CS92 Project Pool and Initial Project Descriptions

Spring, 2003 -- Brown University
January 22, 2003 -- Blumberg

K-12 Education

Higher Education (Brown University)

Community Education

School: Vartan Gregorian Fox Point Elementary School
Teacher: Ellen Lynch
Audience: ESL Kindergarten
Project: We've worked with Mrs. Lynch and her students for several years, and the collaboration has produced both Buzz! (2000) and The Frax! (2001). This year she would like a program that serves as a "function machine", primarily but perhaps not exclusively for Kindergarten math concepts. In kindergarten the basic math concepts are 1,2 and more; 1,2 and less; double numbers, and patterning. The students also do basic addition and subtraction problems to 10. Mrs. Lynch would like some kind of interactive game for the children to have for their computer time late in the school year. Possible tools include Hyperstudio, Director and Authorware.
Comments: Ms. Lynch's students have limited skills in English and perhaps the greatest challenge of this program is to create something that does not rely on English text to convey the concepts and offer exciting exercises for the students on the computer.

School: Vartan Gregorian Fox Point Elementary School
Teacher: Ellen Lynch
Audience: Kindergarten
Project: A second possible project proposed by Mrs. Lynch is a "word expander" program that would let students try to spell or identify words based on visual images and/or audio cues. She envisions a program that would let a student stretch a word out, based on something they hear or see, using some sort of engaging point and drag interface. Possible tools include Hyperstudio, Authorware and Director.
Comments: Mrs. Lynch teaches an ESL Kindergarten class, and so the challenges here include designing effective interfaces for very young children who may have limited background in English.

School: Vartan Gregorian Fox Point Elementary School
Teacher: Claudia Pietros
Audience: Grades 3-6 Art
Project: Mrs. Pietros would like a program that surveys the historical and cultural uses of Masks across various world cultures, such as Native America, Africa, the Far East, and Europe. This might be a program students would use independently as well as in a teacher-directed whole group setting. The program would be rich in visual imagery, and would allow for various kinds of creative manipulation, in order for students to compare/contrast design principles and uses of masks across cultures. Possible tools include Director, Authorware, and Java.
Comments: The students who worked with Mrs. Pietros in 1999 found it an inspiring experience, and they produced a wonderful program called "Building Blast!". A new challenge to this project will be to find creative ways to assess students' understanding of the material in addition to presenting it in engaging ways.

School: Vartan Gregorian Fox Point Elementary School
Teacher: Mandy Katz
Audience: Gifted students, grades 3-5
Project: Mrs. Katz teachers a content-driven advanced literacy class and is currently working on Greek culture (2nd grade), Roman culture (3rd grade), and Medieval culture (4th grade). Her students study several aspects of each culture and history (e.g. daily life, art, architecture, literature, the agora, gods and goddesses). This year, as there are only girls in the group, she is focusing on the role of women in Roman and Medieval culture. She would like a program that would help students review material but would also give them a chance to apply what they're studying to problem solving or construction projects (e.g. building a Mt. Olympus family tree, or an agora). Possible tools include Hyperstudio, Director and Authorware.
Comments: This is challenging project both because of the variety of grade levels that need to be able to use the program successfully, and because the program must be an engaging source of understanding as well as a practical tool for reinforcement of students' knowledge. A program that focuses on the life of women in all of these cultures is possible here.

School: Charles N. Fortes Magnet Academy Museum School
Teacher: Marcella O. Weinberg
Audience: Bilingual 2nd graders
Project: Ms. Weinberg would like a program that shows her students how Providence firefighters and their equipment have changed over the years. She envisions an interactive program where the students will be able to choose a decade from a timeline and then identify the equipment and uniforms that they will need to fight a fire in the community from a visual library that describes what, how and why the equipment and uniforms were made as they were. She suggests the program might explain and investigate major fires that have been recorded in/near our community throughout our history and these could be fires that the students would virtually fight. The program would eventually be included in the Fortes School kiosks in the library and the first floor hallway. Possible tools include Authorware and Director.
Comments: The Fortes School is itself an interesting project. Their vision is to create a living museum through the study of the life, work and culture of the laborers and public servants that worked in this community throughout the years. The challenges include designing a program that can be used to great effect by young bilingual children and one that is nicely integrated with the School's mission/activities

