Educational Communication and Technology

Department of Administration, Leadership and Technology

Master of Arts Thesis Projects

Thesis Projects, Fall 2012

Sprout: Empowering Underprivileged Students in Bangladesh

Alzaber Rubayat

Sprout is a low cost tablet based learning environment aiming to increase access to quality education while changing the classroom discourse to incorporate collaboration and proactive intervention. It is specifically designed for 6–8 year-old students in Bangladesh who have a legacy of illiteracy and take part in classrooms that have a 60:1 student to teacher ratio. Instead of trying to reach students of various backgrounds with a one model fits all approach, the Sprout platform gives individual students control over pacing and readiness of the subject matter at hand. Beyond a scaffolded learning environment, students learn through systematic collaboration with peers. Additionally, by continuously monitoring student progress, it is possible to precisely direct the teacher’s attention towards the students that really need help. The program is specifically targeting this population because engaging the students at this critical time can lower grade repetition, raise achievement level, and help them pursue higher-level education.

Elemental Instincts

Thomas Gnas

Elemental Instincts is a web based learning environment designed for 7th and 8th grade students. The learners participate in a narrative driven game that teaches the Periodic Table step by step. As the students progress through, they construct their knowledge and apply it to the Periodic Table in order to write and balance ionic and covalent bond equations. When writing and balancing equations, students discover that they are creating compounds they have all experienced, thus understanding the relevance of Chemistry to their everyday lives.


Worrying: A Mobile App to Help Young People Cope With Anxiety

Lisa Reswick

Worrying is a mobile app designed to help adolescents cope with everyday anxiety by serving as a portable coaching tool for techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy.




Thesis Projects, Spring 2012

Ghosts: A 2D Adventure Game Promoting Math Fluency

Jennifer Ash

Since when was your Great Auntie a technological wizard? The Great Aunt you’ve been visiting this weekend is keeping you on your toes by challenging you to get through her seemingly normal mansion. She has placed treasure chests throughout each room which you must unlock with your math skills, and use the keys contained therein to solve puzzles and move from one room to the next. To make matters worse, she’s created holographic ghosts which you need to avoid. Have fun!

Ghosts is a 2D adventure game framework written in HTML5. Its goal is to increase fluency in mathematical inequality recognition among 6th grade and community college students. Students often have fundamental gaps in their knowledge, making progressing to advanced mathematical content difficult. Design considerations included scaffolded content, repetition, time pressure, narrative, and the intrinsic motivation digital games provide to students. One unique design feature provides teachers the ability to customize the questions used throughout the game. This was created as part of the Mathematics Fluency Data Collaborative project.

Emma Jean: Imagine What You Could Be: A transmedia approach for introducing young girls to STEM careers

Alex Britez

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Emma Jean: Imagine What You Could Be, is transmedia approach for introducing young girls to STEM based careers that are under-represented by females. Through a collection of interwoven digital & physical experiences, young girls meet role models, engage in authentic activities, learn problem solving skills and take on the role of designer and creator.




Pondulation: An Educational Microbial Evolution Simulator

Jacob Cappell

Pondulation, is an artificial life app created to demonstrate principles of biological evolution to middle school students. Learners are given control of a dynamic micro-environment, a virtual microscope slide inhabited by swimming model microbes. Using provided controls, users can alter environmental conditions of the microbe population, subjecting the microbes to selective pressures such as shifts in the relative availability of four nutrient types. (The microbes can sense and react to the different nutrient particles to varying degrees, depending on each individual microbe's inherited arrangement of chemoreceptors and flagella.) The app also allows learners to speed up the simulation by hundreds of times, so that generations of microbes can speed by. Users can thus observe adaptive trends (which are purely the results of random incremental mutations combined with competition for food) that would otherwise proceed too slowly to easily discern. View a demonstration video of the working app.

