Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Children at the Surface Table: BETT 2009

The picture below was posted on the Shakeout blog, and shows children gathered around Microsoft's Surface at the recent BETT 2009 educational technology conference in the UK. Read "Interesting tidbits from BETT 2009" for more information.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Interacting and Communicating with HP TouchSmart Notes: Photo, Video, Audio, and More

via Interactive Multimedia Technology

The HP TouchSmart Notes application can be used in a variety of interesting ways.
I have an HP TouchSmart PC, and I like how easy it is to slide the notes about the screen using this multi-modal application. It allows the user to take capture pictures, video, or audio to create notes, as well as traditional "stickies" that allow for typing or finger-writing input. You can even draw or write over photos. It is an application that has many accessibility features. It also supports many of the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

The various notes can be put together in a variety of ways, and allow for video or photo storytelling and interesting ways of leaving messages- even a song or two.

I did some hunting and found the more information about some non-verbal students with autism who are learning verbal skills through this technology at Hope Technology School in Palo Alto, California.

Video of student using the HP TouchSmart Notes application at Hope Technology School:

Here are a few "How Two" videos that demonstrate the TouchSmart Notes features and interactions:

HP TouchSmart Voice Notes

TouchSmart Text Notes

The pictures below are from the HP TouchSmart Notes Application Review , by Peter Redmer 11/14/08

Text/Drawing Note Creation Panel

Icons for selecting input method for notes

Photo notes input panel:

You can draw on your photo-notes:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

DimensionM', a 3D Interactive Multi-Player Algebra Game is Spreading in 21st Century Schools

Tabula Digita's 3D multi-player algebra game, DimensionM, is spreading to more middle and high schools around the country. Steven Hoy, of Tabula Digita, is working with UNC-Wilmington and educators in Pender and New Hanover counties.

"There is no problem with catching on. There is no problem with student usage. It is just a matter of fitting it into the curriculum"

"When was the last time you saw groups of students excited about math?" I would make the recommendation if there are other large school districts who are interesting in coming on board and providing a 21st century environment for 21st century students, they should do this..."

DimensionM Multi-player Algebra GameTournament in NYC

I first set my eyes on Tabula Digita's previous math game, Dimenxian, at the 2005 Serious Games Summit. It is exciting to see how the game has evolved, and how research shows that it is an effective teaching and learning tool.

Information about DimensionM and math curriculum standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

Related Research
The Effects of Modern Math Computer Games on Learner's Math Achievement and Math Course Motivation in a Public High School Setting:

"The results also support findings from two meta-analysis, including: (a) Vogel et al. (2006) who concluded that interactive simulations and games were more effective than traditional classroom instruction on learners' cognitive gains based on a review of 32 empirical studies, and (b) Dempsey et al. (1994) who concluded that students who played math video games and attended the traditional classroom instruction achieved higher mathematics score than students who only attended traditional classrooms based on 94 empirical studies."

The use of computer and videogames for learning: A review of the literature

Link from link a NC State wiki with inforation about DimensionM:


"DimensionM is a video game that immerses students into a virtual world with the intention of teaching them mathematics concepts using familiar game constructs. This video game targets middle and high school students and covers pre-Algebra and Algebra objectives through a series of missions. In each mission the students enter a reality-based environment where they are introduced to new math concepts. Throughout the missions students challenge themselves to understand and master the math concepts to improve their performance in the game. Students cannot move from one phase to another until they have completed the math problems or tasks with 100% accuracy."


Albert Ritzhaupt, Ph.D. UNC-Wilmington Class:

MIT 595: Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds (pdf flyer of Spring 2009 course)

Watson School of Education

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Music to Teach Core Academic Concepts: A Look at Rhythm, Rhyme Results

One of the most popular posts on the Economic Sounds and Sights blog is a post that contains a link to the rap, Demand, Supply, by Rhythm, Rhyme, Results (RRR). If you work with middle or high school students, or you are a parent, you might be interested in learning more about these catchy, educational tunes.

Information from the RRR website:

"An extraordinary emphasis on assessing information recollection through standardized testing has subjected teachers and students to closer scrutiny. Researchers and educators note that some of the greatest problems in classroom education are the wide disparity of preparation of students, a variety of learning problems encountered, outdated or insufficient amount of teaching materials, and a lack of teaching tools for alternative learning styles."

