Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Opening Doors For Young Adults with Disabilities: Student with intellectual disabilities wins college dorm suit - via NPR Morning Edition; Opportunities for college for students with cognitive disabilities

Research in the field of neuroscience and education related to developmental disabilities has been exploding over the past few years.  The general public, including parents and special educators, may not be aware of some of this myth-busting research, as decisions related to this research impacts the future of young people with disabilities as well as the future of our communities, educational institutions, and the workplace.

Today's NPR's Morning Edition featured a story about the changing expectations for young people with intellectual disabilities and the efforts of a young man to level the playing field at Oakland University in Michigan.  The young man was enrolled in a special college program for students with disabilities.

"Like many kids with intellectual disabilities these days, Micah Fialka-Feldman went to his neighborhood high school in Michigan and graduated. Then he wanted to try college. Nearby Oakland University is one of many schools and community colleges that are setting up programs for students with intellectual disabilities. But it wouldn't let Fialka-Feldman live on campus so he sued, and a judge has ruled that he was discriminated against." For more details, listen to the audio version on the NPR website.


For many years, community colleges and universities have offered some support for students who received additional support during their K-12 years for attention deficits, reading disabilities, hearing and vision impairments, and so forth. More recently, some institutes of higher education have open their doors to provide education for young adults with intellectual disabilities as well as those with communication and learning difficulties related to autism spectrum disorders, a population that is rapidly growing.

Colleges and universities are fairly new at the art and science of supporting students with disabilities, but things are changing, especially since word is getting out that the human brain continues developing well past the age of high school graduation. It does not surprise me to learn that young adults who required a higher level of special education services in high school can learn much more, and at an abstract level, as they approach their mid-twenties. Although they might not have the intellectual capacity to understand algebra at age 14, some might at age 22!

Transition Planning Resources
Full Text (pdf)
"This law contains a number of important new provisions that will improve access to postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities. Of particular note are several provisions that address financial aid and create a new model demonstration program and coordinating center for students with intellectual disabilities."

The term “comprehensive transition and postsecondary program for students with intellectual disabilities” means a degree, certificate, or non-degree program that is
  • offered by an institution of higher education;
  • designed to support students with [intellectual disabilities] who are seeking to continue academic, career and technical, and independent living instruction at an IHE in order to prepare for gainful employment;
  • includes an advising and curriculum structure; and
  • requires students with intellectual disabilities to participate on not less than a half-time basis, as determined by the institution, with such participation focusing on academic components.
The term “student with an intellectual disability” means a student:
  • with mental retardation or a cognitive impairment, characterized by significant limitations in intellectual and cognitive functioning; and adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills; and
  • who is currently, or was formerly, eligible for a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

NLTS2 (National Longitudinal Transition Study-2)
A key point: "Youth who left school without finishing were more likely to have been involved with the criminal justice system, including being stopped by police other than for a traffic violation (73 percent vs. 48 percent), arrested (49 percent vs. 22 percent), and put in jail overnight (33 percent vs. 11 percent)."
HEATH: Online clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities
AHEAD:  Association on Higher Education and Disability
Michael Gordon, Ed. Accommodations in Higher Education under the Americans with Disabilities Act: A No-Nonsense Guide for Clinicians, Educators, Administrators, and Lawyers

College Living Experience (Post secondary programs for students with special needs)
College of Charleston L.I.F.E. (Learning Is For Everyone)
REACH: University of Iowa Program for students with learning and cognitive disabilities
If you are tutoring or teaching math/algebra to a young adult with disabilities, here are some resources:

Jimenez, Bree A.; Browder, Diane M.; Courtade, Ginervra R. Teaching an Algebraic Equation to High School Students with Moderate Developmental Disabilities Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, v43, n2 p266-274 Jun 2008
Katherine Trela, Bree Jimenz, Dian M. Browder: Teaching to the Standards: A Literacy-Based Approach for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