School: The French-American School and Brown University
Teacher: Annie de Groot
Audience: Ages 7-14
Project: Dr. de Groot would like an interactive educational 'package' to teach K-12 students about vaccines. To do so, the program will have to: 1) introduce some basic immunology concepts; 2) discuss some diseases and their vaccine-preventable causes; and 3) describe how the immune system can be trained to fight infections using vaccines. Her rationale for using a computer-based tool is that captivating visualization of scientific information is one of the best means of teaching students in this age group, and she imagines a program that would present interactive illustrations and would be linked to Web-based resources as well. Possible tools include Director, Authorware and HTML/Java.
Comments: "Club DNA" is a program that Dr. de Groot has been teaching to students at the French-American School for 6 years. Though formally an "afterschool club" the program is an integral part of the French School, which has no formal science program for children under 5th grade. This is a great opportunity to design a science education program for students who have already learned to read, but who are just learning basic science concepts.

School: The MET School (MET West)
Teacher: Laura Maxwell
Audience: grades 9-12
Project: Ms. Maxwell would like a Web-based program that encourages students to review books they have read and recommend them to other students. The MET does not have a required reading, though students are required to document reading 20 books in the course of their four years at the School. The goal here is to use peer recommendations as a motivation for students to read and talk about books. As teachers have found that the avid readers are a little shy about speaking up in school assemblies, a virtual forum might make this task less intimidating. Possible tools include HTML/Java and HTML with a scripting language like (but not limited to) Perl.
Comments: The MET is an innovative approach to schooling in Providence. Although issues of authentication and database structure will require some work in this project, the primary challenge is to create a tool that engages and inspires a book culture among students who are pursuing individualized education plans.

School: The Wheeler School
Teacher: David Johns
Audience: Grades 7-12
Project: Mr. Johns would like a program that provides a template for note-taking from lectures and reading based on the Cornell note-taking system, but with additional capabilities for organizing and sorting the data, as well as the capability to generate study aids (in the form of note cards). The ability to use keywords, graphically organized and linked from their different instances in notes, the ability to create and associate written summaries with specific sets of notes, and the ability to generate "cards" that combine information from notes into a study aids (e.g. term -> definition -> example) might be among the innovations. Possible tools include Director and Java.
Comments: Although we usually avoid proposals like this, preferring to focus on instructional software, the challenges of implementing a sort of "hyper-Cornell" system for Middle and High School students are many and interesting.

School: The Virtual Medical School and Brown University
Teacher: Steve Smith
Audience: Medical Students
Project: Brown is one of the 52 schools worldwide involved in the Virtual Medical School Project, based at the University of Dundee, and Professor Smith is particularly interested in structuring the experience of students in such a "school" using the idea of the "virtual practice." He would like to develop a program that would allow students to "see" a patient (who would present with particular statistics and a narration of some sort), and write a report suggesting what may be the problem(s). The program would then provide intelligent feedback on this report, noting errors in the diagnosis and suggesting concepts and areas of medical knowledge that might be further studied. The program might also include a second visit by the patient, to allow the student to revisit and revise her/his report. Possible tools include Director, Authorware and Java.
Comments: This project can draw on the lessons we've learned from the two patient-interviewing projects we've done since 1998, and the challenge will be to create an engaging and effective program that is versatile enough to accommodate a variety of patients/modules.

School: University of Oregon
Teacher: Dev Sinha
Audience: Undergraduates in Linear Algebra
Project: In his linear algebra course, Professor Sinha has an innovative way of teaching affine transformations in the plane that involves the introduction of fractals. Trying to develop students' geometric intuitions about these transformations he introduces fractals encoded by collections of affine transformations. The encoding is essentially through the fact that such transformations actually determine the self-similarities of the fractal. Another way of saying this is that by identifying different subsets of the fractal image that "cover" the fractal, one actually defines the fractal uniquely. The project calls for the creation of a program to be accessed via the Web that allows students to visualize affine transformations and to generate fractal images by manipulating parameters of the transformations. The software produced will not only be a teaching tool but a tool for creating fractal art. The likely environment for this project is HTML/Java.
Comments: For students interested in mathematics, this is a fascinating project. You will be implementing procedural code provided by Professor Sinha, but the questions of how best to design and manage the interactions in the program are quite challenging, and the the drama of fractal images provides great opportunities for an effective engaging program. The fact that you'll be working at a distance with Professor Sinha, who was at Brown until last year, adds a further challenge the design and testing process.