"Textbooks alone have limited ability to engage students. Disengaged students often underachieve."

"RRR’s academic supplements assist in addressing all of these problems as well as bridging race, gender, and socio-economic divisions. Mnemonic devices enhance retention and are particularly effective with students who have visual learning disabilities, language difficulties, or poor reading skills; they appeal to a wide range of students and permit difficult information to be presented in an appealing and memorable manner.

As more schools embrace digital content they are able to access materials with fewer capital outlays, storage issues, and problems of theft or damage. RRR’s media library grows seamlessly and can be downloaded or streamed into homes or classrooms worldwide 24 hours a day."

Below is a video from Teacher Tube, using RRR's Photosynthesis rap along with slides created by a teacher, "Mr. D".

Photosynthesis Rap from RRR, along with related teaching resources

RRR's educational music page features math, science, language arts, and social studies songs, which can be purchased from their website, as well as through the iTunes Store and Amazon MP3

I couldn't find any scholarly articles to provide data regarding the effectiveness of this teaching strategy. If you are a school psychology, music, education, or special education professor or graduate student in need of an interesting research project, this might be the a good choice for you!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Eric Sailers' Speech and Language Blog & Website: Exploring New Interactive Technologies

Eric Sailers, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a speech and language pathologist and assisted technology specialist in La Mesa, California. Eric has a great webiste, Speech and Language Pathology Sharing, and a very accessible, icon based navigation system on his website at Parkway Middle School.

Like me, Eric is a fan of Johnny Chung Lee. If you haven't heard of Johnny Chung Lee, you need to know that along the way to earning his Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie-Mellon, he explored various ways to hack the Wii and WiiMotes. His YouTube video, "Low-Cost Multi-touch Whiteboard Using the Wiimote" went viral, and over the past year, it recieved over two million hits.

(Johnny's work was the inspiration for one of my previous blog posts, "
I wish I could be Johnny Chung Lee for a day!")

At any rate, here is Eric Sailers' "how-to" video that explains how to create a low-cost system appropriate for use in the schools:

The purpose of Eric's blog "...is to share speech-language materials. Some example materials will include computer books, communication boards, and social language videos."

His blog is well worth visiting if you work with students with special needs.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Visualization of Data to Support Decision-Making in the Diagnosis of Autism: Link to Dr. Robert Kosara's recent article in American Scientist

Dr. Robert Kosara was my professor last year for Information Visualization and Visual Communication, a graduate class in the Computer Science department at UNC-Charlotte. He maintains an great blog that touches on his interest in this field, Eager Eyes.

In 2007, he came across a Venn diagram posted in a 2006 Archives of General Psychiatry that looked at three methods of diagnosing autism, the clinician, the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), and the Pre-Linguistic Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (PL-ADOS). The data was represented in a Venn diagram, but this form of representation appeared to be confusing.

The Venn diagram was posted on the Nuit Blanche blog, and readers were challenged to submit new designs that could better represent the data. Dr. Kosara met the challenge and gave some careful thought to the matter, which he outlines in a recent article in American Scientist:

A Vennerable Challenge: The best solution for visualizing data is sometimes a simple one

Dr. Kosara used a tree diagram, which is a familiar strategy in the field of computer science, one that should be looked at closely by those in other disciplines (ie. psychologists!) who use data to support decision-making. Dr. Kosara's output was easier to understand, in my opinion. According to the redesign, it was clear to see that the clinicians were best at diagnosing autism/autism spectrum disorders, then the ADI-R, and last, the PL-ADOS.

What I liked best about the challenge described in Dr. Kosara's article was that several different people worked on the redesign of data representation. This collaborative approach led to a redesign by Patrick Murphy, which build upon Dr. Kosara's design, and represented the data in a colored bar chart with a corresponding colored Venn diagram.

The following chart was developed by Robert Kosara and Patric Murphy, via American Scientist:


(Dr. Kosara's blog)

Nuit Blanche Blog

On the difficulty of Autism diagnosis: Can we plot this better?
Judging the Autism Charts Challenge

Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science (Website)
Venn Diagram Challenge Summary 1 (autism diagnosis)
(Diagrams of all of the charts)

Note: The Nuit Blanche blog is not related to psychology or autism. It focuses on the new field of Compressed Sensing. If you really want to learn more about this highly technical subject, browse through the Nuit Blanche blog, and also take a look at the information from Rice University's Compressive Sensing Research site.