2009 UNC Charlotte Curriculum Summit Materials

High School Task Analysis Math Story-Based Lessons (pdf)
Math Conceptual Model Brochure
Trela, K., Browder, D., Pugalee, D., Spooner, F., & Knight, V., (2008). A conceptual model for math for students with significant cognitive disabilities. [Brochure]. Retrieved date, from UNC Charlotte, Department of Special Education and Child Development, General Curriculum Access Projects: http://education.uncc.edu/access/

Teaching to Standards MATH  (Covers geometry, algebra, data analysis, and measurement; outgrowth of the research of Diane Browder and her colleagues at UNC-Charlotte)
Teaching to Standards MathWork (sample workbook materials) (pdf)
Teaching to Standards MATH Implementation Guide

Quadratic Equation Math Rubric
Interactive Applications and Games
DimensionM is a 3D immersive game that aligns with many algebra content standards across the U.S.   It is multi-player enabled.  If you have access to a large-screen monitor, it is helpful to model the concepts in the game along with the student(s) to introduce, review, and reinforce the concepts.  Non-disabled students, with guidance, can also use this game for peer tutoring sessions.   The software provides automatic progress tracking for students.   
For more information:  
DimensionM - How It Works 
DimensionM Game Room Creation Option (Video explains how this can customization of the student's experience playing DimensionM according to level, topic, and skills, in order for students of varying abilities to compete/cooperate with each other.)  
Students and teachers happy about DimensionM

-DimensionU YouTube Channel

UPDATE:  A reader left a comment with a link to an article regarding the effectiveness of Tabula Digita's math games in improving the math achievement among students with disabilities:

Georgia Math Project Adds Tabula Digita's DimensionM Educational Video Games to Increase Math Achievement for Students with Disabilities Business Wire, December 7, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Open Source Assistive Technology: eViacam Head Mouse (control your computer with your head or even with your finger in the air)

I just downloaded and tried eViacam, an open-source head mouse software, and found it to work accurately and smoothly.  I used the software on my HP TouchSmart PC, which has an embedded video camera.  eViacam also works with USB webcams.  You can download eViacam from Sourceforge. It is released under the GNU/GPL license.

Although this software is very useful for people with disabilities such as cerebral palsy and ALS, it looks like it could be useful for anyone.  For example, the software can track your finger as you move it in the air, and it comes with an on-screen keyboard that you can turn on or off.

By the way, one of the videos I watched on YouTube was of someone playing a game with this system. I'd like to know what games it could support!

How to Control Your Mouse with Your Head (Face) Or Your Finger

mobilephone2003 (Duncan Maile)


eViacam's future most likely will depend on donations, as this software was developed to enhance the lives of people with disabilities.  You can donate to eViacam using PayPal.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Watch students play with physics on the SMARTboard using Algodoo running on an Intel Classmate PC with a built-in accelerometer

Teachers are always looking for engaging learning activities that compliment the lessons that they teach.  Algodoo was developed by Algorx Simulation, and is a spin-off of a graduate project of Emil Ernerfeldt when he was a student at originally Umea University. Algodoo provides a means for teachers and students to explore physics concepts in a fun and meaningful way.  (The original version of Algodoo was called Phun.)

Algodoo it is great for use on an interactive whiteboard.  Watch the delight in the faces of the children as they interact with Algodoo's activities!

From Enerfeldt's YouTube site:

"In this video we use Algodoo in a small classroom setting with an interactive drawing board (SMART board), and a variety of computers. The tablet netbook is an Intel classmate PC with a built in accelerometer"

Screen shots of user contributions:
screenshot of the scenescreenshot of the scenescreenshot of the scenescreenshot of the scenescreenshot of the scene


My hunch is that the children will have a deeper understanding of physics concepts when they have the opportunity to experiment with real materials AND interactive simulations such as Algodoo.


