We are developing a new, integrated computer tool that builds on and is informed by many successful computer-based learning environments. Here are just a few that have inspired us:
- Stagecast is a kid-friendly programming environment that makes it easy to tell the computer how things should move and interact in a game-like simulation. Kids have created simulations of ecosystems, tested concepts in probability, and made their own games with this software.
- SAM is like a digital flipbook; it helps kids make movies with a webcam. They take a series of photos from their computer’s webcam, line them up, and play them back as a stop-action animation.
- NetLogo is a modeling environment that lets students and scientists alike create, explore, and test computer simulations of systems that are made up of many interacting parts (like air made up of molecules, populations made up of individuals, or flocks made up of birds).
- SimCalc is a mathematics learning environment that emphasizes connections between mathematical representations like algebraic expressions and graphs, and grounded events we experience, see, and measure all the time, such as motion.
We are also inspired by modern technology design concepts that allow widespread, low-cost, flexible access to our tool:
- Web applications powered by open standards and languages like HTML5
- Responsive design that supports classics PCs, touch screens, tablets, and smartphones
- Simple interfaces that create a low barrier to entry
- Sharable, networked content
How do students gain fluency with the technologies of science?