Discoveries

forest visitors' centerDiscoveries (1995) was a series of four interactive CD-ROM programs for Grades 3-6 (ages 8-12), with accompanying teacher’s guides. Each CD-ROM takes you on a virtual field trip where you can discover a new environment by scrolling through a 360-degree panorama filled with images, motion video, animation, voices, and music. Students write in an e-journal and “photograph” images on the CD.

The series won the National Educational Media Award (1996), the New England Book Show Award (1996), the Bookbuilder’s Award (1995), and was selected for the Gallery at the Fifth Annual Macromedia Conference (1994). It was originally published by D. C. Heath, then Houghton Mifflin, later Sunburst.  The technology appears primitive now, but was state-of-the-art in 1995.

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Electronic Quills: A situated evaluation of using computers for writing in classrooms

Quill bookQuill was a suite of software tools designed to foster an environment for literacy in classrooms. We wrote it in Pascal for the Apple II computer. The software, teacher’s guide, and workshops were used widely, including in village schools in Alaska, which I visited three times during the project in 1983-84. Carol Barnhardt played a major role in setting up that Alaska project and in helping us understand the history and context of schooling in Alaska.

Andee Rubin and I later wrote the book, Electronic Quills, which looks in detail at the stories of early users. 1982-84. The book centers on the words and experiences of teachers and students who used QUILL—a software package developed by the authors to aid in the teaching and learning of writing. It looks in detail at the stories of these early users and considers questions relevant for other teachers, students, researchers, and developers of educational innovations.

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