Algodoo Website

About Algodoo

Algodoo Tutorial Videos

Algodoo Lessons

Algodoo/Phun Theme Music Track (mp.3)   The music is relaxing!

"Five Rules" for Engaging and Meaningful PowerPoint Presentations, Featuring PPT 2010 Beta

I came across the video of the following "5 Rules" presentation on Long Zheng's "I Started Something" blog. This presentation created by Duarte, a company that focuses on visual stories and corporate branding.  The presentation can be found embedded in the public beta version of Microsoft Office 2010 Microsoft Office 2010.  The new version of PowerPoint features a DirectX-powered graphics engine, which supports smooth animations.

The concepts shared in the presentation are useful for students, teachers, and anyone else who has the challenge of creating an engaging and meaningful presentation. At the end of the video, the last slides provide more specific "how-to" information regarding the nuts and bolts of putting together a quality presentation.   You'll probably need to view the presentation Office 2010 Beta in the PowerPoint format if you have the urge to dig deeper. You can find it in the Sample Templates section.

Duarte's Five Rules for Creating World-Changing Presentations

Office Powerpoint 2010 "Five Rules" sample presentation from Long Zheng on Vimeo.

Duarte Blog

Duarte's Five Rules for Creating World-Changing Presentations

(Cross-posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Blogging School Psychologists: Update!

School Psychologists' Blogs

"I loved school when I was little.  I loved it so much I played "school" on the weekends. I work with kids who hate school.  This is my blog."   The author of this blog is Dr. Rebecca (Bell) Branstetter, who lives in San Francisco, California.  She is a Clinical Psychologist and Licensed Educational Psychologist, and specializes in assessment, therapy, and coaching with school aged youth and young adults. She has a great sense of humor!

Christine Eagan, School Psychologist
Christine Eagan is a school psychologist in the Newport News Public Schools. Her areas of professional interest include cognitive-behavioral therapy, interventions with at-risk youth, neuropsychology, and play therapy.

Lianro, the author of the blog,  is a school psychologist who works for a large school district. She is involved with RTI - Response to Intervention, and documents how the RTI is changing the role of the school psychologist. Lianro has a sister with special needs who was part of her inspiration to go pursue her career choice.  She enjoys exploring technology, among other things. 

School Psychology Blog and Podcast with Dr. Gaston Weisz
Podcast Link
Dr. Weisz focuses his blog and podcast discussions around school psychology, education, special education, parenting, child development, teaching practices and staff development. If you visit his blog, take a look at his great list of links!

Assessment and Intervention in School Psychology
"Attempting to Navigate Between Science, Non-Science, and Nonsense in Order to Enhance Student Outcomes" Ryan McGill, the author of this blog, is an intern school psychologist in a large public school district in Southern California and is completing his Ph.D.  His research interests include instructional reform, data based decision making, and assessment/measurement issues. He is a certified school suicide prevention specialist.

School Psychologist Blog Files
Erin N. King, the author of this blog, focuses her posts on topics for parents of students who are in special education.  Erin works in a school district and is knowledgeable about special education laws, disabilities, assessment, and promoting educational and emotional growth in children.  She also hosts the LD Help Online Forum.

Cool School Psychologist
The author of this blog works as a school psychologist in a large midwestern city. . She started blogging in 2006, when she was a practicum student. "A potpourri mish-mash of posts, sometimes boring, sometimes funny, sometimes just posts about nothing, or something, or posts about everything, yada yada. Whatever. There ya go. Amen."

Brian S. Friedlander's Assistive Technology Blog
"Dr. Friedlander is a school psychologist with expertise in the area of assistive technology. Dr. Friedlander has a passion for using all kinds of technology in his professional work. He is very interested in the use of mind mapping, project management and Web 2.0 technologies. Dr. Friedlander readily applies these technologies in the graduate courses that he teaches at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, N.J. Dr. Friedlander consults to many school districts and business organizations in N.J. and is available for workshops, training and presentations."   Brian has lots of interesting posts about technology beyond assistive technology.

