Feb 242011

The Learning Asset Technology Integration Support Tool (LATIST) enables faculty to integrate innovative and advanced learning technologies such as social media, mobile technologies, games, simulations, and virtual worlds into their online and technology supported course designs. Specifically, LATIST has three components:
• Explore Research, which allows users to explore what the research says about a specific advanced learning technology (ALT) and examine its advantages, disadvantages, and best practices in teaching and learning contexts.
• Select Best Technology, which allows users to select instructional strategies and technologies based on course objectives and factors such as bandwidth and budget.
• Apply Technology, which allows users to view real-world examples of ALT use in educational and training settings, as well as practice using a selected technology.

LATIST is a 2010 SLOAN-C Effective Practice award winner and was developed in 2009–10 as a result of funding provided by the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command to support research on ALT for the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). The goals of LATIST are to facilitate decision making among DAU faculty and staff by providing a pedagogically driven decision support tool; a repository of research on technology use in government, business, and education; and access to information on how to integrate technology within learning assets. LATIST is also designed as a method to raise awareness of technology options and provide a tool for faculty and staff to refer to when making learning technology decisions.

Mason’s Office of Technology Transfer submitted a patent application for LATIST in fall 2010 with the U.S. Patent Office, and LATIST is currently patent-pending. In addition, LATIST has been adopted by Mason’s Office of Distance Education and is being customized and contextualized to Mason’s distance learning needs.

LATIST was designed to be adaptive, scalable, extensible, and interoperable. Therefore, it provides a flexible and customizable platform for any learning organization that uses technology to support online and distance learning. These learning organizations can build out LATIST based on their specific pedagogical, technological, and institutional needs. LATIST could have a significant impact on the selection and integration of technology into online course design; however, it should be noted that such a tool must be maintained by its users to ensure currency and relevance. As research and resources on ALT are constantly growing and evolving, LATIST should be designed to encourage user interaction by embedding capabilities such as tagging, saving, sharing, and uploading within the tool to create a personal learning environment.

Original LATIST link:
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Submitted by Nada Dabbagh, associate professor of instructional technology, College of Education and Human Development

 Posted by at 4:03 pm
Feb 102011

Sixty-five 19th-century plaster casts of ancient western and eastern, medieval, and renaissance works of art were acquired from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and have been stored, cleaned, catalogued, mounted, copied, and exhibited on the Fairfax and Prince William Campuses. Students, faculty, and administrators collaborated on the project. Carol Mattusch, Mathy Professor of History and Art History and a world-renowned expert on ancient bronzes, spearheaded the acquisition of the plaster casts, which had been in storage for decades after the museum replaced its cast collection with original works of art.

Submitted by Carol Mattusch, Mathy Professor of Art History

Oct 052010

Poor sleep is a major health concern, especially with more than 30 million Americans suffering from insomnia. Just as diet and exercise, sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. Lack of sleep affects the immune, cardiovascular, cognitive, and digestive systems. That is why it is important for people to understand their individual sleep needs. Almost everyone can improve their sleep patterns by getting more deep sleep and sleeping the right amount. Since sleeping well can make for a more efficient and productive life, it is helpful to promote habits that lead to a better night’s sleep.

My team and I have developed a smart phone application to improve sleep and health by incorporating behavior tracking into an alarm clock application for iPhone and Android. The Proactive Sleep application has a range of solutions to help improve sleep. They include ambient music, muscle relaxation, the Miracle Sleep Ambient Music Loop, and the ability to track various habits in addition to sleep, such as exercise, diet, productivity, mood, caffeine use, alcohol use, and medication use. By analyzing these behaviors, we hope to provide users with personalized feedback to help them make the right decisions concerning their bedtime, in addition to other health-related choices.

Submitted by Daniel Gartenberg, human factors PhD student and founder of Proactive Life LLC

 Posted by at 9:25 am
Sep 082010

Online education isn’t just for college students anymore. In partnership with three Virginia school districts, Mason’s Graduate School of Education was responsible for creating the Online Academy, a virtual high school, in 2003.

