Classroom tool to create interactive science web pages

Period of Performance: 06/01/2004 - 05/31/2005

$99.9K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Focal Point Software, Inc.
Houston, TX 77098
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Creating an easy-to-use, time-effective tool that teachers will want to use to enhance their science lessons is the research objective of this proposal. This project includes development of the software tool as well as formative and summative evaluation of the software by teachers at an elementary school in a large, public, urban school district. The specific aims of this project are to create and evaluate an easy-to-use tool for K-8th grade classroom teachers to build engaging, inquiry-based environmental and health science web pages and additionally for students to document their experiments and demonstrations. The software provides teachers and students step-by-step wizards to create interactive science lessons and integrates databases of quizzes, vocabulary, science information and science standards to enrich the web pages. Resulting web pages are published to the school's website, expanding access to the school's environmental and health science curricula. Anticipated benefits of this tool include enhanced environmental and health science experience for students in K-5th grade, increased parent participation in their children's science education through interaction with the web pages, and enhanced school-based science curricula. This proposal promotes environmental and health science careers through student identification of them selves as scientists engaged in experiment and discovery in these areas. Further, this project improves public school teachers' computer skills and their ability to facilitate students' learning using computers. Resulting web pages become a repository of teacher-based environmental and health science curricula and help schools unify their science curricula over time and integrate science with other school disciplines, especially computer instruction, art, and math. Increased parent involvement in science education is supported through web pages that document class activities with specific information for parents and activities to do at home, including information about national and state science standards. The software developed will be free and disseminated broadly as open source software to teachers and science educators, extending to schools, school districts, and education researchers. Sales of training, customization services, extended collaborative functionality, and data resource integration, yield broad commercial potential.