The Black Briefcase: The Blog of the Life of a School Psychologist
"True tales from a school psychologist, an ongoing monologue about the state of education and what is really happening inside our schools"   "I'm just an ordinary school psychologist with an extraordinary sense of humor. At least that's what I tell myself."

"Intelligent Insights on Intelligence Theories" Kevin McGrew, the author of this blog, is the research director of the Woodcock-Munoz foundation, a private non-profit operating foundation that supports the advancement of contemporary cognitive assessments.  He was involved in the standardization of the Woodcock-Johnson R and WJ-III, and is a visiting professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He also is the director of the Institute for Applied Psychometrics.   Kevin's other blog is Tic Toc Talk: The IQ Brain Clock"An attempt to track the "pulse" of contemporary research and theory regarding the psychology/neuroscience of brain-based mental/interval time keeping. In addition, the relevance of neuroscience research to learning/education will also be covered."

"This blog is an attempt to detail the working life of an average school psychologist. My hope is to provide a view of the field for people that are unfamiliar with school psychology or are thinking of entering the field.  Due to confidentiality, many student issues will be left particularly vague."

This blog is written by Shari, who blogs about motherhood. "I'm a school psychologist learning the ropes about being a new mom.  Come share in the journey as I figure out my new job".

(The TechPsych blog is on this list!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Brain Series on Charlie Rose: The Perceiving Brain - Sight and Visual Perception

The November 24th airing of the second episode of Charlie Rose's The Brain Series, The Perceiving Brain, is currently on the front page of the Charlie Rose website. I couldn't find an embeddable version of this episode, but I was able to find the transcript, linked below:

Transcript: The Perceiving Brain
Charlie Rose Brain Series

"The Charlie Rose Brain Series explores one of sciences final frontiers, the study of the human brain.  Over the next year Charlie will interview the most knowledgeable scientists and researchers in hopes of illuminating a new topic of study. Each monthly episode will examine different subjects of the brain, including perception, social interaction, aging and creativity.

We will also look at scientific discovery and advances in technology, in the hope that someday terrible illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s will be history. Our special colleague on this journey is Dr. Eric Kandel.  He is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist and professor at Columbia University. He’s also affiliated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2000 for his research into the biological mechanisms of learning and memory."

The Charlie Rose Science Series, Part One: The Human Brain (Earlier version, from 2006)

Brain Disease

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Image Reveal" application for the SMART Table, by Vectorform.

The SMART Table from Smart Technologies now features the Image Reveal application, created by Vectorform, that supports multi-touch, multi-user collaborative learning activities for children. The Image Reveal is the first third-party application published for the SMART Table, and is available for free from the SMART website.

"Vectorform was eager to collaborate with SMART to create an early learning application for the SMART Table, which it feels is a groundbreaking technology product. Image Reveal enables young users to collaborate and answer a series of multiple choice questions in a chosen subject area. Each correct answer uncovers part of a hidden image until it is fully visible. Alternatively, students can guess what the hidden image is at any time to win the game. Using the SMART Table Toolkit, teachers can customize content, including subject area, hidden image, questions and answers, and use images to tailor questions and answers for pre-literate learners." -SMART Tech Press Release

SMART Table Introductory Video:

It is good news to see that SMART Technologies is providing new applications for the SMART Table. There is much room for growth in this field. However, the applications still have the look and feel of electronic workbooks,  with a few interactive media bells and whistles tossed in to ensure that the system appeals to young learners.  I wonder if the application supports teaching the skills needed for children to successfully work together, such turn-taking, negotiating with other children in a group situation, or settling differences of opinion.

Classrooms in elementary schools now contain a growing number of students who have autism spectrum disorders, as well as other disabilities that interfere with social interaction. For this reason, it would be important to learn if SMART Table applications follow the guidelines for Universal Design for Learning(UDL).


