Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Visiting and Revisiting Edubloggers' Posts


Vickie Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Vickie Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog

It's a Pedagogical Problem...
Bill Ferriter, The Tempered Radical, 3/11/09

The post links to this student-made video below, where the main character struggles with his "foreign learning tool",  his textbook, which simply will NOT hyperlink, enlarge photos, or allow the students to move around and share views of maps.

Communicating and Connecting with Social Media
Bill Ferriter, The Tempered Radical, 5/7/11 

Scott McLeod, Dangerously Irrelevant, 5/24/11

Vickie Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog

StoryVisit: A web-based story sharing/video chatting application that supports dialogic reading across the miles

I promised my colleagues at Wolfe School that I'd share something new and cool upon my return from a recent CHI 2011* conference.  

StoryVisit was one of the "take-aways" I brought back.  

is a web-based application developed to promote interaction between grandparents  (or parents) and children who are remotely located.  It is available on-line for free as part of a collaborative project between researchers from the Nokia Research Center, the Sesame Workshop, the University of Arkansas, and the MIT Media Lab

As soon as I saw the StoryVisit demonstration, I knew that the concept had potential to be useful to promote literacy and social communication among students with special needs, such as those who have autism spectrum disorders. (My story of how I tweaked StoryVisit for use with students is located near the end of this post.)

Credit: Nokia Research

One of the good features of the StoryVisit website is that it supports dialogic reading between the adult and child, by providing a Sesame Street character embedded in the story to help guide the process. 

According to Grover J. Whitehurst,  this method can support language development in young children.  In dialogic reading, the adult who reads with a child helps the child take a more active role in the process by following what is known as "PEER":    Prompting the child to talk about the story, evaluating the child's response, expanding the response by rephrasing and elaborating on what the child has said, and repeating the prompt to assess what the child has learned or grasped from the story.  This can include a discussion about the pictures that accompany the story, and questions that guide the child to think about the relationships between the characters, or prompts that help the child make predictions and draw inferences.

To get an understanding of the StoryVisit application, first take a look at how it works with adults and children - below are two related videos and an abstract from the StoryVisit presentation at CHI 2011 and a couple of related videos:

Here is short preview:

"StoryVisit allows children and long-distance adults to experience a sense of togetherness by reading children's story books together over a distance. StoryVisit combines video conferencing and connected books: remote grown-up and child readers can see and hear each other, and can also see and control the same e-book. We report on research with 61 families - over 200 users including parents, children and long-distance readers - who used StoryVisit in their homes with a long-distance reader for at least one reading session. In addition, we report qualitative findings regarding nineteen of the families who participated in telephone interviews and four families who were monitored and interviewed by researchers at home. Results show that connected e-book video chat sessions last about five times as long as the typical video chats reported in previous research on families with young children. Moreover, the addition of an animated character increased session lengths by another 50%. StoryVisit usage peaked for families with three year olds, showing that sustained distance interactions with very young children are possible if communication technologies incorporate joint activities that engage children and adults."

-Raffle, H., Revelle, G., Mori, K., Ballagas, R., Buza, K., Horli, H., Kaye, J., Cook, K., Freed, N., Go, J., Spasojevic, M. Hello, is grandma there? let's read! StoryVisit: family video chat and connected e-books CHI '11 Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing, ACM New York, NY, USA

Here's how I tweaked Storyvisit to work in a school setting:

On my first morning back at Wolfe, I decided to use StoryVisit with two high school-level students who have autism and cognitive delays.   My goal was to familiarize the students with Storyvisit so they could use it to read stories to younger elementary-level students with autism who are in a self-contained classroom.  I went to the Storyvisit website and registered Wolfe school as the "Wolfe family", using some of the teacher's email addresses as "family members".

During my session with the two young men, I placed them far apart in a large therapy room where my office is located.  Each student used earphones, since I was aware that there might be an audio feedback problem (which will be fixed, according to the Storyvisit folks).  Since the two students were not too far apart, I simply ran back and forth between them to make sure things were going OK and prompt them if needed.

I coached one student to play the role of the reader (grandparent) and the other to play the role of a younger child.  We got this accomplished successfully within our 1/2 hour session, an amazing feat, given the nature of the students' disabilities. They especially liked the video conferencing part, something that they've done at school in the past.  They communicated with each other better through this medium than in person, as the required less prompting.

The two young men were so excited about this process that after they returned to class, they suggested to their teacher that they wanted to practice with the application with their classmates.  They wanted to use Storyvisit to read to the younger students as soon as possible.  

