Oct 22, 2013

Kinetic Infovis: Dance vs Powerpoint - Dance Your (Science) Ph.D.

Why NOT use dance to convey information and data?

John Bohannon's TED Talk, "Dance vs. Powerpoint"  explains how dance can demonstrate scientific principles, and more.  John is a scientist and writer who runs the annual Dance Your Ph.D. contest.   In the following video he walks the talk as dancers dance the point.    


Dance Your Ph.D. 2012 Videos

Dance Your Ph.D. 2011 Videos

Dance Your Ph.D. Tips and Tricks

Dance Your Ph.D. 2013 Website FAQs

The Science Dance Match-Up Challenge
John Bohannon, Science, 4/17/09

Thesis Twist:  Dancing Your Ph.D. 
Robert Lee Hotz, Wall Street Journal, 9/23/13

Folk Dance Your Algorithms!
Lynn Marentette, ITM blog, 4/14/11

Oct 13, 2013

UPDATE: NUITEQ's Snowflake ABC has been updated, improved, and retitled-- Snowflake MultiTeach®

August 24, 2016 Update

This post was originally published on October 13, 2013, and focused on Snowflake ABC, a software suite of entertaining educational apps developed by NUITEQ®.

Fast forward to 2016, and you'll see many great improvements have been made by the NUITEQ® team.  Along with the changes came a new name, Snowflake MultiTeach®

Snowflake MultiTeach® was designed for multi-touch, multi-user displays and tables, but can be used on single-touch displays or traditional computers/laptops with a mouse. It works well for "front-of-class" presentations and has many features that support collaborative group work.

So what is new?

The Lessons app was added to the suite of applications, along with Nodes, a concept-mapping and presentation application that supports project and problem based learning, STEM, and STEAM.

The Lessons app is a powerful addition to Snowflake MultiTeach®.  Within this app,  teachers (and students) can build a variety of interactive, engaging lessons, learning games, and quizzes, with little effort. 

Snowflake MultiTeach® can support several lessons and apps running at the same time, using the Zones feature, which makes it ideal for students working in pairs or small groups.

To compliment the Lessons app, the online MultiTeach® Lessons Community  was developed to provide a way for teachers to share lessons they've created.  The lessons posted on the MultiTeach® Lessons Community can be accessed from within the Lessons home screen.  Lessons can be searched by subject and level and imported directly into the Lessons home screen.  

Lessons created with Snowflake MultiTeach® can be exported directly from the Lessons home screen to the MultiTeach® Lessons Community so they can be shared with others. Snowflake MultiTeach® and sign-up to the MultiTeach® Lessons Community is required for access.

To support teachers as they make the transition from single-touch whiteboards to multi-user displays, the MultiTeach® Pinterest site was created.  There you can find curated and regularly updated information about how to use Snowflake MultiTeach®, 21st century teaching and learning, free digital resources for the classroom, and much more.

For information about how teachers can integrate Snowflake MultiTeach® into their classrooms, take some time to read the following blog posts. Share with your peers!

Infuse Arts into STEM Projects Using Collaborative Touch Screen Technology

Collaborative STEM Education and Careers Exploration

How to MultiTeach®: Introduction to Snowflake MultiTeach® Nodes App

Differentiated instruction through Snowflake MultiTeach®

Like what you see?

If you are interested in replacing your current single-touch interactive whiteboard with a multi-touch display, contact a representative from NUITEQ® by following the email link on the website, and you will be connected to someone in your region who can assist you. 

Here is the old post for reference.  

FYI: Most of the ABC apps shown below can be found within the current version of Snowflake MultiTeach®.

NUITEQ is a multi-touch & gesture tech company based in Sweden focused on collaborative natural user interfaces and interaction. Instead of using a traditional mouse and keyboard, NUITEQ's products support the effective use of fingers and hands to interact and explore digital content. I've been following this company since it was launched by Harry van der Veen in 2007 and have been happy to share NUITEQ's updates on this blog over the years.