If I Were: An iPad App About Critical and Creative Thinking on A Historical Event

Nina Wang

If I Were is an iPad app that aims to prompt users to think historical events critically and creatively by following a three-step guidance including video matrix exploration, scenes selection and written/vocal stories creation. The learning content in this narrative centered environment is a Chinese Qing Dynasty historical event, a most tragically typical political conflict in Chinese history. Users are expected to awake their imagination and work individually or collaboratively on constructing hypothetical chronicles based on users’ exploring routes of the video matrix or creating written artifacts that users decide to fill into the plots. This app also incorporates features of social media to stimulate interaction, information expansion and exploration of the pool of work constructed by users. Constructivism, Goldman’s Perspectivity Framework, and cognitive flexibility theory are the theoretical underpinnings for this project.

Incite: A Web Space to Share and Build Connections around Firsthand Knowledge of Global Cultures through Pictures

Gauthami Vijayakumar





Solve4Me: An Interactive Learning Environment that puts Learners into Physics Challenges.

Merve Keles





Your City, Your Library: An App for International Students to learn English in Their City

Chengjung Su






Thesis Projects, Fall 2011

From Block to Block: Exploring Ethnic Identity Through the Use of Sound

Désirée Bayonet

From Block to Block is a web-based application that challenges immigrant youth in multicultural environments to explore and define their ethnic identity through the use of sound. Students create, collect and share soundscapes, interviews, music, and narratives from their ethnic communities with the ultimate goal of working collaboratively to build authentic radio pieces. The platform aims to increase social capital, peer and adult relationships, and pride of culture in these individuals while at the same time developing awareness and understanding within and beyond these diverse communities. The design has been largely influenced by the immigrant paradox phenomenon, as well as the needs, strengths and limitations of immigrant youth and their surrounding environments. Furthermore, the design has been largely informed by the design strategies and principles deriving from the constructivist philosophical perspective as well as the social learning and cognitive load theories.

One Roof: Facing Unemployment Together

Karishma Gurtu

One Roof is an online program that focuses on empathy-building to help families deal with the mental and emotional effects of unemployment. Through a supportive online community, narrative case studies and expert advice, users learn and share personal reflections, strategies and resources to help build a resilient family.

Gamestar ELL: An Adaptation of a Digital Game Creation Platform for English Language Learners

Katya Hott

Gamestar Mechanic is an online game-based platform for middle-school aged learners, aimed to teach the principles of game design and provide a space for players to design and share their own games.  Because participating in Gamestar Mechanic requires a strong command of English, the platform presents an opportunity for English language learners (ELLs) to hone skills in both game design and English language. However, the level of language in Gamestar and the lack of scaffolding for ELLs makes it so that ELLs may struggle with using the platform and not acquire the skills Gamestar Mechanic has to offer. This thesis presents an adaptation of Gamestar Mechanic tailored for ELLs that draws upon social and cognitive theories of learning to create an environment in which these learners can become accomplished game designers while learning English. 

HIVAW: An Online Learning Environment for Abused Women and HIV Prevention

Patricia Mouzakitis

HIVAW is an online learning environment for abused women and the prevention of HIV. For many women, the violence they experience leads to HIV infection; for others, their HIV positive status brings violence. I created HIVAW to make those connections visible. The site’s structure is based on personal stories of immigrant women who are victims of abuse and women who are HIV positive due to violence. Their shared experiences are meaningful and relevant to the situations many women may find themselves in. The site works to communicate these messages and perspectives to other women in an individual and emotional way.  The stories shared work in two distinct ways: they allow the listener to identify with the storyteller, and they allow the speaker to have a voice. On HIVAW users can view stories of women who have been or are victims of violence, upload their own stories, seek community and prevention resources, chat, and use anonymous discussion boards.

Tastylicious Adventures: A Digital Game to Promote Healthy Eating for First Graders

Dima Todorova-Lilavois

Tastylicious Adventures explores the design of a game environment, grounded in social cognitive theory, as a tool for behavioral change for young children. Children discover the health benefits of fruit and vegetables in an interactive game adventure. The emphasis is on creating a positive attitude towards trying and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. In each level, children collect one of eighteen “super” fruits and vegetables to power their character and complete each challenge, thus linking the individual benefits of fruits and vegetables to tangible health benefits. In addition, the game is envisioned as a part of a broader model which will include an interactive storybook and a website, both providing opportunities for further reinforcement and extended learning.

