Sunday, August 19, 2007

Browse The World Is My Interface Blog

"The World Is My Interface is about the development of newer technologies that support human-world interaction. This concept incorporates the best of of HCI, CSCW, universal usability, interaction design, game design, educational technology, and Ubicomp/ Pervasive Computing. The definition of "World", can include virtual worlds, simulations, VR, or augmented reality - just about anything humans interact with in their daily lives."

Friday, August 10, 2007

About Assisted Technology and ACC: Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs blog

The Teaching Students with Multiple Special Needs blog is a great resource for educators, therapists, and parents!

The blog has numerous useful links, nicely organized in the side-bar. You'll find pictures and videoclips that illustrate many of the blog's topics.

The companion website has loads of great information.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

About Wireless Handheld Devices in Education: Create-a-Scape and mscape

As I've mentioned before, the UK is often on the cutting edge of educational technology. Futurelab's "Create-A-Scape", an educational modification of Hewlett-Packard's mediascape software, gives students and teachers plenty of opportunities to explore the environment and be creative.

By the way, Create-A-Scape won the 2007 New Statesman New Media Award for Education.

If you haven't yet heard of this innovation, now is the time to learn, especially if you would like to create engaging educational experiences for your students. Integrating new technologies and applications takes time and thought, and the researchers, educational technologists, and educators at Futurelab have taken care of most of the groundwork.

What is a mediascape or mscape?

According to Futurelab's Create-a-Scape website, "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 (see below)."

"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."

Here is HP's promotional definition of a mediascape, a context-based application:

"Mediascapes are mobile, location-based experiences that incorporate digital media with the sights, sounds, and textures of the world around you. A mediascape blends digital images, video, audio and interactions with the physical landscape. Games, guided walks, tours, and destinations are among the mediascapes created to date. Download a mediascape onto a portable device, and see how your landscape comes alive as you move through the environment."

The mscapers website, a place where "mscapers" create and share mediascapes, offers free software. The wesbsite offers tutorials and demos. You'll need a Windows Mobile device with GPS to get started.

Here is a video clip from HP that shows people out and about engaged in mscaping:

If you are an educator who has used "Create-A-Scape", or if you are an mscaper, feel free to post your comments about your experiences.

On-line switch accessible games for children on the BBC website!

If you are a parent or teacher of a disabled child, here is some good news. The BBC reconfigured many on-line educational games for use with switches, which can be found on the CBeebies website.

The games can be easily adjusted to meet the needs of the user.

Here is a list I copied from the website that has links to all of the accessible games on the BBC's website:

  • Roly Mo, Snag a Snoot (single switch)
  • Teletubbies, Let's Count (single switch)
  • Teletubbies, Peek-a-boo(single switch)
  • Tots TV, Counting Song
  • (This works automatically with single switch).
  • Boogie Beebies: What am I? (single or double switch)
  • Razzledazzle: Chit Chat Chest (single or double switch)
  • Something Special: Old Macdonald's Farm (single or double switch)
  • Something Special: Transport Snap (single switch)
  • Tikkabilla: Emotion Theatre (single or double switch)
  • Tweenies: Startastic Captain Jake: (single or double switch)
  • Tweenies: Hide and Hear, the Adventures of Debbie Duck (single or double switch)
  • Tweenies: Make Music with Max (double switch)

  • "These games have not been as heavily modified, but they work with the keyboard as well as the mouse, which means they will also work with switches:"
  • Tweenies: The Enchanted Toyshop The 'next' button works with the spacebar.
  • Autumnwatch: Tigs' Quiz. This game works with the spacebar and return key.
  • Autumnwatch: Giggleswick Game This game works with the spacebar
  • Mama Mirabelle, Photo Match Game This game works with the spacebar
  • Jackanory: Rhyme Maker This game works with the spacebar. It is also strongly audio-driven, so should be good for children who cannot see.
  • Saturday, August 04, 2007

    Ball State Research: Wireless Handheld Devices (WHD) May Help Reluctant Readers

    It is often difficult for parents and teachers to engage reluctant readers in reading. Hand-held devices, such as PDA's and eBooks may have the potential for interesting these students. According to an article by Laura Devaney, the associate editor of eSchool News, a Ball State study found that wireless handheld devices were motivating for reluctant readers, used at home and at school.
    Link from the eSchool News article:
    Bellaver's blog

    Related links:
    The Paperless Classroom
    "101 great educational uses for your handheld computer" from K12handhelds.
    THE Journal article: Assessment Testing>>In Their Hands
    Wireless Generation website: "Formative assessment, reporting, and intervention solutions for a data-driven school system"

    If you are using eBooks or PDA's in your school or classroom, or if you use hand-held technology to support reading interventions and/or assessments, please let me know.

    Thursday, August 02, 2007

    TechPsych ResourceLinks: World Almanac of Educational Technology Wiki

    The World Almanac of Educational Technologies is a new wiki where people interested and involved in educational and instructional technologies around the world can share information and resources.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    e-School News Online: Current site of the week features the Microscope Imaging Station from the Exploratorium

    One of my favorite sites is eSchool News Online. The Site of the Week is the Microscope Imaging Station, from the Exploratorium science museum's website. This is a site that I'd recommend viewing on a large-screen display or interactive whiteboard.

    According to the Exploratorium website, the "Microcope Imaging Station produces high-resolution images and movies using research-grade microscopes. This gallery contains a range of images and movies that illustrate the diversity of what can be seen with light microscopes"

    The link to eSchool News has links to past sites of the week.