NUITEQ's products can be found in public spaces, such as museums, retail centers, and transportation hubs,  at special events, such as trade shows and exhibitions, in collaborative work settings, such as board rooms and design studios, and in educational settings.   

One of the latest innovations from NUITEQ is Snowflake ABC, multi-touch software for children and teens. It runs on a range of multi-touch hardware surfaces, including Lenovo, 3M Touch Systems,  Zytronic, Flatfrog, PQ Labs, Touch International, Lumio, and others.  

Multitouch software Snowflake ABC for kids (K-12) from multitouch software on Vimeo.

In my opinion, Snowflake ABC would be great for use in homes, libraries, and classrooms. Although the video shows children using the software on large displays and tables, it works well on smaller 27-inch touch screens, preferably those that support multi-touch interaction. A free trial version is available.  For parents considering purchasing a home computer, the Lenovo IdeaCenter A520 and other multi-touch "all-in-ones" come loaded with a variety of Snowflake apps.

Below is a screen shot various Snowflake ABC educational apps, from the Snowflake Suite website.

Credit: NUITEQ

Multi-touch software Snowflake ABC 1.3 for kids released (K-13) - Now with 18 languages out of the box!  NUITEQ Blog, 9/26/13
Snowflake ABC Brochure (pdf)
NUITEQ Signs OEM Agreement with Lenovo for its Multitouch Software Platform Snowflake Suite PRWEB, 8/31/12
Review:  Lenova IdeaCentre A520
Jason Palaszewski, 8/22/13, Lenovo Blog

Snowflake Interactive Display at Skellefteå Airport (Snowflake Suite)

Oct 2, 2013

LUMO, by PO-Motion: Projection system for children that transforms kid's designs into interactive creations (Kickstarter)

I'd like to give a shout-out to Meghan Athavale, Curtis Wachs and the other interactive minds at PO-MO for their Kickstarter project.  LUMO is an interactive system that allows any room - not just a kid's room - to be transformed into an environment that encourages play, interaction, and creativity.

From what I know about PO-MO-s other creative projects, LUMO is deserving of financial backing. Although this is the company's first venture into a hardware solution, it looks promising.  If it can be produced on a larger scale, children - as well as kids at heart - will have a new opportunity use technology to create interactive mixed reality play-scapes, right in their homes.

Watch the video, and then head over to LUMO on Kickstarter and make your pledge!

"LUMO turns a kid's room into an interactive playground, encouraging movement and imaginative play in children of any age."

Screen shot of the creation tools for children to use when creating their LUMO interactive effects:

Credit: PO-MO


The following information was taken from the Kickstarter website:

PO-MO Inc. creates interactive experiences for museums, retail environments and events.
They also offer SaaS platform Po-motion.com, a website which enables people all over the world to create their own interactive floor and wall installations.
In 2010, Meghan Athavale and her business partner Curtis Wachs decided to quit their day jobs and design interactive experiences for a living. They launched PO-MO Inc. in July 2010. Within a few months, Keith Otto and Matt Gillies joined PO-MO. Meghan and the PO-MO team launched Po-motion interactive floor and wall projection software as a beta in early 2011. In 2012, the full version of Po-motion was launched and Meghan won many awards at investment pitch contests, was one of 12 people chosen to participate in Tech Women Canada in Silicon Valley, and closed the year with an amazing advisory board, another member of the team (Joss Le Leannec) and a profitable, global company.
Meghan Athavale (CEO) and partner Curtis Wachs (CTO), along with Matt Gillies, Keith Otto, Jocelyne Le Leannec and Dave Kelly spend their days making, playing with, and dreaming of interactive surfaces.
PO-MO Website
PO-MO interactive effects for special events and parties:
PO-MO Inc. interactive visuals for parties from PO-MO Inc. on Vimeo.

