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Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

Technology Rich Learning Units on the Net

Selected Tools

Annenberg Media: Learner  – "Annenberg Media's multimedia resources help teachers increase their expertise in their fields and assist them in improving their teaching methods. Many programs are also intended for students in the classroom and viewers at home."

Disease Outbreak Simulation (Epiville)  – Students play the role of a epidemiologist, gathering facts and deciding actions to curb an outbreak that has struck the fictitious town of "Epiville". The case study uses digital video newscasts and interviews and municipal Web sites provide information about commerce and diseases in an attempt to mirror real-life situations. Different modules map onto various types of epidemiology study designs — case control, ecological, and cohort studies. Another module explores the topic of infectious diseases. Interactive visuals and multiple-choice questions allow students to test hypotheses about these cases. (Designed by Columbia University)

epsych  – On this site, students travel through four worlds. Each represents a different aspect of the human brain — its biological functions, its skills of perception and description, its propensity for learning, and its methods of deliberation. Students complete a series of interactive experiments and watch videos that demonstrate psychological phenomena like preconditioning and optical illusions.  

Interactive Investigator  – Site provides an introduction to the world of forensic sciences. The materials were developed by Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Carleton University in Ottawa, the Musée de la Civilisation in Québec City, the Musée de la Police de Montréal et de I'Île Bizard, the Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de médecine légale in Montreal, the Vancouver Police Centennial Museum as well as the Vancouver Police Department.

MarsQuest Online  – Mars Quest online is an interactive, multimedia rich learning unit developed by TERC, Space Science Institute, THe Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Science Foundation's Division of Informal Science Education, UCAR, NCAR, SDSC, and the Digital Library for Earth System Education.

Quest Atlantis  – "Quest Atlantis (QA) is a learning and teaching project that uses a 3D multi-user environment to immerse children, ages 9-12, in educational tasks. Building on strategies from online role-playing games, QA combines strategies used in the commercial gaming environment with lessons from educational research on learning and motivation. It allows users to travel to virtual places to perform educational activities (known as Quests), talk with other users and mentors, and build virtual personae."

The River City Project  (Product developed by Harvard and Arizona State Universities) The River City Project concentrates on the areas of epidemiology, scientific inquiry, and experimentation. Based on recommendations outlined by the National Research Council (2000), the River City Curriculum supports students as they:

  • Learn the principles and concepts of science;
  • Acquire the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists;
  • Devise and carry out investigations that test their ideas; and
  • Understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful.

River City is a 17 hour, time-on-task curriculum that includes a pretest and a research conference at the end of the unit. The River City Curriculum is interdisciplinary in scope, spanning the domains of ecology, health, biology, chemistry, and earth science, as well as history.

Since the River City Project is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, access to the simulation, curricular materials, professional development, and just-in-time assistance are provided free of charge to schools.


Interactive Cases

Portal Sites

Blue Web'n  – "Blue Web'n is an online library of 2010 outstanding Internet sites categorized by subject, grade level, and format (tools, references, lessons, hotlists, resources, tutorials, activities, projects). You can also browse by broad subject area (Content Areas) or specific sub-categories (Subject Area)."

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This entry was posted on February 5, 2008 by in Learning Units.

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