The teacher, without much prior knowledge about the application, was able to set it up quickly.  She used the application during her morning group reading activity, displaying the Storyvisit website on a SMARTBoard.  She was impressed with the "Block Party" story - especially the great recipes included at the end of the story.   

The teacher mentioned that the recipes could be used to create snacks for a "block party" between the two classes after the StoryBook session.  The students could use the recipes to create shopping lists for a community outing to a local supermarket, and then prepared during Activities of Daily Living class (the classroom is equipped with a kitchen.)    

To see how the elementary-level students would respond to the Storyvisit website, I visited the classroom and demonstrated the Block Party book to the students using a SMARTboard. I used "Grandparent" mode, without the webcam, since I was with the students.  As I went through the story, the teacher mentioned that the webcam feature would be ideal for including students who use sign language in Storyvisit activities. (She happens to be the mother of daughters who have hearing impairments.)

Try StoryVisit by signing up at Storyvisit.org
NRC (Nokia Research Center) launches Story Visit pilot in association with Sesame Workshop
Intervention: Dialogic Reading (2/8/07), US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (What Works Clearinghouse)
Dialogic Reading Video SeriesNCLD Editorial Staff, 11/1/09
Dialogic Reading: An Effective Way to Read to Preschoolers (Grover J. Whitehurst -1992, Reading Rockets Archive)
Hayes Raffle's website
Family Story Play (First version of StoryVisit)
Family Story Play pdf (CHI 2010 presentation)

Since the Storyvisit activity was so positive with my students, I decided to dig a little deeper.  I use video quite a bit with students with autism spectrum disorders, and work with students to establish joint-attention skills and behaviors.  My hunch is that this is an area that warrants further exploration, especially for children and teens with autism spectrum disorders, their classmates, peers, and families.

The Co-Viewing Connection: "A blog for grown-ups about using media and technology with kids"
The New Coviewing: "Promoting Children's Learning Through Joint Media Engagement"

Game On.... Girls:  Associations Between Co-playing Video Games and Adolescent Behavioral and Family Outcomes (Sarah M. Coyne, Laura M. Padilla-Walker, Laura Stocdale, Randal D. Day, Brigham Young, School of Family Life, in Journal of Adolescent Health, 2/3/11)

Why this is important:
My grandson, "reading" at 6 months old:

My mom and my grandson reading together:

*"The ACM  Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is the premier international conference of human-computer interaction. CHI 2011 focuses on leveraging our diversity and connecting people, cultures, technologies, experiences, and ideas."

Cross-posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gregory Abowd (Georgia Tech) discusses autism and how technology help

Gregory Abowd is a professor at Georgia Tech. He is known for his work in the areas of ubiquitous computing and autism research.  I came across a video of his recent TEDxGeogia talk about autism and technology that I found interesting.  The video is just over 20 minutes long, but is worth watching. 

Autism and Computing
ShareTable Project, Georgia Tech (Includes links to articles)
Yarosh, S. and Abowd, G. Mediated Parent-Child Contact in Work-Separated Families. Proc. of CHI, ACM (2011) 
3D Eye Gaze Tracking to Estimate Joint Attention

Note:  I was hoping to interview Dr. Abowd during a conference I recently attended (CHI 2011), but was unable to do so.  Hopefully I can arrange a phone interview with him soon.   As a school psychologist, I often use digital technology in my work with students who have autism spectrum disorders.  Most of the students I work are teens or young adults.  I'd like to know more about research related to autism and technology that pertains to this age group.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Exploring Social Media Literacies in Teaching and Learning: Howard Rheingold's Keynote at CHI 2011 (Cross-post)

Howard Rheingold
"Independent thinker, online instigator, novice educator, expert learner, offline gardener." 
(Howard Rheingold's Twitter profile)
Credit- Joi
Howard Rheingold was the opening keynote speaker at the ACM-CHI 2011 conference on May 9th, in Vancouver, Canada.  In his delightful talk, Rheingold discussed his exploration of social media and social media literacies in teaching and learning, drawing upon his experience teaching university courses.  According to Rheingold, these literacies include mindful infotention; participationcollaboration, and critical consumption, or in his words, crap detection

In traditional classrooms, students are given a number of reading assignments, and then called upon to respond to the instructor's questions, demonstrating that they "did the reading".  From Rheingold's perspective, this is off-track, as cold-calling students isn't the way to foster "thinking, reflection, inquiry, and the ability to contribute to a broader conversation."

