Period of Performance: 07/31/1995 - 01/13/1997


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

THE Athena Group, Inc.
Principal Investigator


Athena's Phase I SBIR research resulted in PenGUIN, a pen-based computer-based instructional (CBI) technology. Early testing demonstrated that PenGUIN achieves a synergism with the student, teacher, and curriculum. We demonstrated that PenGUIN's natural human interface, which involves handdrawn characters, shapes, and gestures, is a superior CBI environment to those based on traditional keyboard and/or mouse-based systems. These studies have led to a Phase II activity which will develop PenGUIN for the improvement of scientific and geographic skills and literacy in grades 7-12. The Phase II study will involve: (1) technology development for a geography and mathematical curriculum, (2) in-class testing, and (3) assessment. It will be led by an experienced team of CBI engineers, master teachers, and educational professionals. The proposed research claims a number of CBI innovations such as: (1) a low-cost CBI technology, and (2) learning modules which exploit the pencomputing/multimedia advantage. These combine to define the first completely human friendly learning environment for young scholars (i.e., a natural pen and speech user interface). In addition, PenGUIN innovates new methods of teacher field support. Athena shall both quantify and qualify the potential impact of PenGUIN on grades 7 through 12, as well as defense training, and prepare PenGUIN for national use as early as 1995. PenGUIN is a cost effective method of achieving a cooperative learning experience in the areas of geography and mathematics, with extensions to social science and pre-engineering (technology). With PenGUIN, young scholars become more capable of entering technical careers and/or making more enlightened public policy and personal decisions.