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

School Psychology Awareness Week

School psychologists promote positive possibilities and encourage gratitude towards others during National School Psychology Awareness Week—November 9–13, 2009

Bethesda, MD—The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has designated November 9–13, 2009 as National School Psychology Awareness Week. This year’s theme, “See the possibilities in you. We do!” seeks to shine a light on the positive work school psychologists do to promote the possibilities for academic and personal success in the lives of the students they serve. The program involves a series of resources and activities that school psychologists can use to reach out to school staff, students and parents to help students feel connected, supported, and ready to achieve their individual goals.

NASP represents more than 25,500 school psychologists who work in schools and other education and health settings. School psychologists work with parents and educators to ensure that every child has the mental health and learning support they need to succeed in school and life. This year’s program focuses promoting students’ positive attitudes and competence by highlighting student strengths and the many ways schools reinforce those strengths. Specifically, school psychologists will be recognizing students who make significant progress toward their goals through the “Student POWER Award” Program and honoring adult members of the school community who contribute in an outstanding way to improved outcomes for students through the “Possibilities in Action Partner” Program.

“Adults make many important contributions to the development of children. Seeing and advancing the possibilities within students, even in the face of difficulties, is critical to helping them achieve their best in school, at home, and in life.” says NASP President Patti Harrison. “Some people go above and beyond, making extraordinary efforts to promote students’ competencies, create opportunities for children to meet their goals, and expand schools’ capacity to foster success. We want to recognize these adults who are partners for ‘Possibilities in Action’ and have been admirable influences on the lives of children.”

Additionally this year, NASP is launching the “Gratitude Works” Program, an effort to have students around the country write letters of gratitude to someone who has made a difference in their life or the lives of others. The “Gratitude Works” Program seeks to reinforce students’ practice of gratitude as one of many prosocial behaviors that can foster individual resilience and well-being as well as contribute to overall positive school climate. Promoting positive attitudes, such as gratitude, helps students become more aware of the strengths in themselves and others. Research has revealed that children who feel and express gratitude express more positive views of both home and school and improve their academic performance.

School psychologists around the country are working with teachers to help students identify and honor school staff, family members, students, and other educators or community members who contribute to their ability to achieve their best. Some students are choosing to write letters of gratitude to people who they do not even know personally, such as military servicemen and women and emergency responders.

As part of National School Psychology Awareness Week, NASP has developed downloadable and adaptable resources to help school psychologists participate in these programs. Further information on these programs, school psychologists and the contribution they make in guiding student success is available online at http://www.nasponline.org/communications/index.aspx.

For further information contact NASP Director of Marketing and Communications, Kathy Cowan at (301) 347-1665 or kcowan@naspweb.org, or visit www.nasponline.org.

Ready to Learn, Empowered to Teach, Excellence in Education for the 21st Century: National Association of School Psychologists' Guiding Principles for Effective Education


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Technology and Mental Health Research at Trinity College Dublin: Supporting Teens through Mental Health Games & Mobile Apps

In my last post, I mentioned some of the work in technology and mental health by researchers at Trinity College.  PlayWrite is a system that is designed for mental health professionals to create and adapt 3D computer games designed for therapeutic activities with teens, and can incorporate a variety of treatment approaches. In includes a dialogue builder that can incorporate written and spoken questions.  PlayWrite can also be used to adapt exisiting games.

The Personal Investigator game was created using PlayWrite and provides solution-focused conversational strategies that are mapped onto various game areas. The game is available tor trial purposes for use by mental health professionals and researchers.  You can request a trial by contacting Dr. Gavin Doherty:  Gavin.Doherty at cs.tcd.ie

Coyle, D., Matthews, M., Sharry, J., Nisbet, A., & Doherty, G. (2005). Personal Investigator: A Therapeutic 3D Game for Adolescent Psychotherapy. International Journal of Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 2, 73-88

As a school psychologist,  I'd like to have a chance to work with the above applications.  Even more, I'd like to try out two applications that the Trinity College team designed for use on mobile phones,  My Mobile Story and Mobile Mood Diary.

