Thursday, August 31, 2006

Link to Edutopia Post on Great Science Web Sites

Looking for good science web resources? There is a post on the Edutopia blog that has an annotated list of great links.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Importance of Media Literacy - Link to Quotes

This is a link to quotes from a variety of people about media literacy.

The quotes were posted on the Media Literacy Clearinghouse Website. If that link does not work, try this one. The Media Literacy Clearninghouse has a variety of resources for K-12 educators.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

3-D Interactive Algebra Game: Dimenxian -First Mission now available!

Dimenxian is a 3-D, immersive algebra game with a backstory, great gameplay, and engaging graphics. A great tool for reaching reluctant math students. The first mission is now available for purchase through the website. The price is about $30.00 and site licenses are available for schools. It can be downloaded or mailed as a CD.

The following is an excerpt from an article posted on the TabulaDigita website:

"Etuk started the company three years ago with co-founder Robert Clegg, an award-winning electronic game designer. Tabula Digita's first product, Dimenxian, is a first-person story-driven game that leads students through an action adventure environment while learning foundational algebraic concepts. The multiplayer educational game challenges players to accomplish several tasks - and learn algebra - to succeed, making the company's motto "learn math or die trying" all the more fitting. "We're losing a whole generation of kids to educational teaching methods that don't resonate with them," says Etuk. "I want to give kids the option to do whatever they want to do. I believe that by grabbing their attention and redirecting it to education, you can open up a whole world of options they might not have considered." Etuk says years of research on teaching math, student testing, and video game playing went into developing the games. The company has a partnership with The Princeton Review and has tested the game with hundreds of children nationwide."

Robert Clegg
Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder, Tabula Digita, Inc.
Robert is chief product officer and co-founder of Tabula Digita. Prior to joining, he founded and launched the company iStadium where he created the world's largest games. He developed games that 60,000 people in one stadium could play simultaneously. He also invented, tested, and managed the production of all computer-based products for the company, and is the sole inventor on all four of the iStadium patent applications. Robert has been working with interactive media and education since 1987, and in 1988 he started his first company, Instructional Sports Software, where he developed the first player training software for NFL football and NCAA basketball programs.

Learn Math or Die Trying: Algebra in a First Person Action Adventure Speaker: Robert Clegg (Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder, Tabula Digita, Inc.) Time/Date: Monday (October 31, 2005) 1:00pm — 2:00pm Audience level: All Presentation Description This poster session offers attendees a sneak peak into the educational video game that’s revitalizing algebra education through an immersive action adventure called Dimenxian. Initial testing of Dimenxian showed an average improvement of a grade level for all kids and two to three grade levels for those performing below average. Surveys revealed that girls were just as engaged as boys: 81 percent of all students thought it showed them how algebra works; 78 percent said it helped them learn; 89 percent said it was fun; and 81 percent wanted to keep going! Learn how students felt about the first action adventure game to teach algebra and how they performed on pre- and post- test studies. The results have surpassed expectations and provide a good indication of how the new generation wants to learn.

RippleEffects Update: Help with early interventon of behavior problems and school-wide PBIS...

RippleEffects has updated information on their website. This interactive multimedia software, according to the site, helps students succeed by:

"* Providing research-validated and comprehensive positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS)
* Easily building individualized interventions to build student's resilience, social and emotional competency, and connection to the community
* Ensuring fidelity to proven effective cognitive-behavioral training methods
* Matching training to each student's learning strengths
* Automatically monitoring student progress – reducing paperwork

Try it: order a risk-free 30 day preview of the full program."

RippleEffects for Kids RippleEffects for Teens

Links to organizations about grant information for technology.

According to the GLEF's Edutopia website, "our experience has shown that the most successful schools share many common traits. Here, you'll be able to learn more about these key elements and discover how specific schools have put theory into practice. You'll also find a wealth of resources to assist you in your efforts to transform schools"

Edutopia's grant Information page has links to a wide range of organizations that offer technology and related grants to educational institutions. Many of these grants have early deadlines, so if your school's team is interested in looking at these resources, start as soon as you can. Keep in mind that the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) is not a grant- offering organization. It is a great on-line resource for educators.

Monday, August 07, 2006

David Rose, from CAST, addressed the NCLB Commission on the importance of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Here is the link!

CAST to NCLB Commission: There's a Way to 'Leave No Child Behind'

Chief Scientist David Rose makes case for universally designed approaches

Wakefield, Mass., August 2, 2006 --Today CAST Chief Scientist and Co-Founding Director David Rose told the bipartisan Commission on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that applying Universal Design for Learning principles is the best way to ensure that all children, including those with disabilities, have equal opportunities to a high-quality education...........

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Who's Who in Instructional Technology

Johan Vilogoen maintains a searchable index of the Who's Who in Instructional Technology, last updated on 3/15/06. Most of the people are professors and researchers associated with universities. This is a description from the website:

"Welcome to this international gallery of experts from the world of Instructional / Educational Technology and its related fields. PURPOSE: To provide a node of contact, not to duplicate biographies available elsewhere on the Internet."

School teams who are applying for technology grants will be happy to know that a list of experts one click away. It is sometimes beneficial to apply for a grant in collaboration with people from local universities. Each listing on the index includes information about the person's research areas, university affiliation, and how they can be contacted.

MindHabits Demo: Interactive game for identifying facial expressions and increasing self-esteem.

Here is a link to the Mind Habits facial expression recognition and self-esteem game posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology Blog.

This interactive game works well with small-groups using an interactive whiteboard. The game was developed by Dr. Mark Baldwin, a social psychologist at McGill University.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Harvard Summer Institute: Universal Design in Education blog. A great resource for studying UDL.

