SBIR Phase I: Collaborative Field Tools for Project-Based Learning Activities

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Living Text LLC
1145 Broadway
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project seeks to produce high-quality and creative educational activities that are based on project-based contextual inquiry. Student inquiry is an essential part of the learning process and is front and center in the American Association for the Advancement of Science Benchmarks (AAAS, 1993). The project entails the development of Palm-based applications that support inquiry-based learning activities as part of an integrated system of personal digital assistant (PDA), plug-in sensor(s), Internet-enabled desktop analysis tools, and (optionally) wireless networking. This combination will support a new generation of learning activities centered either on changes-in-space (e.g., varying temperatures across a playground or school, varying observations by different observers) or changes-in-time (e.g., changes in tree-girth between years, variations in stream pH over time, etc.). Coupling PDA-made observations with database systems in the classroom and globally will allow the construction of new student inquiry activities. A part of the data interpretation can occur immediately as students collect their observations, some can occur upon return to the classroom, and another set of tasks can center around collaborative explorations with students elsewhere. Hence the system to be developed supports both inquiry-based learning and collaborative investigations. The evaluation of this project will be based on feedback from teachers in a testbed and on feedback from potential publishers interested in participating in Phase II and beyond.