Matrix Learning

Middle school Achievement through Technology-Rich Interventions

Computer software for children with autism

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We are currently living in a world where everything is almost possible with technology. In the medical field, lost of therapies for various sicknesses are being done successfully thanks to technology. It does make a huge difference on making people’s lives better.

For instance, doctors advise parents of children with autism to use computer software to help the kids’ cognitive and sensory areas. Children with autism learn differently compared to developing children their age, but they have the capability and potential to have normal intelligence. They are also easily overwhelmed by their senses. One of their senses, whether it be smell, sight, sound or taste, easily dominate their attention and this does not allow them to focus on anything else. With the help of various computer software that are being developed especially for the children with autism, their cognitive and sensory areas will improve through auditory and visual programs.

The effectiveness of this method was proved by a case study sponsored by a support group of parents of children with autism early this year. They wanted to find out other easier and more effective ways to teach the children with autism. The results were impressive. It has been observed that children who use educational computer software have improved memory, develop and expand their language and comprehension and understand basic objects and actions. Through the various tasks and activities they will encounter while using the software. This research also found out that most of the children with autism easily learn from the computer.

Parents and family of children with autism are being encouraged to show their support to the kid with autism while he learns. This will affect their socialization skills and will make them feel that they are loved and being given importance. This will also give them the social motivation that they need.

by Craig Smithison III | tags : | 0


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Around the world in 80 Dollars (game & animation)
Characters are challenged to get around the world on a set budget and within so many days. They have to make decisions regarding rate of money exchange (dollars to pesos) and time (Balloon which is cheaper but slower or jet which is faster but more expensive).

In the animation, a documentary format will follow three teams view their mistakes in adjusting rates, their choices in getting around, and ending with the status of the three teams. The ratio winners come home to great fanfare. The inept team is stranded in the desert trying to negotiate with a camel.

In the game, the player is challenged to get around the world in the fewest days. At any point in the game, there is no right answer, but it impacts the rest of the game. You can play several times, but exchange rates change daily.

Unit Mockumentary (animation)
Animation looks at the history of measurement that starts with “the foot” … which was the size of the foot of the king. This sounded great, until the king realized he had to actually take his foot out to measure everything (like the foot-long hot dog). Then, that king died, and another king came whose foot was 4/5ths the size … the entire kingdom had to be rebuilt to 4/5ths the original size. This king died. Facing another rebuild, it was decided that no person could rule unless their foot was exactly the same size as the previous king and a standard was born.

P.S. in another kingdom, the metric system was established that made it all much easier. We could also parallel two kingdoms throughout, showing the ratios of different things based on the units used.

Size sleuthing (animation)
By looking at a single image where the size of one thing is known, it is possible to use scale to compute the sizes of other items in the picture. In this animation: We follow a private detective that solves a crime (may be as simple as cookie stealing) by looking at pictures and applying scale to images to determine size of something and finds the true thief.
Number Rights (animation)
In the short clip, we see different numbers (fractions, decimals, negative numbers) at a rights rally where they argue that they are just as valid and should be treated as well as whole numbers.
Numberline Treasure Hunt: (game)
Given a number line and a location of the treasure (find the treasure at 4/5ths), the player scrolls and estimates where to dig. If they dig and get it, they get a point. They can get hints that are markers that may help them for example, they could get. .3 as a marker to find 6/9ths.
Wholey Guacamole: (game)
Similar to Wholey Moley, the player rolls around a screen to pick up ingredients for guacamole. The recipe includes round things (avocado), cylindrical things (green onions) and square things (lime juice in a container) in the right ratio. If you go over in one of the things (green onion), the recipe doubles, and you have to pick up twice as much as the other things.
Uber Entomologist: (animation)
Like Spiderman, the main character has been bitten by so many different radioactive bugs, she has adopted the buglike characteristics of many of them. The story follows her going through her day to day activities of carrying the car to work, jumping like a flea. We see the ratio of what she can do in rate (part to part and whole to part). It ends with her doing something bug like that has nothing to do with rate, but is funny (eats mate, stink bug or something).
Bad Date: (animation)
Ratio concepts are discussed in everyday conversations where words are counted. It may be re-envisioned as computer date or the parrot that wouldn’t shut up.
by Craig Smithison III | tags : | 0


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Resources that are being created for the MATRIX Project use underlying design principles that reflect a set of learning philosophies and beliefs.
Active Learning - Active learning helps the learner gain resources to prepare for future learning and problem solving.

Meaning is situated - Meaning depends on the context and the situation in which it is used.

Motivation and effort - The learner must achieve some meaningful success when he or she expends effort.

Time on task - More time on task affords the learner more practice.

