Tag Archives: simulations

The National Science Foundation funds grant to pair intelligent tutoring system and Geniverse

Games, modeling, and simulation technologies hold great potential for helping students learn science concepts and engage with the practices of science, and these environments often capture meaningful data about student interactions. At the same time, intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) have undergone important advancements in providing support for individual student learning. Their complex statistical user models can identify student difficulties effectively and apply real-time probabilistic approaches to select options for assistance.

The Concord Consortium is proud to announce a four-year $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation that will pair Geniverse with robust intelligent tutoring systems to provide real-time classroom support. The new GeniGUIDE—Guiding Understanding via Information from Digital Environments—project will combine a deeply digital environment with an ITS core.

Geniverse is our free, web-based software for high school biology that engages students in exploring heredity and genetics by breeding and studying virtual dragons. Interactive models, powered by real genes, enable students to do simulated experiments that generate realistic and meaningful genetic data, all within an engaging, game-like context.

Geniverse Breeding

Students are introduced to drake traits and inheritance patterns, do experiments, look at data, draw tentative conclusions, and then test these conclusions with more experimentation. (Drakes are a model species that can help solve genetic mysteries in dragons, in much the same way as the mouse is a model species for human genetic disease.)

The GeniGUIDE project will improve student learning of genetics content by using student data from Geniverse. The software will continually monitor individual student actions, taking advantage of ITS capabilities to sense and guide students automatically through problems that have common, easily rectified issues. At the classroom level, it will make use of this same capability to help learners by connecting them to each other. When it identifies a student in need of assistance that transcends basic feedback, the system will connect the student with other peers in the classroom who have recently completed similar challenges, thus cultivating a supportive environment.

At the highest level, the software will leverage the rich data being collected about student actions and the system’s evolving models of student learning to form a valuable real-time resource for teachers. GeniGUIDE will identify students most in need of help at any given time and provide alerts to the teacher. The alerts will include contextual guidance about students’ past difficulties and most recent attempts as well as suggestions for pedagogical strategies most likely to aid individual students as they move forward.

The Concord Consortium and North Carolina State University will research this layered learner guidance system that aids students and informs interactions between student peers and between students and teachers. The project’s theoretical and practical advances promise to offer a deeper understanding of how diagnostic formative data can be used in technology-rich K-12 classrooms. As adaptive student learning environments find broad application in education, GeniGUIDE technologies will serve as an important foundation for the next generation of teacher support systems.

Better than an Apple, a Gift for Teachers

Thanks to everyone who entered our Suggest-a-Model contest. We always enjoy hearing from teachers and love to help with hard-to-teach science concepts. If you haven’t already, please vote for the model you’d most like us to build.

To Vote

1) Go to our Facebook page (you like us on Facebook already, right?)

2) Look for the poll pinned to the top left of the page’s wall

3) Click on the idea you like most to cast your vote

Our goal is to build a custom computer model to help teach a complex, science, math or engineering concept suggested by real teachers, like YOU! We know all too well the awkwardness of jumping up and down and waving your hands to model the behavior of molecules or dancing around the classroom to model photosynthesis.

We received a lot of great ideas and whittled the list down to three concepts.

One finalist told us that her students “are always making fun of me looking like I am doing a swim stroke in front of the class” when she tries to model convection! She’d love a new set of heat transfer models!

Another finalist is looking for a model of nutrient runoff into coastal waters and how that stimulates harmful algal bloom production. Concerned about the environment? Show your support for this model!

A model of meiosis and genetic recombination (known as crossing over, when exchanges of chromosome portions occurs) also made it to the top three. If you teach biology or know a student who’s taking Bio, this may be the one for you.

Voting ends on November 30th, so please go to our Facebook page and vote now.

After voting is over, we’ll announce the winner and get started on building the model. And once it’s done, it’ll be available for free to everybody. Win-win all around! If you want to know when it’s available, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our mailing list and RSS feed. We’ll be posting about it through all those channels.

But don’t wait to use our models. Check out our Activity Finder and Classic MW. These free resources contain lots of great examples of the models we already have available for science, math and engineering teachers at all grades. You’re sure to find an activity (or two or three!) that covers other difficult-to-teach concepts. Enjoy!