I think this concept would work.  Why?

In my observations of students in high school classrooms, I've recently come across the phenomenon of students texting on their cell phones, underneath their desks, without looking,  out of sight of the teacher, but not out-of-sight of an observant school psychologist!

Matthews, M., Doherty, G., Sharry, J., & Fitzpatrick, C. (2008). Mobile Phone Mood Charting for Adolescents. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 36(2), 113-129.

(I'll post more about this soon.)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Multi-User Virtual Environments for Kids, Teens, & College Students

A while ago, I wrote a post, Interactive Multimedia for Social Skills, Understanding Feelings, Relaxation, and Coping Strategies, that continues to get hits from readers looking for on-line social skills resources.  Since that post, there has been a growing interest in the use of multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) and related interactive games for children, teens, and young adults.  MUVEs appear to have the potential to help young people develop important social skills, such as cooperation, collaboration, and teamwork.

In this post, I'll focus on Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) and also take a look at 3D game/virtual world environments designed to support social/communication skills and mental health. 

Whyville was one of the first virtual environments for children, established in 1999.  It is currently sponsored by the Center for Disease Control, the Getty Museum, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Whyville Virtual World Tour (2008)

Everything Whyville!

Quest Atlantis was created by Sasha Barab, the Jacobs Chair in Learning Sciences, Indiana University.  In classroom settings, students work together on computers as a team to learn science, math, reading, and writing in a game-based virtual environment. The following video is from the Learning Channel. Sasha Barab, Beth Spataro, a teacher, and students discuss their experiences with Quest Atlantis at the Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham, North Carolina. 

Virtual Mesa Verde

"The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has granted more than $1.8 million to the Indiana University School of Education to expand the immersive learning environment "Quest Atlantis."...Sasha Barab, associate professor and Jacobs Chair in Learning Sciences and Instructional Systems Technology and the director of the Center for Research on Learning and Technology, created the Quest Atlantis project. It is a learning and teaching tool for students ages 9-12 that uses a 3-D, multiuser environment to immerse children in educational tasks."
Quest Atlantis Research Site
IJLM International Journal of Learning and Media (beta) Transformational Play and Virtual Worlds: Worked Examples From The Quest Atlantis Project
Conceptual Play 
Learning Gains
Thomas, M.K., Barab, S.A., Tuzun, H.  Developing Critical Implementations of Technology-Rich Innovations: A Cross-Case Study of the Implementation of Quest Atlantis (pdf)  J.Educational Computing Research, 41(2) pp. 125-153, 2009.
Barab, S. A., Gresalfi, M., & Arici, A. (2009).Why Educators Should Care About GamesEducational Leadership 67(1), pp. 76-80.
Barab, S., Thomas, M., Dodge, T., Carteaux, R., & Tuzun, H. (2005). Making Learning Fun: Quest Atlantis, A Game Without Guns (pdf) Educational Technology Research and Development, (53)1, 86-107
EcoMUVE is an ecosystems science curriculum for middle school students that is an outgrowth of the River City project developed by Chris Dede and his colleagues at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Video of an early build of EcoMUVE
River City Research
Metcalf, S. J., Clarke, J. and Dede, C. (2009) Virtual Worlds for Education: River City and EcoMUVE,(pdf) Media In Transition International Conference, MIT, April 24-26, 2009, Cambridge, MA.

