National Science Foundation Takes Part In Education Technology Showcase

November 3, 2009

Nov. 4 event on Capitol Hill features Soccer Robot Dogs, a shake table and other interactive demos

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., 17 different educational technologies developed with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will be included among the exhibits in an Education Technology Showcase on Capitol Hill, in Room 902 of the Hart Senate Office Building. Sponsored by the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the event’s special guests include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well as Senators Patty Murray, Jeff Bingaman, Kay Hagan and Bill Nelson (invited).

The event will showcase the use of technology in education at all levels, including K-12, and will include technologies for teacher development. Researchers and students will present demonstrations and exhibits highlighting the latest research and education technologies.

Educational Technology Showcase

When: Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009,

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Where: Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902

Constitution Ave., between 1st and 2nd Sts. NE

Washington, D.C.

For more information, please contact Maria Zacharias at (703) 292-8454 or mzachari@nsf.gov.

Projects scheduled to participate are listed below:

* Access Computing. This project designs and develops technologies for individuals with disabilities. Examples include tactile graphics, MobileASL, and Cyber-STEM communities for hearing impaired individuals. PIs: Richard Ladner and Wendy Chisholm, University of Washington.

* Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact. This project exposes HBCU students to robotics. Examples include building Soccer Robot Dogs and competing in International Robotics competitions. PI: Andrew Williams, Spelman College, Georgia.

* CyGaMEs. This online game takes players through an experience on how the Earth’s Moon was formed and changed over time. Players can construct the Moon and change the surface with craters and lava. PI: Debbie Reese, Wheeling Jesuit University, West Virginia.

* Design Squad. This PBS television series illustrates how engineering can be used to solve problems. The viewers watch participants transform raw materials into projects that solve real-world problems. PI: Marisa Wolsky, WGBH Educational Foundation, Massachusetts.

* Embodied Conversational Agent. This project helps young students learn by having a virtual peer model educational material to the student.  This unique use of a life-size peer tutor as compared to an adult tutor, has found significant improvements in learning. PI: Justine Cassell, Northwestern University, Illinois.

* Institute for Chemistry Literacy through Computational Science. The aim of this program is to improve student achievement by developing rural Illinois chemistry teachers by strengthening their knowledge of 21st Century scientific research, improving their skill and comfort with computational and visualization tools and increasing leadership abilities.  PI: Thomas Dunning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

* Math Snacks.  Math Snacks are mediated games and simulations that teach students mathematic concepts. Each “snack” presents a mathematical concept such as proportions, number line properties to middle school students. PI: Karin Wiburg, New Mexico State University.

* Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). The Center will bring a demonstration version of a shake table to illustrate different magnitudes of earthquakes and how different building materials are impacted by the earthquake levels. PI: Ian Buckle, University of Nevada-Reno.

* North Carolina Solar Center. The NC Solar Center Education Outreach team gives students at all levels firsthand experience working with alternative transportation technologies as well as other “green” technologies.  An example is a six-week project where students design and build their own miniature solar cars. PIs: William DeLuca and Pam Carpenter, North Carolina State University.

* NSDL Resource Center. This project would demonstrate a number of tools and services available through NSDL. Examples could include Science Literacy Maps, a tool for teachers and students to obtain related resources for specific science and math concepts. PI: Kaye Howe and Susan Van Gundy, UCAR, Colorado.

* RoboLab. This laboratory invented and developed the RoboLab programming language used to program robots using LEGO Mindstorms. Projects could include activities like micron-sized robots swimming and a sub-millimeter “soccer player.” Additionally, the PI started the Engineering Educational Outreach Program that interacts with students and teachers worldwide. PI: Chris Rogers, Tufts University, Massachusetts.

* Scratch. Scratch is a new programming language designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art and share their scratch creations on the web. While creating and sharing Scratch projects, the students learn important mathematical and computational ideas. PIs: Mitchell Resnick and Michael Smith-Welch, MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts

* Supercomputing out of University of Maine.  Taking advantage of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative that gives every seventh and eighth grade student and teacher an Apple laptop, this project connects University researchers, students and teachers to utilize computer modeling and visualization of geological processes in the classroom. PI: Bruce Segee, University of Maine.

* User-Centered Learning. The Center for Engineering Logistics and Distribution partnered with the United Parcel Service (UPS) to develop new training facilities that reflect cognitive and learning theory and were designed to support Gen Y learning preferences. PI: Tonya Jackson-Smith, Virginia Tech.

* Virtual Astronaut Learning Platform. This innovative new project provides middle school students with an engaging environment to learn STEM content. The game takes place in the year 2063 and the students are in charge of colonizing Mars. PI: Sonny Kirkley, Information in Place, Indiana.

* WISE. The Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE) is an online science learning environment. In WISE modules, students learn about scientific problems, such as global climate change and population genetics, by designing, debating and critiquing solutions for the problem. PI: Marcia Linn, University of California, Berkeley.

* WolfQuest. This online, 3-D multi-player videogame gives players the opportunity to become a gray wolf. Through the game, the players learn about the behavior, biology and social structure of the gray wolf. PI: Grant Spickelmeir, Minnesota Zoo Foundation.

Image Caption: The University of Nevada, Reno is sending a shake table for an earthquake simulation at the exhibit. Pictured here is a large, two-span bridge model with unbonded braces at the multiple shake table facility–part of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. Credit: Lyle Carden, University of Nevada, Reno

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