Flow - Flow allows the learner to operate on the outer edges of his/her capacity. 

Identities - The work is flexible to allow learners to inject their own identity, leading to ownership and variety. 

Guided inquiry - Guided inquiry provides learners with reasonable boundaries, encouraging exploration within parameters. 

Collaboration - Collaboration and competition can be used to motivate learners.

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Goal A: Project Development and Management. Ensure the project accomplishes its objectives through collaboration, accountability, quality control and project management.

Goal B: Research Based SES Curriculum Using EMTs. Develop a middle school research and evidence-based mathematics and reading SES curriculum integrating emerging mobile technologies related to the specific needs of low-performing, disadvantaged students.

Goal C: Conduct Research-Based Professional Development at the Intensive Sites. Provide research-based professional development for middle school reading and mathematics teachers in order to conduct the MATRIX SES program and to improve classroom practice focused on improving student achievement in rural and urban schools not meeting their Annual Yearly Progress.

Goal D: Implement the SES Program and Evaluate It with a Scientifically-Based Design. Develop, implement and evaluate the MATRIX SES Program for reading and math using emerging mobile technologies and online assessment for low-performing Title I students in urban and rural schools not meeting their Annual Yearly Progress for two years or more, using rigorous scientifically based research methods and online student assessment to determine its effectiveness.

Goal E: Use State and National Networks to Grow and Sustain the Work of the Project. Use partnerships, statewide infrastructures, and national networks to support the project, provide services to additional schools, disseminate its programs, and sustain after the funding period.

Goal F: Evaluation Design and Methods. Use evaluation designs and methods to improve the project, measure its progress and determine the effectiveness of the MATRIX SES Program.

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In middle school mathematics, MATRIX will focus on three difficult-to-teach and learn areas of:

  • Ratio, Proportion and Percentages
  • Linear Equations
  • Data, Statistics and Probability

In middle school reading, MATRIX will focus on reading in the content area of mathematics, vocabulary and comprehension in the targeted areas above.


  • Development of curriculum units and games using the emerging technologies of PDAs, iPods and digital video
  • Use of Quantum Simulation’s online Artificial Intelligence Assessment Advisors and Tutors, and First-in-Math online games to improve student achievement
  • Professional development for classroom teachers in ensure that lessons are taught effectively for conceptual understanding and that students have productive learning that leads to achievement
  • Mathematics content and pedagogy, reading in the content area, use of assessment, and use of the products identified above in both in their classroom and after-school programs
  • A different group of teachers and facilitators will use the products in an extended day (Supplemental
    Education Services) program

Dissemination in 3 to 5 Years 

  • Extended training and dissemination to reach preservice and inservice teachers and middle school students
  • Disseminate through state systems, high-speed networks, conferences and workshops
  • Focus on the partner states, and the dissemination states of Mississippi, Massachusetts, Texas and Puerto Rico
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After careful review, the MATRIX project has identified three types of emerging mobile technology to be used in the project: PDAs, iPods and digital video.  These are small mobile units that are rapidly evolving in their capabilities, decreasing in cost, and for which substantive educational uses are beginning to emerge.  Technologies and their application in education will converge and evolve during the life of this project, and MATRIX will continue to monitor and adjust the project activities to reflect this volatile environment.
by Craig Smithison III | tags : | 0


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Success in reading and mathematics is based on process skills that incorporate the integration of contextual information with prior knowledge to produce meaning.  Many students learn mathematics void of context, relying on memorization skills rather than developing an understanding of the content in the context of the skills that are being called upon.  Rarely do middle school mathematics teachers provide learning opportunities to develop students’ academic English skills or communicate mathematical knowledge.

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Through No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the U.S. Department of Education significantly raises expectations for States, local educational agencies, and schools in that all students are expected to meet or exceed State standards in reading and math within 12 years. Under NCLB, each State establishes a definition of “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) to use each year to determine the achievement of each school district and school. MATRIX targets schools that have not met their yearly AYP targets for at least two years.

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MATRIX is developing professional development that can benefit certified teachers as well as uncertified individuals who work in after school programs at schools and offsite locations by giving them experiences that prepare them to use MATRIX materials with middle school students successfully.

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The term “supplemental educational services” (SES) refers to extra help in academic subjects, such as reading, language arts and mathematics, provided free of charge to students in targeted schools not meeting annual performance goals. These services are provided outside the regular school day — before or after school, on weekends, or in the summer.

MATRIX is developing materials that will be interesting and fun for students and will help insure their attendance and participation in SES programs. These products feature mathematic concepts that provide a foundation for learning Algebra and more advanced mathematics in the context of simulations and real-world problems.

by Craig Smithison III | tags : | 0