My Life: A Financial Literacy Game

Katharine Yu

My Life is an online financial literacy program, created for teenagers mainly in grades 8-9, that enhances financial capability by developing their understand of money relationships. While many online financial programs are aimed at adults, My Life is and can be used as a stand-alone program or in conjunction with a financial literacy curriculum. Users take on the role of a teenager navigating through life and preparing for the future through budgeting, saving, and making financial decisions.  The program will teach students, who are at the beginning of their savings and spending career, various skills needed to make sure they receive a strong foundation for their financial literacy skills.  The narrative-centered learning environment provides scaffolding of concepts determined to be difficult by the targeted audiences. It focuses on user choice, which takes students on a journey intended to change their perspective about finances and financial planning.

Thesis Projects, Spring 2011

“Kinecting” Family Play to Learning: An Examination of Physical Gaming and its Potential for Social and Cognitive Development

Meagan Bromley

Physical gaming on platforms like the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect has changed families media use habits along with their perceptions of what role media plays in daily life. Researchers have found that these systems can be beneficial to physical health, but what role might physical gaming play in social and cognitive development. Is there potential for teaching and learning among families with gesture-based physical gaming? In an effort to begin to answer this question, this paper examines the current landscape of physical gaming among families in the home. A theoretical framework for this sort of research, made up of social constructivist learning theories, is introduced as a means of examining interactions between family members. A close examination of YouTube videos of families playing on the Kinect is offered at the conclusion of the paper to begin to see some common characteristics of play and determine their implications.

Cloud Library - A Virtual Personal Collaborative Workspace

Sharon Favaro

New technology, easy to use free applications, and open access information are all changing research practices. Researchers today have a wide array of options available from which to choose. However, there is a lack of integrated tools for the student/researcher to do research or complete course assignments, particularly when the work is collaborative. Existing studies and software were reviewed for current practices. To map out the current workflow for research practices GOMS (goals, operators, methods, and selection rules), was used. Information processing theory and CSCL (computer-supported collaborative learning) were incorporated to inform the design of Cloud Library. Cloud Library is a model developed to support the needs of researchers. Cloud Library is a unified workspace allowing the user to begin and end the research process within one system.

Metry Mouse Missions: An Interactive Geometry Game of Daredevil Proportions

Lauri Galbreath

Metry Mouse Missions (MMM) is an immersive learning game that engages young people in constructing complex geometric models through the interactive adventures of a daredevil mouse. To successfully maneuver the mouse across obstacle courses composed of fire, varied terrain, and piranhas users must build various contraptions in the Obstacle Tackler by using their geometry smarts. Users may also create their own obstacle courses outside of the preset levels in the system, challenge other users to races, and post game results to their profiles. MMM encourages more complex geometric relationships through authentic challenges.

iSurvive: An Online Emergency Reporting Application

Emad Karim

Change, either evolutionary or revolutionary happens every moment of our lives. During emergencies, it happens faster than our abilities to record, analyze, and respond to resulting change. Within an emergency realm, everyone has a story to tell; individual stories change the whole community, neighboring communities, or even inspire the world. Other stories will be archived somewhere under a pile of personal tales or totally forgotten. This paper proposes the development of a new comprehensive online emergency reporting community that facilitates information gathering and sharing based on a new communication model that includes all actors of relief operations.

Curiously Green: Web-Based Learning Activities About Gardens and Nutrition for NYC Second Graders

Janet Lau & Wan-Ling Tsai

Curiously Green is a web-based learning environment that uses interactive activities to reinforce Science picture book topics, Gardens and Nutrition. The website presents online activities for New York City (NYC) 2nd graders to participate in after reading two selected books. The first book, The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, covers the Garden topic. Learning about gardens allows students to be active learners while providing an opportunity to explore about plants. Additionally, exploring about plants fosters learning of Nutrition. The Nutrition picture book: Eat Healthy, Feel Great by William Sears, Martha Sears, Christie Watts Kelly, and illustrated by Renee Andriani, teaches students to build a correlation between wholesome food consumption and healthy bodies.