Rheingold suggests that it is a myth that "tech-savvy" digital natives know how to use technology for learning and connecting with others effectively, drawing from his recent experience teaching university students.  Rheingold believes that the goal of learning is not to get the right answer, but to learn strategies such as inquiry, exploration, and collaboration.  Learning is not limited to the classroom walls, but takes place (within a network of other co-learners, linked to one another, and also linked to the wealth of resources that are available on-line.  

In this way, a "culture of conversation" is built that extends well beyond the classroom, and takes place after the official class period has ended. Technology is not the solution-  it is a tool that when harnessed thoughtfully, can support co-learning activities in a variety and combination of ways.  This process, Rheingold stresses, can facilitate engaged learning, and amplify intelligence.

If you are interested in exploring the wisdom of Rheingold, take some time to soak in the videos below, as well as the links to resources provided at the end of this post.

21st century media literacies from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Howard Rheingold at Reboot Britain

More About Howard Rheingold
As early as the mid-1990's, Howard was clear that the future of technology would be visual and multimedia, and that technology would improve access to a wealth of information as well as provide opportunities for increasing connections between people. Rheingold is known for his 2002 book, SmartMobs: The Next Social Revolution- Transforming Cultures and Communities in the Age of Instant Access. He has taught courses such as Digital Journalism at Stanford University and Virtual Community/Social Media at the University of California, Berkeley, and his approach to teaching breaks the traditional mold, given the comments from his former students.  

Since most people don't have the means to attend Stanford or Berkeley, Rheingold recently established Rheingold U, an on-line learning community offering courses that run about 5 weeks, through live sessions and the use of forums, blogs, wikis, mindmaps, and social bookmarks. 

To explore the Howard Rheingold's Story,  his Wikipedia page, his website, and Electric Minds Archives, a blast from the mid-1990's past. Also take a look at the following resources and links:

Virtual Community/Social Media Course Prezi
Virtual Community/Social Media Course Concept Map
Interactive Mindful Infotention Concept Map, which links to additional resources
Wiki:  Interactive presentation media - a good "how-to" resource
Howard Rheingold's gaming2learn Bookmarks

Developing the Digital Learner (Intel)
Standards for Global Learning in the Digital AgeISTE (International Society for Technology in Education)
A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change (Book authored by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown)

Allison Druin's Workshop Keynote: "Mining the Imagination from Time Travel to Anti-Gravity"  CHI 2011, Vancouver,Canada (Child Computer Interaction: UI technologies and their impact on educational pedagogy)
Update from CHI 2011 - much more to come!
Press Pass for CHI 2011!  Today's Highlights from the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

If you are unfamiliar with the acronyms, ACM stands for the Association for Computing Machinery, and is known as the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, with over 108,000 members. Within the ACM are a number of special interest groups, known as SIGs.  SIG-CHI is an interdisciplinary group of practitioners, industry researchers,  students, and academicians who represent fields of design, engineering, management, and user experience. All members of SIG-CHI are interested in topics related to Computer-Human Interaction in some way.   Communities featured at the CHI-2011 conference are Child-Computer InteractionGames and EntertainmentHealth; and Sustainability.  

Cross posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog

Sunday, May 08, 2011

"Mining the Imagination from Time Travel to Anti-Gravity" - Allison Druin's Workshop Keynote: CHI 2011, Vancouver, Canada

The Future... thoughts shared by Allison Druin at CHI 2011:
  • Rethinking the meaning of interaction- well beyond the mouse,  beyond the icon
  • Rethinking our relationships we have with our technologies
  • Rethinking how to transform technology
  • Rethinking ho transforming technology can change learning, to really change the future...
Paraphrasing ....."It starts with the experience of the child.  Have you ever asked them what they think about the future?  Backpacks with ice cream, storytelling machines that fly...  layered stories that are tall as building?

How do you get from low-tech prototyping to what gets on tech devices?  It's not about data analysis, analyzing things that are easy to analyse."

Allison works with kids and adults together, in a participatory manner, at her lab at the University of Maryland... 

Video demonstrating design techniques, including low-tech prototyping, involving children and ideas:


The researchers look at what children are doing today, in homes and in schools.  More recently, children's use of search at home, away from the eyes of their teachers.  

How do we figure out how designs and ideas become new technologies?  

Here is one example:  
Story kit is a freely available app for the iPhone that can be used as a prototyping tool.  Kids are asked to design music and create what it might sound like. It is considered to be a "mid-tech" tool, and supports creativity in the design process.

