UH Curriculum Research & Development Group researcher awarded $900,000 grant for "Invention Factory" program

Program will help improve human-computer interaction for disabled and elderly persons

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Helen Au, (808) 956-4949
College of Education
Posted: May 1, 2006

HONOLULU — Tom Speitel and co-Primary Investigator Neil Scott, researchers with the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) in the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, have been awarded a three-year National Science Foundation research grant for the amount of $900,000.

The grant supports the establishment of a three-year youth based non-traditional program, titled "Invention Factory," that teaches information technology to Hawaiʻi teenagers through interactive hands-on projects that focus on electronics with embedded microcomputers. These projects are designed to improve human-computer interaction for disabled or elderly individuals. The targeted participant population will be 390 students in grades eight through 12 throughout the state.

The program seeks to stimulate interest in science and engineering careers among students currently underrepresented in those fields: women, native Hawaiians, students with disabilities, and "at risk" students. Another objective is that students learn enough about electronics, mechanics, mathematics, and computer programming to enable them to do need analysis, design, fabrication, and evaluation of devices that meet the needs of people who are disabled.

"The intellectual merit of the program is the creation of a blueprint for using accessibility and human factors as a tool to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects to teenagers," said Speitel. "The broader impact demonstrates that students who create technology-based solutions that impact people have substantially increased motivation to pursue careers in these subjects."

About the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG)

The Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) is an organized research unit in the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi. Since 1966, CRDG has served the educational community locally, nationally, and internationally by conducting research and creating, evaluating, disseminating, and supporting educational programs that serve students, teachers, and other educators in grades preK-12. CRDG also actively contributes to the body of professional knowledge and practice in teaching and learning, curriculum development, program dissemination and implementation, evaluation and assessment, and school improvement.