spectrum disorders. iSocial is a work in progress, designed by a team of researchers at the University of Missouri.

iSocial runs on Croquet, an open-source 3D SDK/tool designed to build 3D virtual collaborative environments. (EduSim applications also run on Croquet.)

iSocial Video

3D Virtual Learning Environment: Quest Atlantis

Quest Atlantis is an immersive 3-D learning environment for students, developed by researchers at the University of Indiana. For more information and links, read the post on the TechPsych blog.

Dec 5, 2007

Interaction Tomorrow: SIGGRAPH Course Materials On-line

If you are interested in interaction design for the future, take a look at the course notes from Interaction Tomorrow, presented at SIGGRAPH 2007.

Here is the course abstract:

"This course provides a comprehensive overview to user interface technologies on the newly emerging interactive tabletops and large wall displays. The course will cover input devices, interface metaphors, modality of interaction, sensing technologies, applications, and future directions. Materials will be drawn from both commercial systems and research prototypes." The Interaction Tomorrow is a document that contains 172 pages of pictures and text.

The course was organized by Michael Haller, from the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences, and Chia Shen, from the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories. The lecturers included Gerald Morrison, from Smart Technologies, Bruce H. Thomas, from the University of Southern Australia, and Andy Wilson from Microsoft Research.


The course website

This was cross-posted on the Technology Supported Human-World Interaction blog.

Nov 26, 2007

Link to post: How to use FireFox to use internet resources off-line

If you use digital media with students with special needs and you have limited Internet access, you are not alone. Kay, the author of the "Teaching Students with Multiple Special Needs", on a recent post, shares a way to use FireFox to use internet resources online. You can check out my recent TechPsych post on the topic, or access Kay's original post here.

Nov 20, 2007

More touch-screen videos...

Here is an interesting video about TouchTable's $59,000.00 system:

ESRI's ArcGIS running on a TouchTable:

The application supports collaboration. People can interact with one another around a single table, with others at remote tables, and people using laptops and mobile devices out in the field.

Link: ESRI's GIS for K12 Schools

Nov 19, 2007

Interactive information visualization: Digg labs website

I thought I'd share a view examples of information visualization as it relates to on-line news. Stories are grouped in various configurations over time. Click on the images below to see each example in real-time:

Click on the image to link to Newsmap.

" Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Newsmap's objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe."


Click an image to see digg visualizations in action!
"Diggers fall from above and stack up on active stories." If you click on a story, you'll get a pop-up that provides more details about the story, including information over time.

Digger swarm around different categories of stories and make them grow. You can look at popular stories, newly submitted stories, or all activity. Click on a circle, and you'll get more information, and the option to keep or "kill" the story.

"Bigspy: Active stories appear at the top when people digg them. Bigger stories have more diggs..." If you click on a story, you'll link to more information about it from the digg website.

"Stories arrange themselves as users digg them. Larger stories have more diggs." If you click on a story, you'll link to more information about it from the digg wesbsite.

Check back for more examples- and leave a comment if you have others to share.

Related Link:

Article from's Idea Lab, by Rich Gordon, about information visualization and journalist-programmers. "Idea Lab is a group blog by innovators who are reinventing community news for the digital age..."

Nov 17, 2007

About: Programming for interactive multimedia applications- WPF, Silverlight, EduSim, NeuroVR..

Part I Musings: Learning about application development and programming at mid-life:

I thought I'd write on a more personal level this time.

I'm a school psychologist, so in 2003, my motivation for taking computers at mid-life stemmed from my desire to create engaging interactive multimedia games for learning, games that could be played on hand-held devices as well as on the interactive whiteboards that I noticed were inching into my schools.

It was difficult for me to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B.

I shouldn't have been shocked to learn that most introductory programming classes provide instruction, as well as endless lab assignments, that are geared for people who want to make business forms and manipulate business-related data, build e-commerce websites, or create relational databases for... banks!

I now can make a mortgage calculator forms that adjust for various scenarios and provide cute error messages, in beginning Visual Basic.Net, C#, and Java. I can create a database that will let users look up part numbers for all sorts of widgets, in all sorts of combinations, and ensure that client data can be easily accessed in a nice looking form.

Why should I learn all of the old stuff when there are so many new avenues to explore?

Over the past few years, I've been fortunate to take a variety of classes that were not readily available just 8-10 years ago:

Computer/Internet Multimedia. Computer Music Technology. Game Design/Development. AI for Games. Ubiquitous Computing. Web Development Tools. Virtual Reality for Education and Training. These courses have motivated me to learn more about programming. The traditional programming courses had the opposite effect.

