SMALLab Learning Takes Part in the McKeel IBIS Project

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The McKeel Innovative Best Instructional Strategies (IBIS) Project serves to assist and support Florida’s lower performing charter schools with educational technology integration and literacy using the Flow embodied learning environment from SMALLab Learning.

McKeel IBIS Project

The McKeel IBIS Project is named after the Ibis, a white wading bird found throughout Florida, the perfect mascot for this statewide project. Artwork by 9th Grade McKeel student Danielle Douglin.

Through this grant, we seek to broaden the horizons of teachers, showing them specifically how to reach all students in the area of writing and reading instruction, and thus raising test scores.

SMALLab Learning is proud to be a sponsor for the McKeel IBIS Project. McKeel Academy of Technology has been awarded a 2-year Instructional Best Practices Dissemination Grant for $250,000 to address Florida Department of Education's strategic goal of improving student performance in the state’s charter school sector.

The grant will give McKeel teachers the opportunity to share “ready to use” curricular, instructional and assessment activities with charter middle and high schools. Resources developed for the grant will also be available to teachers, instructional staff and leaders of all Florida public schools.

Schools participating for the McKeel IBIS Project would be able to learn about educational technologies such as Flow using a Microsoft Kinect camera along with the embodied learning scenarios developed by SMALLab Learning. The company will be collaborating with McKeel teachers who will be offering workshops throughout the state and during educational conferences. A schedule of their events will be posted on their webpage at http://www.mckeelschools.com/IBIS.

"Through this grant, we seek to broaden the horizons of teachers, showing them specifically how to reach all students in the area of writing and reading instruction, and thus raising test scores. We hope that this program will give teachers an arsenal of dynamic lesson plans using fun technology, and a support system to turn to when questions/problems arise." – Mrs. Cathy Dyer, high school English teacher.

McKeel will be working with the educational regional services organization in the three Rural Low-Income Schools (or RLIS) districts in Florida who will help host workshops in their areas and communicate through their newsletters and membership meetings as part of the project’s outreach plan. The organizations are Heartland Education Consortium in Lake Placid, North East Florida Education Consortium in Palatka and the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium in Chipley. Polk State College and the Florida Society for Technology in Education are also supporting the dissemination plan for statewide outreach to schools interested in the resources being developed.

The 2-year grant extends until 2015 with the first demonstrations starting with an April workshop. McKeel Academy of Technology qualified to apply for the grant because they are identified in 2011 as a high-performing charter school by the Florida DOE based on their strong academic achievements and financial stability. In 1996, McKeel Academy of Technology was the first secondary conversion charter school in the state and currently has 1137 students and 92 staff.

Given the declining number of students in STEM across America it is crucial that we find ways to keep students engaged in science. SMALLab has dedicated itself to creating engaging and kinesthetic content to instruct 4th through 12th grade students. With the advent of the cost-effective Microsoft KINECT sensor, it is now possible to track multiple players’ body movements in real time.

SMALLab Learning’s philosophy is to create the most effective embodied learning experiences for schools to help advance student learning. Our kinesthetic, collaborative, and multimodal scenarios enable learning with technology that is engaging and interesting to students with a record of demonstrated success.

SMALLab Learning has a track record of research conducted at the Arizona State University School of Arts, Media and Engineering in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. It demonstrates that embodied learning has a positive impact on student achievement. This research was conducted in real world classrooms across the country with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), MacArthur Foundation, and the Gates Foundation. Together with our innovative professional development programs, teachers are properly trained to effectively implement embodied learning.

About SMALLab Learning
SMALLab Learning is advancing embodied learning in schools, museums, libraries, and the home. Embodied learning is kinesthetic, collaborative, and multimodal, enabling students to learn in new ways that integrate physical action with digital media. The company offers a suite of products that have been demonstrated effective. SMALLab Learning LLC emerges from over six years of research conducted at The School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University with funding from the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Intel Research, and the Kauffman Foundation.

What is Embodied Learning?
Embodied learning is an emerging field that blends human computer interaction with learning sciences. Cognitive scientists have discovered compelling evidence that most language and cognition is grounded in a bodily experience. This suggests that embodied, physical activities can lead to more effective learning. Embodied learning has the potential to transform K-12 learning in schools, museums, and community centers.

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Cyndi Boyd
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