iSci Team Member Wins Scholarship

amaliaWe are pleased to announce that team-member, Amalia Vacca, was awarded one of the two  Fuentes-Kirk Awards just announced at WSU.  Vacca is working to develop the multimedia book (called an “AppBook”) that is for use by scholars and educators to produce an interactive, immersive environment for teaching scientific concepts relating to chemistry to students from middle school through college.  This award comes with the largest gift of those given out to WSU students: $1500.

According to Shelley Pressley, director of undergraduate research, a program in the Office of Undergraduate Education, 25 WSU undergraduates working with faculty mentors on “research, scholarship, and creative activities” have each received $1,000 awards to support their efforts, announced

“This year’s award recipients have in mind, or are already working on, a wide variety of research, scholarly pursuits, and creative activities, and we are pleased that so many freshman and sophomore students will be able to launch their first projects with the help of this funding,” says Pressley.

130 students competed for 25 awards.  Three awards went to students at the Vancouver campus.  Moreover, Amalia is the only major coming from the Arts side of the the College of Arts and Sciences to be awarded a scholarship.  We are proud of Amalia for showing such excellence in light of such intense competition and are equally proud of the strives the CMDC program,  its scholars, and partners have made to make a positive mark on the university.

Demonstration to Senator Maria Cantwell

We were honored on Friday with a visit from Senator Maria Cantwell to iSci.  Here are some images from this visit.


Senator Cantwell listening to CMDC’s Aaron Wintersong talk about the AR component of iSci. Greg Philbrook is sitting at the control computer.



Senator Maria Cantwell with WSUV’s Chancellor Mel Netzhammer in the MOVE Lab








Demonstration to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce


Multimedia designer Aaron Wintersong shows the animation he produced for the AR portion of iSci

Last Thursday members of the iSci Team gave a demonstration of the iSci project to members of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.  Approximately 30 people visited the MOVE Lab and interacted with salt molecules via  AR, the Kinect System and Falcon Controller.  They also got the first peek at the multimedia book, what we are called the AppBook, that accompanies the project.  Next Tuesday,the iSci team will give a similar demonstration to the Legislative Staffers. We should have more of the AppBook finished by that time.


Greg Philbrook explains how the VMD works with the Falcon Controller and the Kinect Game System



Dr. Dene Grigar introduces the Seattle Chamber to the MOVE Lab and to the iSci Team



AppBook for Module 1 Underway


The trigger image for the first animation that comprises the augmented reality environment of iSci

We are in the midst of coding the AppBook for iSci’s first section of Module 1, the section relating to the study of the molecular structure of dry salt.  Students using the AppBook for this section are asked to interact with information provided via augmented reality and answer questions and comment about what they learn.  Augmented reality is comprised of animations triggered by an image on a poster.  Holding an iPad to the trigger image takes a student, first, from salt in salt shakers to a close up view of a salt crystal.  A second poster and trigger image takes a student from the crystal to the sodium and chloride molecules that make up the crystal.

Section 2, which we plan to complete by August 15, focuses on wet salt and asks students to interact with the Kinect and Falcon game systems.

Students access the module from a launcher icon on their mobile devices.  Tapping on the icon takes students to a welcome page where they will, on their first encounter with the module, access a quick animated tutorial about using the AppBook.  Following the tutorial, the screen shifts to the opening page.


Key to our work is the idea that the module is available for all smart devices, from phones to tablets, without needing to be accessed through Apple’s and Android’s markets.  Also key is that we take advantage of the affordances of the medium, particularly multimedia (e.g. video, sound, animation, words, music, 3D models) and the freedom for students, using mobile devices, to move around and engage kinesthetically with information.  Features like our “Notes” function allows students to share information with each other and their teacher and, so, enhances participation and engagement.  Additionally, the camera feature makes it possible for students to video or photograph themselves interacting with information so that they have a record of the day’s activity once students are home.

We have demos of iSci scheduled for August 1 of the Seattle Metro Chamber Leadership who are visiting Southwest Washington and WSUV and for August 13 of the legislative staffers for Washington State.

My personal goal for the project is to demonstrate that a study of art and the humanities goes hand in hand with STEM and that STEM cannot stand without either of them.


Welcome New Team Member


Screenshot of the iPad interface that will become part of the AppBook that Daniel will develop for the team

iSci welcomes CMDC major Daniel Spung who joined the team this week.  Daniel, who brings an expertise in web development and design, will work on the production of the AppBook for the iPad that houses the educational information that accompanies the project.  Daniel is currently a Fellow in the iPublishing Summer Initiative (IPSI) hosted by the CMDC Program and funded by a generous donation from Instructional Technologies, Inc.  In IPSI Daniel is learning to build templates for iPublishing software ITI has developed.  He will bring this knowledge to iSci.

Finished AppBook Plan for Part 1

We worked over the weekend getting ready for the demo at STEMLit on Tuesday.  Part of that preparation was a visualization of the plan for the module, a wireframe that shows the teachers and administrators attending the event how the module works on a tablet device, an information sheet about the project, and the overall vision for the complete module. We are about ready to bring in a designer and coder to develop module 1.  The August deadline for the “proof of concept” is looking easy to make at this point. We will have something substantive to show funding agencies.

Engagement with Crystals at Local STEM Event

Crystal-postOn Tuesday, June 25, the iSci team will give a demonstration of our project to 60 middle school teachers and administrators. The event takes place at Frontier Middle School in the Evergreen School District. The demonstration focuses on the module we have been building for the last two months about salt crystals and will include the work we have completed with the augmented reality environment for the iPad, as well as the behaviors we have developed for Kinect and the WiiMote and the haptic feedback gained from the Falcon Controller. We will also be able to give a copy of the script for the AppBook we are creating that is envisioned as the textbook for the module.

The demo will be the fourth formal presentation we have given about our project since May, and it will be the first time we have travelled the project out of the MOVE Lab, where we are building it.