Keeping up

I recently attended a day-long code camp at Central Piedmont Community College to learn more about Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Silverlight. WPF and Silverlight provide the foundation for applications that can run on Microsoft's Surface. WPF and Silverlight provide designers and developers with more efficient ways of developing visualization and interactive multimedia applications.

The architecture behind WPF and Silverlight seems to align more with the way people think and envision, which in my opinion, gives hope for those of us who have toyed with the idea of programming, but were frightened off the first time they opened up a traditional programming textbook.

Part III Visualization and Interactive Multimedia

For more information about WPF, Silverlight, design, etc, read Sam Batterman's (a Microsoft Evangalist) recent blog post: Some thoughts about WPF and Data Visualization

Here are some pictures and text that I lifted from Sam's blog that will give you a picture of what I'm talking about:

"Here's an application that one of our partners built in a few weeks - all WPF and actually, not complicated code...getting that heart rendered was probably less than 100 lines of code. This app is used in a hospital for documenting heart surgery procedures. You can draw and annotate the 3D surface, rotate the heart, etc."


Can you imagine how kids would love to manipulate something like this in a science class?! This would be great on an interactive whiteboard or display.

This focuses on user experience, much more so than applications in the past. For more information about designing for user experience, take a look at the link to Bill Buxton's book, "Sketching User Experiences."


Bill Buxton's webiste, "Multi-touch systems that I have known and loved" is a good resource for those of you who'd like to get a better picture of multi-touch systems and interaction.

(I'll write more about WPF and Silverlight after I get my laptop repaired and have a chance to experiment some more.)

Croquet and EduSim

Right now, I've been experimenting with
Croquet, which uses Squeak, and EduSim, which is powered by Croquet, to put together some learning activities for students.The best part is that Croquet is open-source, and all of the EduSim applications are free.

Here are some pictures that link to short video clips from the Greenbush EduSim website:

Neuro VR

Another application that I'm working with is NeuroVR.

NeuroVR is a free virtual environment that was designed for use in clinical settings. If you don't have access to virtual-reality hardware, you can still use NeuroVR on a desktop or large-screen display. Available 3D environments include an office, a supermarket, a park, a classroom, a poolside setting, and a home.

Andrea Gaggioli, Ph.D., is the Chief Technical Officer of the this project. He's also behind the Positive Technology blog, which is a great resource. Andrea is a
researcher working at the intersections of psychology, neuroscience, and emerging technologies.

NeuroVR allows the clinician (or educator) to easily insert pictures, objects, and videoclips into each virtual world. Doors open and close, and you can move items around in the environment. For example, fruit set on a table can be moved over to a counter.

In my opinion, NeuroVR has potential not only in the area of rehabilitation and therapy, but in special education as well, particularly for students who have multiple special needs, including severe autism. A variety of "how-to" videos are posted on DaevornLi's YouTube channel.

Here are some videos clips to give you a better picture of the application:

Nov 13, 2007

Question about games and learning....

Someone recently asked me this question:

"If you look at Sim type games, for example Roller Coaster Tycoon, these are without question games that are filled with lessons and real-world applicable knowledge. Do you think kids go into a game like this knowing they're learning useful skills?"

Read my response on the TechPsych blog.

Any comments?

Nov 12, 2007

Cross Posted on TechPsych: Classroom 2.0 - Social Networking and Resources for Educators

Classroom 2.0 is a good resource for educators who would like to keep up with the fast pace of technology. If you work with digital natives, you know how difficult it can be to keep one step ahead of the game! Classroom 2.0 provides forums, Wikkis, and resources on a variety of topics and the content is maintained by members of the network, which at the last count was at 3998.

From the Classroom 2.0 website

"The social network for educators using collaborative technologies!"

"Welcome to, the social networking site for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education. We especially hope that those who are "beginners" will find this a supportive community and a comfortable place to start being part of the digital dialog. Feel free to explore!"

Nov 11, 2007

Cross Post: Children of the Code

I came across the Children of the Code website today and thought I'd share it- if you are familiar with Children of the Code project, please leave a comment, since I haven't yet explored the entire site.

Childrenof is an on-line multi-media resource that is part of a public/social education project to that aims to spread information and education about "The Code and the Challenge of Learning to Read it"

The project has four main components:
  1. A three hour Public Television, DVD and Web documentary series;
  2. A ten-hour college, university, and professional development DVD series;
  3. A series of teacher and parent presentations and seminars;
  4. A cross-indexed website/database containing audio, video and transcripts with the world's leading experts in fields related to reading.
The website includes over 100 interviews of people from a wide range of disciplines who are committed to promotion of health, education, and well-being of children, youth, and in turn, communities and society.

