SBIR Phase I: Skills- and Assessments-Based Learning Environments

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Is3d, LLC
ATHENS, GA 30601
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


The innovation in this project is the design and development of a novel Skills- and Assessments-Based Learning Environment (SABLE) to meet the needs of teachers, school districts and parents in helping high school students develop problem-solving skills. Currently, US students' poor performance in STEM disciplines is limiting their career options. The aim of SABLE is to provide students the best possible opportunity to succeed in high school science courses so that they may pursue rewarding, well-paid, careers in STEM fields. To that end, SABLE will include educational software that: 1) relates science to the real world; 2) engages students in STEM disciplines and 3) immerses them in virtual worlds in which they can develop and hone problem-solving skills. SABLE will include a variety of assessments of the students' skills as they progress, which will help identify individual student's personal strengths and areas of difficulty. By field-testing SABLE in a broad array of high schools, this project will determine whether SABLE is a feasible way to meet the growing demand that will face teachers as they move from content-based to skills-based instruction. The broader/commercial impact of this project is that SABLE will help students develop the skills they need to solve problems regardless of the context. The central thesis of the project is that: problem solving is a skill, skills can be honed through practice, and the key to solving science problems is mastery of the scientific practices that comprise the scientific method. SABLE will guide students as they 1) acquire the requisite knowledge; 2) collect data; 3) analyze and interpret data; 4) form and test a hypothesis; 5) refine the hypothesis, if needed, according to the data; and 6) communicate their findings. SABLE is designed to enable teachers to assess student achievement at each of these steps, thereby allowing the teachers to identify and address areas that are problematic for individual students. Coupled with the applicability of scientific practices to solving all science-related problems, SABLE will help students develop critical thinking skills, and thereby address the needs of teachers, schools, parents and students.