Curiously Green offers both online and offline activities to assist students in learning about Gardens and Nutrition. These activities include discovering gardens around NYC, designing creative gardens, associating the healthy value of foods with a nutrition traffic light, and exploring new healthy food choices. As students engage in each activity, Art representation (drawing, paintings, and photos) becomes a form of expression of their thoughts and understanding of Science. Teachers play a key role in supporting students on Curiously Green. An online manual will guide teachers to use virtual activities, and provide in class follow-up activities that will further engage students. Students will use Curiously Green as a place to discuss and discover information that is directly connected to real world situations.

"Hall Wars!" A Digital Game Fostering Empathy Toward Victims of Cyberbullying

Deborah Miran

As cyberbullying incidents among adolescents increase internationally, more interventions are needed to make students aware of the pain and suffering associated with victims of cyberbullying, as well as the potential outcomes that may occur. Hall Wars is a digital, prosocial game that attempts to address the problems of cyberbullying. The game is intended for middle school students and takes place in a fictional school-setting. As players explore and navigate through gameplay, they engage in role-playing activities that foster both cognitive and affective empathy toward victims of cyberbullying. Players construct knowledge as they make their own meanings through individual experiences that allow them to both feel and understand the experience of a cyberbullying victim. In doing so, the game seeks to reduce cyberbullying behaviors and increase awareness about potential consequences of cyberbullying.

Hoop Jam: Basketball Simulator for Students with Multiple/Severe Disabilities

Yusuke Namiki

For many learners with profound cognitive and physical handicaps, playing sports is an activity in life that is difficult or impossible. However, by working with specialists who are experienced in treating students with multiple/severe disabilities and studying the various tools, methods, and strategies they use to interact and engage with them, Hoop Jam aims to bring the game of basketball into their lives in a meaningful way. Using the affordances of games and play, Hoop Jam was carefully designed to bring a clinical, video-game based approach to the instruction of important skills such as choice making and joint attention that can be used in a variety of settings using configurations to allow better access to the player.

Engaging Girls in STEM with Robotics

Erik Nauman

This paper addresses the low numbers of women pursuing degrees and working in professions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the United States . Robotics programs are proposed as a learning environment that can engage middle school girls in STEM in positive ways. I review the literature on spatial abilities and STEM, gender identity development, and meaningfulness and learning, all of which influence girls’ attitudes towards STEM in significant ways. Investigating the problem from these perspectives enables me to recommend practices for robotics programs that will help to engage girls in STEM. Future areas in need of study are also suggested.

Stone-Age Museum: An Open-Air Living-History Simulation

Antigoni Papadopoulou

The Stone-Age Museum is a major, outdoor (open-air), living-history simulation that introduces and educates visitors about the Stone-Age period. Visitors take guided tours in the Stone-Age Village, dress-up in costumes, and take roles (through role-play methods), in order to complete tasks or make artifacts that were used during that time period. The design of the museum finds its theoretical basis primarily in the theory of situated cognition and its many derivatives, as well as the teaching strategies of experiential and cooperative Learning.

Through the Looking Glass

Elliot Ronen

Proposed in this thesis is the design concept for a piece of software for touch-based tablet devices. The primary aim of this software is to provide children ages 3-4 a method for learning letters and letter sounds while expressing their creativity in an environment seemingly devoid of lessons, instructions or evaluation of any kind. A creative aesthetic, drawing in fog on a glass pane, was chosen to encourage children to play with the interface just like they would a real foggy window, extending playtimes and increasing the likelihood of letter self discovery. Thanks to the leaps in direct input touch devices in recent years we now have a new, relatively inexpensive method for teaching small pieces of information. A secondary aim of this software is to collect data that was previously unavailable during the letter learning process and track progress. This data allows parents and teachers to become more understanding of the progress children are making in letter comprehension without needing to stand over their shoulder and watch their interactions.