Here is the project's abstract:

"Abstract: Our children's cognitive and emotional development, self-esteem, academic, and later social and economic success, all depend on how well they learn - on the health of their learning. Whether we are involved in parenting, teaching, cognitive science, psychology, pedagogy, curriculum design, instructional design, direct instruction, constructivism, assessment, multiple intelligences, learning styles, learning differences, learning disabilities, learning theory, learning communities, organizational learning, preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, home school, unschooling, college, university... we all share the responsibility of stewarding the health of our children's learning."

I'd recommend starting with the on-line video tour of the project:

The following is a quote from an interview with David Boulton, the director of the Children of the Code project:

"The mission of the Children of the Code project is to catalyze and resource a transformation in how our society thinks about the "code" of our written language and the "challenges involved in learning to read it.". I think we're living in the "Stone Age of Literacy." Our lack of understanding of what is involved and what is at stake in acquiring literacy is wreaking havoc on the lives of our population, including children"

"..the first think I hope i that it (the project) changes the mental lens through which parents and teachers see struggling learners. I want them to see someone who is struggling as somebody who is struggling with an artificially confusing technology (written language) and somebody who is in significant emotional and cognitive danger.

"What I hope is that people realize that if children and adults struggle too long with the process of acquiring literacy, it can seriously affect how they develop and grow and learn. Struggling to read causes many, many people to grow up feeling ashamed of their mind.."

Links to the list of some of the interviews of "name" researchers and educators are posted on the TechPsych blog, or you can visit the site's interview list.

Nov 4, 2007

Virtual Field Trips and Interactive Web Quests

I'm compiling a new list of interactive multimedia resources suitable for virtual field trips and web quests. Here are a few I've recently found:

The Virtual Human Project: University of Michigan

The Virtual Human Project has been around for quite some time. What's new? A variety of browsers have been developed that allow for viewing high-resolution images. Take a look at this video demonstration:

Virtual Dissections, Labs, and Field Trips

The Cell Visualization Project

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Museum Web Activities (Funded by the National Science Foundation)

Web Adventure

CSI: The Experience's Educational Outreach: Multimedia Games, Experiments and Simulated Environments

I recently came across the website when I was searching for interactive learning games suitable for use on interactive whiteboards or large touch-screen displays.

For those of you who follow my blog, you'll know that I periodically look for engaging visual and multimedia activities that have potential for use in classrooms where Universal Design for Learning is practiced. Visual and multimedia forms of knowledge representation can help to reach a wide range of people, including those who have reading difficulties, language-based learning disabilities, auditory attention and memory deficits, or have autism spectrum disorders (Asperger syndrome, autism, etc.).

If you are an educator who is interested in using games in your classroom, the resources from are a good start, since background information is provided for each game.

Direct links to the games and information pages are listed below.

Info from the website:

" has a unique way of introducing the Nobel Prize that goes beyond the mere presentation of facts. These introductions, aptly called 'educational', are made in the form of games, experiments, and simulated environments ready to be explored and discovered. The productions are aimed at the young, particularly the 14-18 age groups, who may know about the Nobel Prizes and the Nobel Laureates, but often lack a deeper understanding about the Nobel Prize-awarded works."

"These educational productions do not require previous knowledge. A central thought or issue is explored during 10-20 minutes of activity, using a specific Nobel Prize-awarded work as a springboard for the whole exercise."

"The productions offer an excellent way of using the Internet for homework, or just plain, wholesome entertainment. The high level of interactivity and the sophisticated illustrations ensure an enriching time spent in front of the computer."

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Heating Plastics Game
Background Information and Directions

What is Chirality?
Background Information and Directions

Conductive Polymers- Conductive Valley Game
Background Information and Directions

Nobel Prize in Medicine

The Blood Typing Game
Background Information and Directions

The Ear Pages
Background Information and Directions:

The Immune System Defender Game
Background Information and Directions

Nobel Prize in Physics

The Metal Chef Show Game:
Background Information and Directions

Laser Challenge Game:
Background Information and Directions

The Recycler Game: Learn about Transistors
Background Information and Directions

Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences

Trade Ruler Game
Background Information and Directions

Nobel Peace Prize

The Peace Dove Game:
Background Information and Directions

The Red Cross Movement: Prisoners of War Game
Background Information and Directions

Interactive Conflict Map
Background Information and Directions

Nobel Prize in Literature

Lord of the Flies Game
Background Information and Directions

Nov 3, 2007

My Mind is a Web Browser: Temple Grandin's description of visual thinking

Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports From My Life With Autism (Vintage Books) 1996, has a website where she's posted interesting accounts of the way she thinks and perceives the world. As a school psychologist, many of the students I've worked with are visual learners and seem to think and perceive the world in a similar manner. For people who are auditory-verbal thinkers and would like to learn more about visual thinking, the article is a good start.

