design + development for learning

We design and develop custom learning environments. We work collaboratively with our clients to identify learning goals and develop innovative solutions.

This is a small sampling of recent work:

Exploring Character Education through Immersive Exhibits

Children learn through stories. We conceived, designed, and developed an immersive interactive exhibit in which young visitors take on the role of frogs in an allegorical story of societal conflicts that touch upon themes of being a bystander or taking a stand. As frogs, visitors must make a decision to pursue their own self interest or to protect the overall peace of the pond community. Through cycles of play and reflection, visitors draw parallels between their game experience and the real world.

Immersive Interactive Museum Exhibits

“Take a Stand” | Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

Learning Science through Physical Play

Research teams at UCLA and Indiana University were interested in using the physicality of socio-dramatic play to help students develop science concepts.

We helped them realize their research and learning goals via the design and development of immersive interactives. We developed a simulation platform (linked to UCLA's OpenPTrack motion tracking system) that lets kids control particles in states of matter, a robot in a game, and bees as they forage and pollinate. As the kids move around the play space, their avatars on screen move with them.

Multiplayer Immersive Applications

“Science through Technology Enhanced Play” |
UCLA: Noel Enyedy, Jeff Burke | Indiana University: Joshua Danish

Helping Researchers & Documentarians Work with Digital Video

When we were graduate students, we found that there weren't any software applications that could help you simply and flexibly work with digital video, so we created our own. Soon after we started Inquirium, we realized that others might find these simple tools useful and so InqScribe was born.

InqScribe makes it easy to control video playback as you transcribe, take notes, and insert timecodes. You can then export your transcript to YouTube or Vimeo, or even create subtitled movies.

InqScribe is available at

Desktop Applications (Transcription)

InqScribe | Inquirium

Mobile Apps for Conferences

We have designed and developed mobile applications for three academic conferences. In 2010, we produced an iPhone app for the International Conference of the Learning Sciences. The app provides access to the full conference program, including session information, paper abstracts, maps, and the ability to “favorite” sessions to build a dynamic, personalized conference schedule.

In 2013, we produced a conference web app for the Computer-supported Collaborative Learning conference. The move to an offline-compatible web app was intended to provide access to more devices while providing the same feature set as the ICLS 2010 app.

Mobile Applications

International Conference of the Learning Sciences

Helping teachers and administrators track the progress of student literacy development

STEP™ Literacy Assessment Visualizer was developed for the University of Chicago's Center for Urban School Improvement. The Visualizer facilitates teachers in exploring reading behavior patterns of individual students or group of students in a class, grade or school. Teachers can explore reading behavior patterns of a group of students receiving specific literacy support services or students sharing characteristics such as ethnicity, gender and/or social economic status. The visualizer is currently in use by schools nationwide.

Web Applications (Data Visualization)

STEP™ Assess | UChicago Impact / Urban Education Institute / University of Chicago

Helping students learn how to read challenging texts

An expert reader brings a wealth of background knowledge and skills to bear as they tackle challenging texts. To help students become expert readers, we worked with researchers at Northwestern University and University of Illinois at Chicago to develop a tool that helps students read challenging texts. Students use a variety of annotation and organization tools that help them make sense of their reading. Curriculum authors "seed" a text with guiding questions and background information so students can work independently.

Web Application (Scaffolded eReader)

Sensemaking in the Disciplines | UIC, Northwestern U.

For more information about any of these projects, or to talk through your design needs, please contact us!