Thesis Projects, Fall 2010

LNGTB: The YouTube For English Language Acquisition

Olaolu Abiodun

Evolving from a concept design project (Papadopoulou, Choi, & Abiodun, 2009), The LNGTB project is a flash-based video streaming website designed to facilitate the practice of conversational (social) English and the gesticulation involved as well as the improvement of the Intercultural Communication Competence of English as a Foreign Language learners via the reenactment of thematically categorized video excerpts from popular American English media. The site finds its theoretical basis primarily in the Self-Determination Theory as well as the theory of Situated Cognition and its many derivatives.

Calculating and Constructing in Racer: Utilizing a Game Platform to Practice Early Math Concepts

Melissa DiFranco

The game platform I have designed is called Racer and it aims to instill systems thinking skills and mathematics content for children in grades 1 through 4 in the United States. Utilizing the theories of constructionism, situated cognition, and systems theory, the game platform intends to provide a practical, fun, and educational experience for its players. I created a board game prototype for play testing purposes and early play testing among test subjects in the target audience has resulted in positive feedback for the game platform’s mechanics, goals, aesthetics, and overall structure. Future iterations of the game platform will likely incorporate digital manipulatives into the player pieces, as the math content and concepts involved in the game would be facilitated by the just-in-time feedback that digital manipulatives make possible.

Actually Learn | Guitar

David Kerr

The Actually Learn | Guitar MA thesis project explores the theory, practice, and potential of digital learning environments as a possible method for guitar instruction. Following this, it presents a design outline for a software application, Actually Learn Guitar (ALG), which both instructs beginning guitarists through a learning curriculum supported by sound theoretical rationale, and facilitates guitar practice and transfer opportunities through novel and creative learning activities.

Film School: A Curriculum for Teaching Video Production to Middle School Students

Aidan Lucey

The Film School curriculum combines film analysis with video production to teach critical thinking skills, media literacy skills, creativity and film appreciation. The curriculum is based on the theory of situated cognition, meaning that the students learn by doing, and that the students fill the roles of film scholars and filmmakers to create authentic experiences. The curriculum is broken into six thematic projects, and each one involves an analysis portion and a production portion. The students learn the history and elements of a grammatical part of film, and then use that knowledge to create a short film or other film project that goes online. The act of creating in a real world way reinforces the knowledge learned during the analysis steps. The sound project of the curriculum was implemented with an elective film class at a Brooklyn middle school and the students successfully created an alternate soundtrack a portion of the film Jurassic Park. The students reported that they found the activity worthwhile and enjoyable, and their ability to discern sounds in the clip after the project was greater than it had been before.

Aesthetic Perspectives: Integrating Art and Everyday Life

Susan McGregor

Aesthetic Perspectives is a mobile web application designed to let visitors follow narrative or thematic tours through museums that reflect their own interests. Accessible via most modern smartphones as well as any internet-connected computer, Aesthetic Perspectives can be used prior to a museum visit to browse available tours and pique potential visitors' interest, and also as an on-site guide through the museum itself. Visitors who wish to contribute content to Aesthetic Perspectives may request an author login, allowing them to build their own tours either on-site or off-premises. These tours then become part the of Aesthetic Perspectives database, searchable by other users via keyword, title, or author. By connecting visitors with a continually evolving and expanding body of personally relevant content, Aesthetic Perspectives can not only expand the range of visitors that regularly use museums as an educational resource, but can enrich all visitors’ learning experiences when they attend.

Bridge to Success: Professional Development for Educators in an Online Community of Practice

Adrienne Michetti

Bridge to Success is an online learning environment for International Baccalaureate teachers in the Middle Years Programme, and was developed as part of a Gates-funded access initiative to International Baccalaureate programmes. This paper firstly aims to examine fundamental concepts of community of practice theory and research and the evolving new area of virtual community of practice research, in order to determine if a community of practice approach is the best fit for the current Bridge to Success environment. Further, this paper examines whether design principles can be derived from community of practice research, and subsequently applied to the mindful design of an online learning environment. This paper concludes that community of practice research can provide a sound theoretical framework to the design of an online learning environment, specifically by way of providing a social context, distributed cognition, and the wisdom of the periphery. Design recommendations to promote user activity and participation are suggested and illustrated.