Oct 28, 2007

Link to video: Microsoft Research UK's multi-touch research team

"I think that the sort of grander vision is that 5 years to 10 years down the line, there will be lots of new displays and display technologies, and displays will become more ubiquitous and cheaper. What we're trying to do is actually explore what the interaction techniques might be on these displays, because not all of them will be connected to mice and keyboards." -Shahram Izadi, Microsoft Research UK

Direct link to the wmv file

"Inside MultiTouch: Team, Demo, Lab Tour"

Take a look at a post on the MSDN Channel 9 website about an interview of members of Microsoft Research UK's multi-touch team. The researchers on the video are Shahram Izadi, Alex Butler, and Steve Hodges. The video contains some interesting demos. This team's approach to multi-touch is different than approach taken by the Microsoft Surface team. This video is well worth the 30 minutes!

This technology would be great for interactive educational games and 3-D applications. Microsoft has plans for this technology to be used in the home and for shared applications.

Oct 21, 2007

Updated MegaPost-Resources For All: Interactive Multimedia and Universal Design for Learning

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 incorporates concepts such as differentiated instruction, visual and media learning, and providing a climate of academic engagement through the use of digital media technology and strategies such as collaborative project-based learning.

The concepts behind Universal Design for Learning fit with Response to Intervention (RTI), universal prevention/intervention, and team-based instructional consultation/ problem-solving. For those who are considering this approach, plan on spending time exploring this Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) website.

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


Karen Janowski's Site: Free Technology Toolkit for Universal Design for Learning

RadTeach is the website of Dr. Judy Willis, a neurologist and middle school teacher.

"Enthusiasm is generated when children are presented with novelty and find creative ways to explore or connect with the new material and are inspired by it. Whenever you can generate this awe and sense of wonder, your children will be pulled into the school lessons they bring home and they will be motivated to connect with the information in a meaningful way." - Judy Willis
Brain-Friendly Strategies for the Inclusion Classroom published May 2007 ASCD

Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist/Classroom Teacher published August 2006 ASCD

Misunderstood Minds is the companion site PBS documentary about learning differences and disabilities. The site provides information and activities that are good for self-study or professional development. Take a look at "Listening to Instructions" a simulation of what it is like to be a first grade student trying to follow directions and concentrate to complete a task, and "Attention", a video clip of Dr. Mel Levine interviewing a boy about his attention difficulties. Take a look at the Misunderstood Minds Resources and Links Page for more information.

Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs
This blog has extensive links and resources on a variety of topics related to special needs.

PowerPoint presentation by
George Sugai's at the UDL Institute. "An introduction to the defining features of School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports within the context of Universal Design for Learning."


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.

Bill MacKenty's "How-To" educational technology web-page
FlickSchool: Quick "how-to" videos about digital media production for teens-and teachers of teens
How To: Use Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom
Post: Visual Learning Lab Supports Effective Teaching and Learning
Bill MacKenty's Games and Learning Resources


National Gallery of Art Kids
PBS Kids
National Geographic Kids
Discovery Kids
Music Tech Teacher (Includes online games and music learning activities)
Flash Music Games

(some games cam be downloaded)
Exploratorium On-line Microscope Imaging Station
Online interactive whiteboard activities for primary classrooms (from Topmarks Education, UK)
SmartTechnologies lesson activities for the SmartBoard

StarFall is website full of free interactive content designed to support early reading for children who are reading at the K-2 level. The site offers games, music, animation, and video-based activities, plus support for educators and parents. From the website:

"Our scientific, research-based reading materials and activities are modeled on the "Big Five" focus areas recommended by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension...Starfall employs the computer to develop feelings of wonderment and play, not rote assessment. The activities, songs and books complement your classroom by creating an atmosphere of fun and enthusiasm that infuses all aspects of learning. Our online and printed activities use positive reinforcement to guide children in making correct responses."

The Moleculareum Project, created by a team from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:

"The Molecularium Project is committed to promote science literacy and awareness for audiences of all ages..
Zoom into the molecular level, build molecules from atoms, and explore states of matter in the Nanolab of our interactive Kid’s Site. The experiments, activities and songs included in our Teacher's Resource Guide are free and fun for your home, classroom or museum."


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. They are stored in on-line repositories for use and re-use to teach a variety of concepts. Merlot and WISC provide 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.

