Tangible Design Jam

Tangible and embodied technologies hold great promise for supporting exciting new forms of personal activity and social interaction. The computer is beginning to disappear into its physical and social surrounds. Examples of such technologies include physical computing (e.g., Arduino microcontrollers), geo-locational services (e.g., FourSquare or Google Glass), personal health technologies (e.g., Fitbit or Jawbone), and computer vision (e.g., Microsoft Kinect). People […]


The Encore Lab is using the Embedded Phenomena (EP) and the Knowledge Community and Inquiry (KCI) frameworks to investigate technologies designed to foster collaborative knowledge construction in elementary science classrooms. In EP environments, a media-rich representation of a scientific phenomena is mapped on to the physical space of a classroom for an extended period of time. Students participate in a whole-class […]

Rock, Paper, Awesome!

Rock, Paper, Awesome (RPA) was Encore Lab’s initial foray into developing the means for tangible and embodied interactions that would connect to our S3 technology framework. The goal for RPA was simple; individual labs could create their own unique tangible or embodied interactions through which they played rock, paper, scissors with other labs that were physically distributed around the world. The […]


PLACE (Physics Learning Across Contexts and Environments) is a 13-week high school physics curriculum in which students capture examples of physics in the world around them (through pictures, videos, or open narratives), which they then explain, tag, and upload to a shared social space. Within this knowledge community, peers are free to respond, debate, and vote on the ideas presented within the examples […]


Hunger Games is a learning environment designed to support upper elementary learners’ construction of understandings of animal foraging behaviors. It is an educational research project lead by Tom Moher’s research group at the University or Illinois Chicago (UIC). In Hunger Games, learners enact animal foraging within the context of a sequence of increasingly complex simulated scenarios involving varying conditions of […]


What happens when you combine eleven grade six students, one master teacher, an embedded phenomena simulation called HelioRoom (Moher et al., 2005; Moher, 2008), five Motorola Xoom tablets with a custom built app that enable students to share their observations and theories with their peers and teacher on an shared display?  We began investigating this question earlier this week, when we ran two […]


EvoRoom is an immersive, room-sized simulation of a rainforest ecosystem modelled after Borneo in Southeast Asia.  Designed as part of the evolution and biodiversity unit of a Grade 11 Biology course, it situates co-located students in a simulated rainforest and engages them in a collective inquiry activity. Implemented within a “smart classroom” research environment, the room is equipped with computers, […]

Common Knowledge

Common Knowledge (CK) is a pedagogical and technological innovation designed to guide knowledge community-driven science inquiry; and support collaboration across individual, small group, and whole-community social levels (Stahl, 2013) of a classroom.  The technological aspect of CK is a multi-modal (e.g., tablets, laptops, interactive whiteboards) web-based discourse tool that visually represents a knowledge community’s ideas, to facilitate classroom inquiry discussions.  […]

Climate Change

Climate change is a SSHRC funded-project that examined students learning and teacher’s role in the Knowledge and Community Inquiry (KCI) model – a blended model of scaffolded inquiry within a knowledge community approach. Based on the KCI design principle, we, in collaboration with a teacher, co-designed a grade 9 sciences curriculum unit on the topic of global climate change. In […]


Community Healthworker Assistive Technologies (CHAT) Community health workers (CHW) play a critical role in improving access to and continuity of care and treatment in countries worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where there is a shortage of skilled health service personnel. CHW have long played diverse functions in health care delivery at the household and community level. Worldwide, CHW […]