Video-based Edutainment for the NYC Uncontrolled Donation after Cardiac Death Program: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Steven Wall

On December 1, 2010, NYC launched a pilot organ donation program for deaths occurring outside the hospital; the program was derived through partnership with government officials, subject experts, and NYC community participants. While the program’s intent is to demonstrate that this strategy for organ recovery may ultimately supply enough organs to those in need and obviate the waitlist for organs, understanding, support, and public perception are essential for its acceptance. A randomized controlled trial is underway to explore how best to inform the public about the new program using edutainment videos. Four different videos are being tested using a pretest, post test 2x2 factorial design: 1) A traditional documentary style video about the current state of organ donation; 2) An edutainment style video about the current state of organ donation; 3) A traditional documentary style video about the new program; 4) An edutainment style video about the new program. Standard style videos have testimonials with experts explaining organ donation facts so as to correct misconceptions. Edutainment videos have the same content along with misconceptions presented by persons to whom viewers may relate, followed by similar persons correcting the misconceptions and expert reinforcement. The primary outcome is the difference in pretest and posttest viewer beliefs about organ donation measured quantitatively. Interim analysis revealed all videos seem to be improving organ donation beliefs, with two videos showing greater impact. From this research, we may identify the most effective educational programming to encourage NYC residents to support the new organ donation program.




Thesis Projects, Spring 2010

Professional Development In Conflict Resolution

Kwaku Aning

My thesis project addresses students' need to learn conflict resolution and character development in classroom contexts, I designed an online professional development program for teachers. This program is a 3-D environment that models how to engage small groups in character development through conflict resolution. Teachers, using Scratch, learn how to create multimedia stories and to lead and participate in-group discussions with their students about conflict resolution. This approach will allow teachers to learn best practices through a situated learning experience.

“Prove It!” A Game-Simulation of Historic Experimental Science

Carl Glenn

Video games have a powerful attraction for high school students. They voluntarily spend many hours learning complex systems and skills playing these games. My thesis project, “Prove It!” is a digital game-simulation that allows players to travel back in time to "assist" real scientists, such as Marie Curie or Galileo, carry out ground-breaking experiments which changed the course of history. As players carry out historical experiments or devise their own solutions to prove the science principle in question, they learn the relevant science domain and the scientific method. Players use the tools employed by the historical scientists, collect data, develop evidence to "combat" the enemies of the real scientists' “unheard of” theories, and, at advanced levels, must beat the clock. The game design aims to contribute to players' sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem, heightening their sense of engagement with education. Hear more.

Moving Stories: Providing Youth With Filmmaking Experiences and Identity Exploration Through a Mobile Media Lab

Santi Khairassame

Building upon my experiences as a media arts educator, my thesis project sets the stage for teenagers to explore "identity" through the creation of digital media. My Mobile Media Lab is designed as an environment to facilitate creativity, digital literacy, collaboration, communication and exposure to art and its processes. With a particular focus on teens' engaging in the filmmaking process, the goal is to promote self-expression and positive identity development within youth. The design of the teens' experiences in the mobile media lab is theoretically grounded in situated learning, experiential learning and constructivism. Hear more

Idea Sketch Lab: Basic Electronics for Middle School Students

Robert Lazo

The Idea Sketch Lab is an online workspace for middle school students (and their teachers) who are learning basic electronics. This thesis project addresses the need to attract more students to become engineering majors in college, especially women and underrepresented minority groups, and to inspire some to choose a future career as an engineer. The environment is designed to provide hands-on lab activities that encourage students and their teachers to tinker and play on their own with "breadboard" prototypes to build toys, games, and tools that are personally meaningful. Their inventions and related problem-solving in the "lab" become the foundation for more advanced applications in electronics, such as physical computing, robotics, and electronic arts. The instructional design of Idea Sketch Lab is based on the theories of learner self-regulation, situated cognition, and communities of practice. Hear more

