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iNeuron: A contemporary platform for neuroscience education

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43MH096674-01
Agency Tracking Number: R43MH096674
Amount: $500,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIMH
Solicitation Number: PAR10-154
Solicitation Year: 2011
Award Year: 2011
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
111 3RD AVE S , STE 100
United States
DUNS: 165988937
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (612) 280-9843
Business Contact
Phone: (612) 280-9843
Research Institution

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Adventium Enterprises and the University of Minnesota (UMN) propose to develop a participatory educational toolkit and curriculum to teach neuroscience and mental health concepts via exploratory and investigative learning that integrates nervous system function with engineering, technology and mathematics concepts. iNeuron models neuronal, synaptic, and circuit functions, and will provide an engaging, hands-on, problem- solving learning environment using mobile computing devices that are growing more common in classrooms. This project will combine development of 1) a flexible, multimodal software architecture integrating classroom level and distributed classroom learning environments hosted on multiple, interactive hand-held devices with centralized management and coordination and 2) an immersive story-based set of neuroscience challenges to teach key concepts by transforming a set of handheld electronic devices into functionally connected neurons. By engaging in solvingthese challenges, students will deepen their understanding of how their own brains control body and cognitive functions and change with learning. Subsequently, the students' understanding that they are in charge of changing their own brains is expected tomotivate learners to apply themselves in school. Our long range goal is to increase secondary student involvement in scientific and engineering problem solving activities to build higher order thinking skills needed in the 21st century economy. The objective of this proposed SBIR is to develop and deploy, via existing online channels, an interactive application to enable students to transparently acquire these skill sets while engaged in modeling and learning about nervous system functions. To accomplish these goals, Adventium Enterprises has partnered with neuroscientists from the University of Minnesota. Adventium has a rich history of active participation in educational projects and experience researching, developing, and fielding advanced technology. TheUniversity of Minnesota has developed and evaluated the highly successful BrainU series of science teacher professional development workshops combining neuroscience and inquiry pedagogy. Together, our Phase 1 specific aims are to develop the software application, a series of lesson plans that meet educational standards, and evaluate the implemented prototype in a classroom. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This SBIR directly supports the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint goal of promoting neuroscience knowledge acquisition and application of that knowledge to one's own life by providing a robust teaching tool for exploratory and investigative learning integrating engineering, technology and mathematics concepts with nervous system function. Based on a successful proof-of-concept evaluation, the resulting educational tool will increase K-12 student and general public understanding of normal nervous system function as well as drug interactions, and mental and neurological disorders. It will directly support the NIH Blueprint and the following educational standards: National Science Education Standards, AAAS Project 2061 Benchmarks, Standards for Technology Literacy, National Educational Technology Standards, Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, and numerousstate standards including those from California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Texas.

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

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