School: Brown University
Teacher: John Stein
Audience: Undergraduates and Medical students in Bio 80
Project: The topic for this program is cardiovascular physiology (CV) and specifically the physics of fluid movement through the system of tubes (arteries & veins) and the pump (heart). There are a number of factors that effect flow, pressure and resistance in the CV system at any given time. To assist students in keeping track of these factors a somewhat complicated graph is produced where changes in several factors can be visualized and quantified. There are at least 7 important physiological measures that are reflected in these plots. Normal as well as abnormal CV situations can be modeled on these plots and changes in various parameters can be represented as consequences. Professor Stein envisions an animated interactive illustration, a mathematical equation, a plot of the data, and a flow chart description will be in the same field of view. The user will have the option of viewing the system under normal circumstances and under particular diseased states (heart attack, blood loss) and non-diseased states (exercise). This model will also allow for inquiries on physiological function +that would not otherwise be straightforward. A beating heart and blood-filled +circulatory system will provide a visual depiction of the changes that can be +related to the quantitative depiction in the equations and plots. The program would not only explain many of the concepts involved in the CV module, but allow students to view and manipulate the graph(s), and visualize its connection to what is going on in the CV system. Possible tools include Director, Authorware and HTML/Java.
Comments: This is a classic instructional module with great possibilities for creative design and scientific visualization of complex relationships. Of course the challenge is to engage the students and facilitate learning of these concepts in ways that their textbook and lectures/labs do not.

School: Brown University
Teacher: Roger Mayer
Audience: Students in Visual Art 10
Project: In 1998 a group of students in the Seminar created a Web-based program for Professor Mayer called Color Theory. The program has been used in VA10 for the past few years with great success. This year he would like to redesign the program to include a complex tiling unit and improve the pedagogy of the 1998 project. The tiling module will allow his students to develop a complex modular design in which the experience gained in the color mixing and color contrast modules might be applied. This entails developing geometric or free form designs in individual modules which would then hold mixtures of color to be ramped to other locations in the larger modular design. These ramps should be able to flow horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. Other directions might also be explored (e.g. a spiral). The required new module would be a drawing/design program that is linked to the very useful color chooser of 1998 project. This program needs to be developed and (re)designed in HTML/Java
Comments: This is a great opportunity for both programming and design, and it's the first time we will try to build improve a project completed in a previous year. This is a project with an interesting user-study component as well, since the redesign will be based in part on feedback from users of the Color Theory program.

School: Women and Infants Hospital
Teacher: Stephen Carr
Audience: Post-Graduates studying fetal echcardiography
Project: Fetal echocardiography is the study of structural heart disease in unborn babies. It requires evaluation of very small structures that are in constant and rapid motion. Fetal ultrasound only renders images in two dimensions, which makes evaluation of three dimensional structures extremely challenging. Teaching this material is even more challenging. Dr. Carr would like to be able to use a program that presents an interactive 3-D model of the fetal heart that will rotate, revolve, and allow the user to "slice" in various planes to show what the 2-D image will look like. Possible tools include Director, Authorware, and HTML/Java.
Comments: This is a great and challenging project for anyone interested in scientific visualization.

School: Brown University School of Medicine
Teacher: Mark Aloia
Audience: Community Patients
Project: Dr. Aloia has developed an intervention to improve treatment adherence in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The intervention is based on psychological theory, is interactive, and is designed to get patients to think about the barriers they have to treatment. The intervention is currently scripted for clinicians to give to patients in 2 45-mintue blocks. He would like to make the intervention into an interactive program that would provide users with personalized and otherwise intelligent feedback regarding their disorder based on the interaction. Possible tools include Authorware, Director, and HTML/Java.
Comments: Aside from its obvious value for patient education, this is an interesting and challenging project both from the point of view of HCI and medical informatics.

School: Women and Infants Hospital
Teacher: Jeff Peipert
Audience: OB/GYN Patients
Project: Dr. Peipert would like a program that will teach women about smoking cessation. The intended audience is patients who have had abnormal Pap smears (or an abnormality of the cervix), which could lead to cervical cancer -- a cancer associated with smoking. He envisions a computer-assisted individualized intervention based on a behavioral model his group has used successfully in the past to counsel young women on how to avoid unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Possible tools Director, Authorware and HTML/Java.
Comments: This project provides classic design challenges, and the goal will be to implement and automate the intervention as or more effectively than can be done in person.

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