NASA MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online)
The Technology Transfer and Partnerships Office

Astronaut:  Moon, Mars and Beyond

"The power of games as educational tools is rapidly gaining recognition. NASA is in a position to develop an online game that functions as a persistent, synthetic environment supporting education as a laboratory, a massive visualization tools and collaborative workspace while simultaneously drawing users into a challenging, game-play immersion...Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond will be a 'first-person-exploration' game that will also include traditional role-playing game (RPG) elements for both single-player and team-based space exploration, but with a realistic twist. Everything in the game will be crafted based on real NASA technology, as well as on prototypes from esteemed academic institutions for the next generation of robotics, spacecraft, spacesuits and space habitation...The game will allow players to utilize the latest technology from Big Stage, which enables photos to be transformed into virtual avatars. Players will be able to see themselves within the game world, if they so desire, or else use the game's editor to create their own characters." -John Gaudiosi, Big Downloads First Look at NASA's Unreal Engine 3 based MMO

Learning Technologies NASA STEM Learning MMO Games Plan (pdf)
Overview of the GSFC Integrated Design Center (IDC) Including the Mission Design Lab(MDL) and the Instrument Design Lab (IDL) (pdf)

EduSim has evolved since I last featured it on this blog.  According to the EduSim website, maintained by Rich White, EduSim is a 3D multi-user virtual world and authoring toolkit designed for use on classroom interactive whiteboards, but also used on laptops and desktop computers.  The application is a version of the core Open Cobalt Metaverse Project

"Edusim has been tested and works on the Smartboard, Activeboard, Interwriter, Polyvision, Mimio, eBeam, and even the Wiimote Whiteboard. Edusim is extendable allowing multiple classrooms to connect their interactive whiteboards for collaborative learning session. Edusim as a concept seeks to model a new we to engage student through "immersive touch" by leveraging 3D virtual environments on the interactive surface or classroom interactive whiteboard."

Constance Steinkuehler is an educational researcher who focuses on massively multiplayer online games and virtual worlds from the perspective of learning sciences and new literacy studies.  She's an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is affiliated with the UW-Madison Games, Learning & Society (GLS) group.

According to a post on the Massively website, "Steinkuehler has announced that she's got the Nation Academy of Education / Spencer Post-Doctorial Fellowship to do a cognitive ethnography on RuneScape. The study aims to show the educational merit of games designed for and played by youths instead of adults, which is what is typically studied, and to examine the impact of gameplay on their everyday lives, social relationships and school work...Cognitive ethnography is used to study the processes that effect the work carried out within a setting, whilst noting the effect of the material world and social context of the actions and social practices carried out. To put it in a simpler way, it studies how the social norms and social structures are created for a group of people who share a common culture, in this case RuneScapeplayers. You can read her proposal abstract over at her blog." -Jon Shute

World of Warcraft in School 
To get an idea of how World of Warcraft can be used, take a look at this video that was produced by members of the Virtual Worlds department at AFTRS, Australia's national screen arts and broadcast school.
Skateboarding for Real in World of Warcraft

World of WarcraftIntergenerational WoW Study, Focus on At-Risk Youth
Jason Allaire, a gamer and psychology professor at NC State, has a proposal to involve 100 high school students considered to be "at-risk" in an after-school program, with mentors, aged 60 years old or older. Jason is involved in the Gains Through Gaming Lab, a collaboration between NCSU and Georgia Tech.  

I haven't posted about Second Life in a long while.  There is quite a bit of catching up to do. Here is a short introduction to Second Life, using a garden as a metaphor:

Teen Second Life - Info from the Teen Second Life Wiki:

"The Teen Second Life was created to provide a safe place for education projects for those 13-17 years old. Unlike main Second Life, in the Teen Second Life, Linden Lab significantly restricts entry, purchase of land, and activities to those that support the education projects in Teen Second Life...Linden Lab only allows adults (anyone 18 and older) in the Teen Second Life who have had a background check completed, and who are either educators responsible for an education project in the Teen Second Life, developers assisting in the development of projects in the Teen Second Life, or the person responsible for managing activities on business islands in the Teen Second Life...Adults and businesses in Teen Second Life do not have any access to the Teen Second Life Mainland (Teen Second Life); that area is reserved exclusively for Teens."