Since it was developed, the Online Academy’s reach has expanded throughout the state. The program has been recognized as an innovative use of technology and won the 2006 Governor’s Technology Award in the Innovation in K–12 Education category.

Read Online Academy Provides Learning Option for Local High School Students

Read Online Academy Makes High School a Virtual Delight

 Posted by at 4:08 pm
Sep 082010

Land mines claim the lives of nearly 20,000 victims each year in 90 countries, and the U.S. State Department estimates that almost 50 million land mines worldwide remain to be cleared. Mason engineering professors Ken Hintz and Nathalia Peixoto are working on new ways to detect and identify land mines.

Using ground-penetrating radar that radiates an electromagnetic signal, the researchers are able to process the signal returned from the radar to produce a sequence of 1s and 0s that are unique for every object, including land mines. Hintz refers to the sequences as the “language of mines.”

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 Posted by at 4:06 pm
Sep 082010

Looking for DNA results in under one hour? Then look no further than the world’s smallest microwave oven. Created by researchers in Mason’s Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering, in collaboration with scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the device is intended for use as part of lab-on-a-chip devices, which integrate multiple laboratory functions on a single piece of equipment that is only millimeters to a few square centimeters in size.

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 Posted by at 4:05 pm
Sep 082010

It’s no secret we live in a world of information overload. With satellite images producing more information in one day than a person could analyze in several months, and millions of galaxies and other objects in space waiting to be classified and categorized, scientists are struggling to find new, transformative ways of doing their jobs.

At Mason, our scientists are working on citizen science projects that engage the general public in real scientific puzzles. One is called Galaxy Zoo: Mergers, which uses citizen scientists to categorize and model the more than one million galaxies of our universe with a few clicks of the keyboard.

Kirk Borne, associate professor of astrophysics and computational sciences, is working with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, a partnership with more than 30 other institutions that will help create a telescope that can make a 10-year-long “movie” of the section of sky visible from its perch atop a mountain in Chile. Borne and other researchers at Mason will engage citizen scientists in educational programs related to the telescope and its vast data collecting abilities. He hopes the project will become the telescope for everyone.

 Posted by at 4:01 pm
Sep 082010

In developing areas such as Bangladesh, Nepal, and West Bengal, India, village water wells often contain the poisonous element arsenic. In Bangladesh alone, more than 18 million people daily drink arsenic-contaminated water.

For Bangladesh native Abul Hussam, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Mason for more than 20 years, this threat hit close to home. After years of research and testing, Hussam and his brothers developed the SONO filter, which costs only $35 and lasts at least five years. Simple, inexpensive, and made with easily available materials, the filter won the National Academy of Engineering’s 2007 Grainger Prize of $1 million dollars. As of November 2010, more than 225,000 of these filters can be found in homes, schools, and businesses in Bangladesh, Nepal, and India.

View Abul Hussam’s Faculty Page

 Posted by at 4:00 pm
Sep 082010

Weathercasters can predict the next rain storm or cloudy day, and climate scientists can build models that show the Earth’s climate change over thousands of years. But what about short-term climate prediction over the next few decades?

Jagadish Shukla, who was a member of and lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that, along with Al Gore, was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, has been studying short-term climate predictability for many years.

Shukla researches the predictability of climate for seasons to decades. Because not much research has been done on decadal variations, Shukla believes this short-term climate variability becomes important when looking at climate change. He says it can help determine which climate variables are natural and which are human-induced.

Visit the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies site for more information.

 Posted by at 3:59 pm
Aug 302010

For decades, the construction of a computational model of the brain has been a kind of Holy Grail in neuroscience and computing. Through this research, Giorgio Ascoli and his team of researchers want to gain a better understanding of how mind and body connect and interact. The findings have potential biomedical implications in the study and treatment of debilitating diseases such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s, as well as the mental decline that comes with aging.

Ascoli also is working on understanding how the changes of neuronal anatomy similar to those occurring in Alzheimer’s patients may cause the impaired behavior of nerve cells at the basis of memory loss and dementia. His research may shed light on the basic mechanisms underlying the neuronal malfunction that typifies Alzheimer’s and related diseases

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 Posted by at 12:43 pm