WISC Online Learning Objects

MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching

Quotes from users of learning objects:

"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.

"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

Links to Lynn's related blog posts:

Interactive multimedia for social skills, understanding feelings, relaxation and coping strategies, etc.
Interactive literacy applications and on-line resources

ExploreLearning Gizmos, Interactive Displays, Revisited
(Interactive math and science)
Online Switch-Accessible Games on the BBC Website


The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning, edited by Richard E. Mayer, provides a good framework to support the importance of learning and interacting with multimedia
Visual Literacy and Multimedia Literacy Quotes - Odds and Ends PART ONE
Visual and Multimedia Literacy Quotes-Part Two

Engaged Learning?


Webcast Video: Technology and Games in Education from the Orange County Educational Technology Department


Interactive whiteboards increase student attention, engagement, participation, and test scores!
(This post contains links to lessons and resources for interactive white-boards and displays.)

Excerpt from the above post:
According to a press release from Smart Technologies, a study conducted in the UK and Europe during the years 2002-2006 found positive results regarding the use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom:

"The following outcomes were among its key findings: interactive whiteboard use results in improved student performance in national tests in English, math and science, compared to student performance without interactive whiteboards; digital content on interactive whiteboards is engaging, motivating, and students pay more attention during lessons; and interactive whiteboard use encourages greater student participation in the classroom."

There are several types of interactive large-screen displays available for use in educational settings, and there are several companies working on large touch-screen displays that could be adapted for use in schools, media centers, and public libraries.

The following is a partial list of companies that make or sell interactive displays and/or whiteboards:

Hitachi Starboard

Resources for Interactive Whiteboards and Displays

Online interactive whiteboard activities for primary classrooms (from Topmarks Education, UK)
SmartTechnologies lesson activities for the SmartBoard
Link to Post: EduSim and Croquet: 3D Collaboration Applications
EduSim 3D
Greenbush EduSim
Panorama Archive: Full-screen panoramas from around the world.
"Our software takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and displays them in a reconstructed three-dimensional space.

With Photosynth you can:

  • Walk or fly through a scene to see photos from any angle.
  • Seamlessly zoom in or out of a photo whether it's megapixels or gigapixels in size.
  • See where pictures were taken in relation to one another.
  • Find similar photos to the one you're currently viewing.
  • Send a collection - or a particular view of one - to a friend."
Virtual Earth is like Google Earth. It works with PhotoSynth.

Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings, or look up to explore the sky"

P3D -The P3D website has good demonstrations of 3D content.
"P3D is a software company focused on virtual reality in education and offers a constantly updated stat-of-the-art technology as an outstanding tool in a classroom environment. The products developed by P3D enable higher interactivity, enhancing student's learning capacity through tri-dimensional images and virtual reality."

Related Information:
Education World article "Speaking of Electronic Whiteboards?"
Large Display Research Overview from Microsoft Research (PDF)
Also see the previous section about lessons, activities, and websites with interactive content.



Inspiration and Kidspiration are applications that support visual learning:

"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 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 hand-held devices. Activities using Inspiration and Kidspiration 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:


Immersive Education

Immersive Education software educational software company. According to information on the website, the software applications..

  • encourage creative learning
  • adapt to individual teaching styles
  • allow for individual learning preferences
  • inspire innovation and creativity in the classroom.

"We believe pupils learn best when education is fun - our products are enjoyable to use and encourage learning through exploration."

Links to information about Immersive Education's applications:

Tabula Digita

DimensionM, an interactive multi-player game for algebra.


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



A create-a-scape, otherwise known as a mediascape, is..." composed of sounds, images and video placed outside in your local area. To see the images and video, and hear the sounds you need a handheld computer (PDA) and a pair of headphones. An optional GPS unit can automatically trigger the images, video and sounds in the right places."

"To create a mediascape, you start with a digital map of your local area. Using special, free software, you can attach digital sounds, pictures and video to places that you choose on the map.By going outside into the area the map covers, you can experience the mediascape. Using the handheld computer and headphones, you can hear the sounds and see the pictures and video in the places the author of the mediascape has put them. All sorts of exciting things can happen as you explore the mediascape."

Quick Demo: How to Make a MediaScape
Create-a-Scape Teacher Resource Site


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.
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."

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. You'll find
demos of software and links to references and resources, along with video clips useful for presentations.




Mega-List of Resources and References: Technology, Psychology, Intervention & Prevention
Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century"
, a 72-page white paper by Henry Jenkins, from MIT.
FutureLab's 2006 Teaching With Games Report

John Kirriemuir's blog about games and learning