Teen Second Life and the Field Museum
According to information from Vimeo, Teens in Chicago and New York went digging for fossils in Zambia this summer, without leaving home, thanks to a technology enhanced science camp run by Chicago’s Field Museum in partnership with Global Kids. Watch the video produced by Ben Wolff.

I Dig from Spotlight on Vimeo.
Global Kids

Global Kids' Digital Media Initiative

University Applications of Second Life
Claudia Kimbrough used Second Life in two College of Management courses at North Carolina State University, part of the Learning in a Technology-Rich Environment (LITRE) research program.  These courses were taught in 2007.

Virtually Online Learning and Teaching (VOLT)

Second Life in Nursing Education
The video below demonstrates a patient simulation in the virtual world of Second Life by MUVErs,  used in nursing courses,  with funding from University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, Accelerated BSN program.
Medical Simulation in the Virtual World of Second Life

Multi-touch Second Life - 100" screen with modules for sensing, integrated with opensim client.

100" Multi touch screen with Second Life from junhee, yeo on Vimeo
The following video shows how the above system works with Zentitum Wonder Island:

100" MultiTouch System with Zenitum Wonder Island from junhee, yeo on Vimeo.
IMG512 is the Interactive Media Group of Zenitum Entertainment Computing, in Seoul, Korea. The team  focuses on interaction and user interface design, including multi-touch, gesture, and other means of physical computing.  

Milton Broome is Simon Bignell's Second Life avatar. In real life, Simon Bignell is a psychologist who lectures at the University of Derby in the UK.  His current research is a project that is looking at the effectiveness of using the Second Life platform to support people who have been diagnosed with high-functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, focusing on social/communication skills. 
Bignell, S.J. (2009). Psychology on Second Life? Learning, Support and Research in 3D Online Multi-user Virtual Environments. Keynote Lecture at McCord Museum. International Conference on the Use of the Internet in Mental Health, McGill University, Canada.
Bignell, S.J. (2009). Teaching and Learning in Online Virtual Worlds. Invited Talk. International Conference on the Use of the Internet in Mental Health, McGill UniversityCanada. May 2009. Videocast: http://tinyurl.com/m5zst6

David Coyle, PI and PlayWrite
David Coyle is a research fellow with the Computer Science Department at Trinity College who designs technology to support mental health interventions.

Personal Investigator(PI)
Personal Investigator is a 3D game designed for teens that implements Solution Focused Therapy.
PlayWrite "is a system which allows mental health care professionals to create and adapt therapeutic 3D computer games, which can then be used in adolescent mental health interventions."
Coyle, D., Doherty, G., & Sharry, J. (2009). An Evaluation of a Solution Focused Computer Game in Adolescent Interventions.Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry14(3) pp345-360
Coyle, D., & Doherty, G. (2009). Clinical evaluations and collaborative design: developing new technologies for mental healthcare interventions. ACM CHI'09 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. pp.2051-2060.http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1518701.1519013
Coyle, D., Doherty, G. (2008) Designing Adaptable Technologies for Talk-Based Mental Health Interventions (pdf). ACM CHI'09 Technology in Mental Health worksop
Coyle, D., Doherty, G., Sharry, J., & Matthews, M. (2007). Computers in Talk-Based Mental Health Care. Interacting with Computers, 19(4), pp.545-562. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intcom.2007.02.001. (abstract)
Coyle, D., Doherty, G., & Sharry, J. (2005). Adaptable Computer Gaming for Adolescent Psychotherapy - Extended Abstract.CyberPsychology and Behavior, 8(4), pp.311-312.
Coyle, D., Matthews, M., Sharry, J., Nisbet, A., & Doherty, G. (2005). Personal Investigator: A Therapeutic 3D Game for Adolescent Psychotherapy. International Journal of Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 2, 73-88. Preprint (PDF).

CITEd Resources
Learning with Computer Games and Simulations
Multi-User Virtual Environments for Education
Multimedia Instruction of Social Skills