The MindStars Books project is our attempt to help invent a future in which every child has their own virtual tutor. The MindStars Books Toolkit, MSB-TK, is designed to enable researchers, teachers, parents, students—essentially anyone who desires– to create and publish their own books in which children learn language, reading and reasoning skills, and achieve a deep understanding of classroom subjects. To date, MindStars Books have been evaluated in classrooms in the U.S. and in Finland. In Colorado and Texas, Marni has narrated multimedia science presentations in English and Spanish to kindergarten, first and second grade students, and assessed their understanding during question-answer dialogs. At Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Texas, bilingual education teachers in a class taught by Dr. Doris Baker learned to create science and social studies books which children used in their classrooms. In Jyväskylä Finland, Marni spoke Finnish to 64 first grade children who improved their understanding of life science in six MindStars books.
MindStars Books have been under development at BLT since September 2012, with support from an NSF Science Across Virtual Institutions (SAVI) program, Innovations in Education and Learning. Our SAVI project, called GROMINDS, partners researchers in the U.S. at BLT, SMU and Pepperdine University with researchers at the University of Jyväskylä in Jyväskylä Finland. Further information about the GROMINDS project and MindStars Books can be found in the SAVI GROMINDS Webinar presentation, which includes a video of how the MSB-TK can be used to create and publish MindStars Books. A recent NSF SBIR proposal describes our vision, plans and scientific rationale for MindStars Books.
A comprehensive review of the MSB project can be seen here.