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SBIR Phase I: Online, Virtual Classroom Environment for Science Education

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0946169
Agency Tracking Number: 0946169
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: EA
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
1717 Stewart Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
United States
DUNS: 140789137
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Xiaodong Ding
 (310) 822-5845
Business Contact
 Xiaodong Ding
Title: PhD
Phone: (310) 822-5845
Research Institution

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I research project proposes the development of a novel interactive educational platform, which draws on the popular formats of online gaming and social networking to teach science to middle-school and high-school students. This platform, termed 'pi-space', would complement textbooks and other traditional materials with an online, interactive format. pi-space combines active learning components such as simulated experiments, interactive games, and quizzes with online lectures and reference material. The pi-space environment will be structured as a virtual world with a number of 'classrooms' devoted to specific areas of the science education standard. The work during this component of the project will focus the initial development of the platform on physics, which is a particularly challenging subject to teach to students. In this proposed SBIR Phase I, the virtual world will be designed, and a demonstration module of the virtual world will be produced.
The competitors for the technology to be developed in this proposal include textbooks, standalone educational games, and existing online virtual worlds which have been adapted to education. pi-space is innovative in that it will be an integral part of the classroom experience, designed to cover the standard high-school physics curriculum in an interactive and engaging way. The customer for the product will be public and private high schools, of which there are over 40,000 in the US. The product will be provided to the user as a service, with a per-student subscription fee of around $50 per year (less than the cost of a typical textbook). If this project is successful, the product will be profitable and will help advance STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in the United States.

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

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