Oct 1, 2013

Learning to Teach through Mixed Reality: UCF's TeachLivE

Imagine this.  A mixed-reality environment designed to provide pre-service student teachers and teachers looking to improve their skills a chance to try out new strategies, without messing up with real kids!   TLE TeachLiveEwas developed by researchers at the Synthetic Reality Lab located at the Institute for Simulation & Training at the University of Central Florida. It  looks like a great training tool for young college students who are planning to take on the challenge of a career in education.  

With modifications, the TeachLivE system looks like it would be a good tool for building skills of principals-in-training, as well as others who plan to work in the schools, such as  future school psychologists, school nurses, and school resource officers.

Below is a description of the system from the TeachLivE website, along with some videos and related links. 

(Be sure to watch the video of MILES, near the end of this post. MILES is a similar application designed to support the training of social workers and therapists, and features that could be used to enhance the TeachLiveE system.)

"TLE TeachLivE™ is a mixed-reality classroom with simulated students that provides teachers the opportunity to develop their pedagogical practice in a safe environment that doesn’t place real students at risk. This lab is currently the only one in the country using a mixed reality environment to prepare or retrain pre-service and in-service teachers. The use of TLE TeachLivE™ Lab has also been instrumental in developing transition skills for students with significant disabilities, providing immediate feedback through bug-in-ear technology to pre-service teachers, developing discreet trial skills in pre-service and in-service teachers, and preparing teachers in the use of STEM-related instructional strategies." -TeachLivE 

Virtual Reality Classroom Trains Teacher

"There is a child with ADHD, there is a child who is going to take out their cell phone, and do something with his cell phone right there for our pre-service teacher, if our preservice teacher is not paying attention to that child.  So what they've tried to do is actually program different types of children into each simulated avatar." -Dr. David Rock, Dean, School of Education, University of Mississippi. 

A good overview of the use of virtual worlds and environments for learning.At 7:44, Stephen Bronack, of Learn NC, provides an overview of TeachLivE at TEDX Greenville. TeachLivE is in place at Clemson University in S.C.

MILES: Motivation Interviewing Learning Environment and Simulation (MILES) was created by researchers at the USC Institute of Creative Technologies and uses the power of a game engine to create the main character.  MILES is used at the USC School of Social Work to help future therapist develop their therapist/client interactive skills to provide treatment for service members, veterans, or family members of people impacted by the military, and is used by group of students in social work graduate courses in a way that tracks learning progress and informs classroom discussion.

TeachLivE Website
TeachLivE program at UCF attracts interest from Sesame Street Creators
Amanda Palmiera, Central Florida Future, 7/21/13
My World Has Been Rocked: Educator reviews 'TeachLive', a virtual teaching environment
Brian Greenberg, edSurge 6/24/13
UM Uses Student Avatars for Teacher Training
Andrew Mark Abernathy, Ole Miss News 3/18/13
SLU using avatars, virtual classrooms as teaching tools
The Times-Picayune, 4/9/13

TeachLivE publications:
Elford, M., Carter, R., & Aronin, S. (2013). Virtual reality check: Teachers use bug-in-ear coaching to practice feedback techniques with student avatars. JSD34(1), 40–43.

Hayes, A. T., Straub, C. L., Dieker, L. A., Hughes, C. E., & Hynes, M. C. (2013). Ludic Learning: Exploration of TLE TeachLivETM and Effective Teacher Training. Int. J. Gaming Comput. Mediat. Simul., 5(2), 20-33. doi: 10.4018/jgcms.2013040102

Andreasen, J. B. & Haciomeroglu, E. S. (2009). Teacher training in virtual environments. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Atlanta, GA. 

USC Develops Virtual Tool to Train Child Interviewers
Evy Jacobson, USC Gould School Of Law, 5/14/13
Emergent Leader Immersive Training Environment
USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Blend My Learning 
NewSchools Venture Fund