Three things that will happen in the future, according to Druin:

  1. Technology Ecology -  apps are cross platforms and technologies.  Where ever kids are and need it (tech agnostic)
  2. Physical/Virtual Switching --- interaction "bursts".    Designing for an activity that can be interrupted, in a good way.
  3. Creation of new neighborhood for learning.  A blur between the local and the global,  "Local 2.0",  beyond the walls.  Technologies need to accept this, and embrace this.

Allison's inspiration comes from her many years of working with children in innovative and creative ways.

From the Q and A:
Kids now know that technology rapidly changes.
Kids continue to be creative.
Kids seem to be more confident in their creativity, and that it matters. 
Kids aren't given enough opportunities to be creative these days, given all of the testing that they endure at school.

There is a feeling that anything is possible....it does happen.

Children as Design Partners

Workshop Website
CHI 2011 Workshop Program and Related Links:  UI Technologies ant Impact on Educational Pedagogy, Related Child-Computer Interaction Papers and Courses

Cross-posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog

Thursday, May 05, 2011

CHI 2011 Workshop Program and Related Links: UI Technologies and Impact on Educational Pedagogy, Related Child-Computer Interaction Papers and Courses

I'll be heading to CHI 2011 for a few days and plan to write a few posts while I'm at the conference. (I'd like to stay for the entire conference, but it is a busy time of year for me at work.)

Below is the program for a workshop I've helped to organize, along with a few related presentations and events that will take place during the course of the conference.

CHI 2011 will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver. The UI Technologies and Pedagogy workshop will be held on Saturday, May 7th,  in the West Building, Level 1, Room 119/120.  PDF versions of the following presentations can be found on the workshop's website.

9:00am – 09:05am Introduction
Edward Tse and Johannes Schöning
9:05am - 10:05am Paper Session I (8 min presentation, 4 min Discussion)
Chair: Yvonne Rogers
Evaluating Pervasive Classrooms
• Son Do-Lenh et al.: Classroom-experience evaluation: An ecological approach to evaluating pervasive technologies in classrooms 
• Kathryn Rounding et al.: Evaluating Interfaces with Children 
• Dan Morris et al.: Using Machine Learning to Scaffold Artistic Creativity in Education
• Tamara Polajnar et al.: Enabling Picture-based Querying and Learning with the JuSe Interface
• Hamed Alavi et al.: Lantern 2.0: A Pervasive Scripting Tool
•Quincy Brown et al.: Mobile Natives: Unlocking the Potential of Educational Technology
10:15am - 11:00am  Coffee Break and Preparation time for short talks
11:00am - 12:10pm  Paper Session II (8min presentation, 4min Discussion)
Chair: Max Mühlhäuser
Collaboration in Math: Fears, Myths, and Insights.
• Nicola Yull et al.: Pass the iPad: Comparing collaboration on paper and screen
• Veronika Irvine et al.: Math Education: A Creative Approach
• Group talk: Math and Embodied Agents
a.Kristina Richter et al.: Bridging Diagnosis and Learning for Mathematics Education in Classroom Setting
b.Lisa Anthony et al.: Handwriting Interaction for Math Tutors: Lessons for HCI in Education
c.Andrew Jensen et al.: Using Embodied Pedagogical Agents and Direct Instruction to Augment Learning for Young Children with Special Needs
• Group talk: Dispelling Myths About the Next Generation Classroom
a. Alex Thayer et al.: The Myth of the Paperless School: Replacing Printed Texts with E-readers
b.Sharon Oviatt: Designing Digital Tools for Thinking, Adaptive Learning and Cognitive Evolution
c.Alexandra Dunn et al.: Designing Classroom Technology to Meet the Needs of All
Group talk: Games, Wearables and Fun Learning.
a.Christiane Moser et al.: Child-Centered Game Development
b.Lizbeth Escobedo et al.: Blue’s Clues: An Augmented Reality Positioning System
c.Si Jung Kim et al.: Wearable Story: A Story Telling Jacket for Young Children to Improve Their Independent Physical and Learning Activities
12:10pm - 1:30pm   Lunch
1:30pm - 2:30pm   Paper Session III (8 min presentation, 4 min Discussion)
Chair: Richard Beckwith
Tangibles and Tabletops
• Izdihar Jamil et al.:    Communication Patterns in Collaborative Peer Learning around Interactive Table
• Aura Pon et al.:   Graspable Music and Vuzik: Music Learning and Creativity using an Interactive Surface
• Ahmed Kharrufa et al.: Learning at interactive surfaces and designing for reflection
• Cristina Sylla et al.: TOK – a Tangible Interface for Storytelling
• Group talk: Tables and Tangibles
a.Robert Sheehan:    Constructionism, Programming and Touch Interfaces
b.Orit Shaer et al.:     Making the Invisible Tangible: Learning Biological Engineering in Kindergarten
c.Sebastien Kubicki: Evaluation of an interactive table with tangible objects: Application with children in a classroom
d.Cristina Emilia Costa et al.:  I-Theatre: developing narratives skills in kindergarten children
e.Wooi Boon Goh et al.:  Potential Challenges in Collaborative Game Design for Inclusive Settings
2:30pm - 3:00pm       Coffee Break
3:00pm - 4:00pm       Breakout Discussion (What are future challenges? Next years workshop?)
4:00pm - 4:45pm   Closing Keynote by Allison Druin: Mining the Imagination from Time Travel to Anti-gravity: The Future of Child-Computer Interaction
"If you’ve ever sat with a child imagining the future of new technologies, you will undoubtedly hear about “anti-gravity machines,” “peace-technologies that work by tickling people,” “backpacks of the future with ice cream makers,” and “time-travel-mobile-phones that when you call someone it takes you back in time.” The question is how can these child-like imagined technologies lead us to real answers for the future?

