SBIR Phase I: The Curio Classroom: A Software Toolkit to Spark Engagement in STEM Through Hand-drawn Art and Tangible User Interfaces

SBIR Phase I: The Curio Classroom: A Software Toolkit to Spark Engagement in STEM Through Hand-drawn Art and Tangible User Interfaces

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1843530
Agency Tracking Number: 1843530
Amount: $224,934.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2019
Solicitation Year: 2018
Solicitation Topic Code: EA
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
2101 N 35TH ST, SEATTLE, WA, 98103
DUNS: 055698037
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Barry Boone
 (206) 227-4951
 barry@curiointeractive.com
Business Contact
 Barry Boone
Phone: (206) 227-4951
Email: barry@curiointeractive.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
This SBIR Phase I project proposes the creation of a unique, art-centric e-learning platform aimed at sparking the interest of young learners in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This extensible software platform implements a new category of e-learning based on the ample body of research in educational psychology and technology that advocates the use of art and guided play to teach STEM. This project will test the hypothesis that an e-learning system based on scientific illustration sparks engagement and enhances learning in young students. With students disengaging from STEM at an increasing rate, it is critical to make more tools available to teachers that connect student with STEM. STEM-related fields will drive innovation in our economy for decades to come; opening new pathways to vastly broaden participation in STEM is critical to our economic future. This project also proposes the creation of an online community and marketplace supporting STEM education through this platform. This will connect teacher-to-teacher for sharing best practices in teaching science using art and can make a deep and broad impact on the way STEM is taught. Built on scientific illustration and coupled with a set of tangible user interface (TUI) devices that mimic scientific instruments, this e-learning platform brings student hand-drawn art to life, creating interactive lessons that correlate to Next Generation Science Standards. As this system will be extensible and customizable, a major part of the R&D effort will be to create an easy-to-use templating toolkit that any teacher can leverage to develop custom lessons in STEM. The Phase I goal will be to create a fully functioning product and assess this system in elementary school classrooms. This toolkit will be developed in collaboration with Curio Interactive?s educational partners, as well as the Pacific Science Center, where Curio Interactive is a startup in residence, to rapidly develop this system, continuously iterating the software with real testers, following agile development methods. One of this project?s objectives is to appeal to groups historically underrepresented in STEM. Because this platform will be visual and kinetic, highly affordable, and universally available via the web, the proposed platform will improve the equity and accessibility of learning science. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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