"How-to" information for educators, school psychologists, and related professionals:

David Rose, co-founder of CAST, posted resources about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for participants of the Harvard Summer Institute on UDL on a blog. If you are a member of a school-based team (problem-solving, intervention, curriculum, technology, positive behavior support, response-to-intervention, etc.), you will appreciate the links to the institute's presentations and related resources.

Here is a brief sample:

"When you need support - mentoring, scaffolding - in creating lesson plans for all learners, you can find help here: More specifically, to set goals, look here: To think about your class and what it needs: To help in choosing or adapting materials, look here: "

George Sugai is well-known for his work in the area of Positive Behavioral Support. His PowerPoint presentation at the UDL Institute was an introduction to the defining features of School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports within the context of Universal Design for Learning.

George Sugai's Links (blog post)
PBIS website PBIS Research Literature PBIS Past Conference Presentations

Universal Design Learning and School-wide Positive Behavior Support.
(PowerPoint presentation download)

Share these resources with your colleagues, including your school's technology coordinator, when planning for the new school year! If your school is implementing UDL and PBIS, feel free to leave a comment on this blog and links to where others can find more information.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Convergence: Video Games and Virtual Reality for Special Needs: Autism, ADD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Social Skills...

Why should those of us who work in school settings become more familiar with VR and game applications designed for children and teens with special needs?

The first reason is clear.
Students who have learning, behavior, or social skills difficulties are in our schools for many hours a day, and educators are responsible for effectively planning and implementing evidence-based intervention practices. We know that many students enjoy video games and computers, and are motivated by visual and interactive multimedia learning activities. We know that this is an area of serious research. (See the Teacher's TV website from the UK for a link to a 30 minute video, "The Games Children Play" regarding learning and interactive games.)

The second reason is that we must prepare for the significant increase of children identified as having autism spectrum disorders. Educators need effective tools to reach and teach these students, and students need access to the general curriculum. Traditional word-based instructional methods are not often effective with these students.
These students are typically visual learners who have problems in communication, language, and social skills.

The third reason is that innovative use of technology and instructional methods can benefit "at-risk" students and those who have milder disabilities. Many of these students have problems that affect attention, concentration, retrieval, working memory, academic fluency, and so forth.

We know that "at-risk" students and those with mild disabilities have a high risk of dropping out of school. Integrating new technologies and creating new ways to use existing technologies will be a challenge, but worth the effort if more students are to provided the opportunity to successfully prepare for life after high school.

For more informatoin about dropout prevention, see the National Dropout Prevention website.

The problem with adapting VR and game applications as interventions within the school environment is that we really don't have a road map to guide us. Something that works in a university lab, a university lab school, home, or clinic may not be as effective if it is not implemented in a well-planned manner in the schools.

What is new?
Dorothy Strickland, the creator of the interactive Do2Learn website, updated people about her work in the field of autism and other disorders at the Virtual Reality,Associated Technologies, and Rehabilitation Symposium in June 2006.
Case Study: Using a Virtual Reality Computer Game to Teach Fire Safety Skills to Children Diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (Strickland)

Dr. Skip Rizzo, a key investigator in The Virtual Classroom, a VR environment that assesses ADHD in children, also participated at the symposium. The Virtual Classroom can be used to help children with social anxiety and has been modified to help students prepare for emergencies. (For more information, see the full article(pdf) and also read "A Classroom of the Mind", by Emily Sohn, in Science News for Kids.)

Sample of topics discussed at the symposium:

Facing the Challenge of Autism with Virtual Reality...Social Communication Challenges in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder...Designing Interaction with Visual Stimuli for Low Functioning Children with Autism: Criteria& Strategies to Engage Them...Can we Teach Individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions to Recodnize Emotions Using Interactive Multimedia?
Education and Gaming
Virtual Environments for Pediatric Populations
Round-table Discussion:
The Art and Science of Using Virtual Environments for Children with Autism, PDD, DCD, etc
Related: Virtual Environments for Social Skills Training: The Importance of Scaffolding in Practice

Georgia Tech's Autism Research Group is working on innovative applications for people with autism spectrum disorders. The website has several links to resources about autism and technology.


If your school has an interactive whiteboard or SmartBoard, you have access to a tool that can be adapted to some VR and interactive learning/social skills games for use for group and classroom activities. There is a short summary of the research and benefits of the use of interactive whiteboards on the Waukesha School's website.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rubric for school websites from eSchool News(pdf)

If you work for a school district,(or if you are a student or a parnet of a student), have you given much thought to your school's and school district's website? The rubric provided by the folks at eSchool News presents a clear method of evaluating the functionality and quality of a school district's website and offers good suggestions for improvements. Interactive, frequently updated websites are encouraged!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Technology, Psychology, and Education Blog

The TechPsych blog is primarily for school psychologists, educational technologists, school counselors, special education teachers, transition/school to work coordinators,curriculum specialists, and others who are interested in discussing how technology can be more effectively used in schools and other environments.

A primary focus of this blog will be sharing "how-to", "what works" and "lessons learned" in several overlapping areas- the topics below are only suggestions:

  • The use of technology to facilitate and promote school-wide intervention and prevention planning (academic, behavior, social skills) for all students, using a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach.
  • The use of technology to facilitate needs assessment, individual and larger group progress monitoring, data analysis, to ensure "data-driven" decision-making processes.
  • The use of technology for group interventions, including counseling, study skills, social skills and support/coping skills groups.
  • The use of technology for collaboration and communication among colleagues, more specifically school-based problem solving teams, intervention/assistance teams, curriculum teams, etc.
  • The use of technology to promote family/school communication, family involvement, parent education, distance learning opportunities, etc.
  • Research-into-practice: This is an important component!
If you are working at a university, or if you are a graduate student, and you are doing some research in the schools that involves technology and something related to intervention, prevention, etc., this is the place to share your experiences.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

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