In my talk I will propose that “data mining” is not enough, that “mining the imagination” is critical to understanding the future. I will describe the “iChild” and the interactive, independent, international, imaginative child we need to consider designing for in the future. If we look for real change, we need to listen to children, not because they know more, but because they can help us question, explore, and push us in true directions for change."

Allison Druin is an Associate Dean for Research in the iSchool at the University of Maryland and is Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. For almost 14 years, she has led an intergenerational research team, where children, ages 7-11 years old partner with an interdisciplinary group of adult researchers to develop new technologies for children. With this team, she has helped to developed new digital library and storytelling tools with such partners as the U.S. National Park Service, Sesame Workshop, Nickelodeon, Nokia, UNICEF, and many others. In 2010, she received with Ben Bederson the SIGCHI Social Impact Award for her work leading the International Children’s Digital Library (www.childrenslibrary.org).
4:45pm - 5:00pm Closing Remarks (All)
7:00pm Optional Workshop Dinner

CHI 2011 will be offering a variety of opportunities for people interested in interaction design and technologies for children.  Detailed information regarding the researchers/ presenters can be found on the IDC-SIG News/Events page.

CHI2011 COURSE - Evaluating Children's Interactive Technology
Monday 9th May 2011 - 16:00
Janet C Read - University of Central Lancashire
Panos Markopoulos - Technical University of Eindhoven
CHI2011 COURSE - New Methods for Designing for and with the iChild: Strategies for Today’s Mobile, Social, and Internet Technologies
Thursday 12th May 2011 - 09:00
Allison Druin - University of Maryland
Jerry Fails - Montclair State University
Mona Leigh Gubler - University of Maryland
CHI2011 Paper Session - Engaging Youth  Thursday 12th May 2011 - 11:00
Exploratory Evaluations of a Computer Game Supporting Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Adolescents
In the Mood: Engaging Teenagers in Psychotherapy Using Mobile Phones
Breaking Boundaries: Strategies for Mentoring through Textile Computing Workshops
Brick by Brick: Iterating Interventions to Bridge the Achievement Gap with Virtual Peers
CHI2011 - Other IDC Related Papers
Paper Session: Art, Music and  MovementMonday 9th May 2011
MOGCLASS: Evaluation of a Collaborative System of Mobile Devices for Classroom Music Education of Young Children
MoBoogie: Creative Expression Through Whole Body Musical Interaction
Paper Session: Low-cost ICT4D Tuesday 10th May 2011
Utilizing Multimedia Capabilities of Mobile Phones to Support Teaching in Schools in Rural Panama
Infrastructures for low-cost laptop use in Mexican schools
Paper Session: Storytelling and Perceptual Crossing Wednesday 11th May 2011
ShadowStory: Creative and Collaborative Digital Storytelling Inspired by Cultural Heritage
Paper Session: Learning
Practical, Appropriate, Empirically-Validated Guidelines for Designing Educational Games
CHI2011 Paper Session - Families Tuesday 10th May 2011 - 11:00
Learning Patterns of Pick-ups and Drop-offs to Support Busy Family Coordination
Mediated Parent-Child Contact in Work-Separated Families
Hello, is Grandma there? Let’s Read! StoryVisit: Family Video Chat and Connected E-Books
Family Portals: Connecting Families Through A Multifamily Media Space

If these topics interest you, consider making plans to attend IDC 2011!
IDC 2011:  The 10th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children
June 19-23,  University of Michigan

Cross Posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.