Human-Computer Interaction Lab

Lipeng Li

The HCI Lab is a multimedia environment designed to give learners in programs like ECT more experience with and training on computers and multimedia devices. The HCI lab, which can be used as a technical supplement to courses in ECT, is the combination of physical lab and virtual lab. In the physical lab, it is like a multimedia lab with computers and multimedia devices. In addition to the computers and laptops on which students can learn to use popular software, the lab is comprised of an iPhone station, a game station, and an augmented reality station. The virtual lab is the web environment designed to support the learning of software and the activities at these stations. With more information about human-computer interaction, students will better understand theoretical foundations and broaden their horizons in the field of ECT.



The Teens They Are A-changin’: Examining Social Media's Affordances Through the Perceptions of Teenagers and Teachers

Poukhan Philavanh

My thesis examined the perspectives of teens and teachers about relationships between social media and learning: What skills are being developed among teens who engage in the use of social media (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, MySpace, Wikipedia, Vimeo, Flickr,, Twitter, etc)? What are teens' beliefs and perceptions of social media’s effects on traditional literacy skills (i.e. writing, reading, vocabulary development)? And how might social media tools be beneficial in a formal education environment? Using mixed methods, the data collected offered a picture of educators' and teens’ perceptions of the use of social media both inside and outside of school and its affordances for skills development believed essential in the 21st century.




Thesis Projects, Fall 2009

Del MUNdo: Connecting Model UN Students In Israel and NYC

Julie Fefferman

Del MUNdo (meaning "of the world"") uses technology to connect classrooms around the world to address Model United Nations topics. My thesis applies the theory and practice of computer-supported collaborative learning to support collaboration among high school students in Model UN chapters in Israel and NYC. Over the course of one week, using Google platforms such as chat, videochat, email, and GoogleGroups (discussions boards), students in these chapters engaged together in research and discussion focused on solutions for "Sustainable Water Management in Lebanon and Israel."


Allison Hopper

SPIRALZOOM is an educational project that brings together the arts, the sciences, and the humanities through the exploration of spiral forms. For a book on the subject of spiral formation, I am creating a chapter, “Spirals in the Human Body,” which presents content about human anatomy, genetics and evolution. The book is highly visual, with pictures and text captions. It is intended for a general audience and can be enjoyed by readers with a middle school level of literacy.

I am drawing on multimedia learning theory in order to create a visual learning environment that incorporates explanatory illustrations and organizational charts. One of the strategies employed is the frequent use of analogies to make comparisons between everyday phenomena and more abstract concepts; an example of this is comparing the Slinky toy to the helical structure of DNA. The SPIRALZOOM project aims to create an interdisciplinary learning environment which inspires learners to make connections between diverse subjects.

Me and NYC

Han-yu, Liu

For this project I designed technology-rich classroom activities for a group of high school students learning English as a second language at John Adams High School. The goal of this project is to integrate the Five C’s integral to second language learning curriculum -- Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Community -- and to motivate and engage students as they practice English language skills.

For "Me and NYC" activities, am drawing design principles from research and literature on multimedia learning theory, methods for teaching English as a second language, collaborative learning and project-driven language learning. This project allows students to use English to express themselves and their own culture while learning more about living in the environment of NYC. The students use technology tools as authors of digital stories and as guides for digital tours of NYC. They also use an online blog and a Webquest site.

Educational Screencasting

Matthew Valia

My thesis project explores the effectiveness of teacher-created screencast tutorials in content-area and computer classroom environments. My goal is to design screencast videos that create an intimate, cognitive apprenticeship – think aloud for learners, as they hear the thinking of the expert teacher who is guiding them through each tutorial. The content of each screencast video will be relevant to students' learning styles and interests. The creation of each video will be informed by multimedia learning theory, cognitive apprenticeships and situated learning environments.

As a final product, I will create a website that teaches educators how to design and create screencasts based on principles from learning theory. The website will also feature examples of tutorials I have created as well as video documentation and anecdotal feedback of the students using them.

History of Master's Thesis Projects