Research

ScratchJr

ScratchJr is a new, innovative software program to support integrated STEM learning in early childhood education. The program is designed specifically for K-2. ScratchJr will work to teach children through three main strategies: discipline-specific knowledge, foundational knowledge structures and complex problem-solving skills.

ScratchJr is a project led by Professor Marina Umaschi Bers and her DevTech Research Group at Tufts University and by Professor Mitch Resnick from the Lifelong Kindergarten at the MIT Media Lab. The project is being funded by the National Science Foundation.

Watch the video below for more information on this ongoing project:

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AutismSees

Two Tufts Students, Danielle Feerst, A16, and Isabella Slaby, A15, are currently raising funds for their business, AutismSees. They are working to create an iOS app for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The goal of the app is to help individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders to improve their social skills, personal presentation skills, and leadership development.

The app has a range of important features, such as using the device’s camera in order to give video feedback to the user. Any text can be imported into the app and visual cues will be embedded to make the user look up at a pair of eyes on the top of the screen, as many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders have difficulty with making eye-contact.

The part of their app they are currently raising funds for is “Text to Speech” technology. Basically, software will be embedded in the displayed text in order to detect vocal intonation, mispronunciations and timing of the user’s speech. This feature will help individuals to improve pronunciation, respond to questions on time and build vocabulary.

Watch the video below to see Danielle and Isabella discuss more details about their app and why they believe it can improve many lives:

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What Do Students Learn in Mobile Health Design?

Mobile Health Design is an online course offered by the Tufts School of Medicine. Taught by Assistant Professor Lisa Gualtieri, the course explores the role of mobile devices in consumer health at both national and global levels.

Some of the topics included in this course are trends in use of mobile devices, how design incorporates mobility and input/out capabilities of mobile devices, the role of big data and predictive analytics in public health, how and why consumers find and use health apps,  and techniques for creating, maintaining and overseeing the use of health apps. This five week course is conducted through a mix of lecture, discussion and skill-based exercises. The program culminates in the actual creation of a health app by the students for a real organization.

To learn what some students have done for their final projects, check out this YouTube channel and watch below as Meghan Hamrock, N13, shares details on her final project about medical adherence and the app version for patients:

 

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Daylight Saving Time

This past weekend was Daylight Saving Time, when most people in the U.S. set their clocks an hour forward. CBS reported on this event and noted that some find Daylight Saving’s useful while others find it to be quite frustrating.

Tufts faculty member Michael Downing, the author of Spring Forward, a book all about Daylight Saving Time, explained the origin:

Daylight saving was originally meant to save electricity with lighting at homes.

He also remarked about some long standing Daylight Saving Time errors that have occurred. For example, what happened after Russia sprung forward for the first time in 1928:

When October came, the Russians forgot to fall back. It wasn’t until 1985 that an AP reporter stumbled onto the fact that the clocks were all wrong in Russia.

For more facts and insights from Downing, watch the rest of the CBS report here.

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The Power of Engineering

Chemical engineering students and faculty at Tufts have the opportunity to join AIChE, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. According to their website, AIChE  is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 45,000 members from more than 90 countries.

One of the Institute’s greatest benefits is connecting members to one another and allowing them to participate in conferences around the world. In one of such event, AIChE members discussed the power of engineering in improving our world and our lives.

Ayse Asatekin, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Tufts, took part in the discussion and added to the passionate voices of other chemical engineering students and educators from all over the country.

Watch the video and see Professor Asatekin’s remarks:

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JumboStudy

The AT Fellows, a group dedicated to helping students through educational technology, are offering a new service.

JumboStudy is a new and easy way for students to form study groups for any class and even helps with setting up a time, location and study topic. Students login with their Tufts username and password and JumboStudy matches that username with the class and project sites that the student is a member of in Trunk.  

For more information on the AT Fellows and the other useful programs they offer, check out their website.

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Professor Roger Fielding on Sarcopenia

Tufts Senior Scientist Roger Fielding recently sat down with Andrew Dudley, a specialist on Sarcopenia, to discuss Fielding’s research innovations. Sarcopenia, which involves the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, is a hotly researched field, and Fielding’s work at Tufts has paved the way in recent years.

As the Director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, a branch of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Fielding works to understand how nutrition and physical activity may help prevent or reverse physical dysfunction in adults. Fielding explains that:

We study the factors that influence the age-related changes in muscle mass and muscle strength, and we try to examine interventions that could potentially slow or reverse the process.

Check out the video below, and learn more about Sarcopenia on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tufts Professors on “Academic Minute”

In the past year, several Tufts professors have been featured on “Academic Minute,” a series broadcast by WAMC Northeast Public Radio that focuses on the academic innovations coming out of colleges and universities around the world. In August, the series featured Tufts Music Professor Dr. Joseph Auner, who spoks about the technology behind modern electronic instruments. “Academic Minute” has also spoken with Dr. Gregory Crane, editor of the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts, who researches the importance of Arabic translations of documents from Ancient Greece.

Professor Crane explains the significance of Arabic translation:

Many scientific terms such as algebra and chemistry come to us from Arabic. European culture rediscovered ancient sources like Aristotle and Euclid via Latin translations from Arabic translations of the Greek originals.”

The “Academic Minute” podcasts reach a wide audience on a daily basis. For more information, check out the podcast’s Facebook and Twitter Pages.

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Kim Wilson: Cashless Conversations

Professor Kim Wilson, a lecturer at The Fletcher School and fellow at the Feinstein International Center, will be one of the featured panelists during MasterCard’s Cashless Conversations event, “What Does Financial Inclusion Mean to You?” on November 13.

MasterCard’s mission is to unite leaders and experts who can share insights into the benefits of a cashless society. Wilson’s academic and research interests concern how we can best use business to help marginalized women and families. At the event, she will discuss how to best help those on the margins of financial development enter–and thrive in–a world with better financial options.

In this clip, Wilson introduces her conversation topic and expresses enthusiasm for the upcoming event:

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New Faculty: Pedro Angel Palou

Somewhere between the rush of orientation and the hurried pace of September, we forget to welcome the fabulous faculty members who are new to the Tufts community. In this video from the Tufts Daily, you’ll meet Pedro Angel Palou, a new professor in the Romance Languages Department who specializes in Spanish Literary Theory. This video is the first in the Daily’s new series called “New Faculty on the Block.”

This semester, Pedro Angel Palou is teaching a class on Latin American literature, as well as an advanced course comparing 20th century films and novels from Mexico. Meet Professor Palou in the interview below:

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