Simulation, Measurement, and Stop Action Moviemaking (SiMSAM) explores how middle school students reason about physical phenomena using modeling and simulation technologies. Our goal is to build a tool that allows students to move back and forth between formats to create, share and test their own and each others' scientific models.
The DataSketch project explores how middle school students think and learn about data visualization. It involves two interrelated strands of work: (1) research on grade 5-8 students' existing competencies and practices related to data visualization, and (2) the development and study of a tablet based toolkit for students to sketch and program visualizations that respond to archival or live data stream input.
The Categorizer is an interactive online gallery that allows a community of learners to contribute computational artifacts they have constructed to a shared collection. Learners can then analyze the collection of artifacts, and sort them into user-defined categories. The goal is to explore how students can leverage their personal constructive experiences toward collaborative knowledge-building.
SAM Animation is stop-motion animation software designed specifically for use in schools by students and teachers. Streaming a live camera image in from an external webcam, students manipulate objects, text, and other materials on a tabletop to assemble frame-by-frame animations. The software provides options for varying framerate (i.e., playback speeds) and simple editing tools, but the features are purposefully limited to focus students' attention on the processes and ideas being animated, rather than the editing and polishing process. SAM Animation has been used to study students' representational practices, science learning, and how different representational media support particular kinds of reasoning. (SAM Animation is distributed by iCreate to Educate).
DeltaTick is a computational toolkit that enables students to construct their own computer simulations from customizable libraries of domain-specific, natural-language building blocks. We've used it to study how students make sense of connections between individual behavior and collective mathematical patterns in complex systems, especially in the domains of population biology and natural selection.