The mission of the Laboratory for Visual Learning (LVL) is to improve the ways technology better helps people. To create compassionate technology: to help technology find its heart.
We do this by investigating how differences in the brain (whether inherited or developed through learning) alter insights and capabilities people bring to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
An important focus of this research investigates how technology can foster the exchange of information between people and machines, given wide ranging differences in the neurology of individuals (including dyslexia, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders). One aspect of this seeks to reengineer the technology we use for reading, to make this process more efficient and effective for all.
The mission of the LVL is largely supported by generous gifts from individuals and charitable organizations.
Our current focus was enabled by a major gift to UMass Boston made possible by Boon Philanthropy, Inc. Prior funding was provided by the Smithsonian Institution, research grants from the National Science Foundation, and private sources such as the Annenberg Foundation, the George E. Burch Foundation, and the Youth Access Grant Program at Smithsonian, exceeding $40M since our work began in 1979.
- Project LENS: Leveraging Expertise in Neurotechnologies to Study Individual Differences in Multimedia Learning. Employ novel methods and neuroimaging technologies to investigate multimedia learning in order to address the gap in knowledge developing in this field. (A grant from the National Science Foundation to Grant to University of Florida Gainesville, 2015, NSF 1540888)
- Reformulation of the LVL Mission. A major donation has enabled the current mission focus, realized by establishing the LVL at the UMass Boston Computer Science Department, in collaboration with members of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. (Good Samaritan, 2014)
- IncTech Olympiad: Teaching skills for technological self-efficacy. This work will lead to a program inviting students grades 7-12 to devise creative ways of using low-cost “inclusive technologies” (IncTech) designed for everyone so they become particularly helpful for people with learning disabilities. (Smithsonian Youth Access Grant, 2012)
- Annenberg Learner: Neuroscience and the Classroom: Making Connections. In this program, findings from neuroscience research are presented by key neuroscientists, offering educators new lenses through which to view common problems in the classroom, empowering them to create their own solutions to everyday challenges. (Annenberg Learner, 2012).
- Handheld Devices to Enable Reading. The LVL/SAO has developed an innovative reading methodology using widely available technology. This project paves the way for large-scale implementation of the method by researching how to overcome obstacles to its adoption in under-resourced schools and communities. (Smithsonian Youth Access Grant, 2012)
- Investigating a Framework for STEM-Reading to Support Secondary School Students with Reading Disabilities. This project investigates the effectiveness of a new technological reading methodology for improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) reading comprehension and fluency of high school students with dyslexia as compared to traditional paper reading. (National Science Foundation, HRD 1131039, 2012)
- George E. Burch Fellowship in Theoretical Medicine and Affiliated Sciences. Structured after the MacArthur Fellows Program, this award, honoring LVL Director Matthew H. Schneps, supports ongoing activities at LVL. (George E. Burch Foundation, 2012)
- Investigating Strengths Those With Learning Differences Bring to STEM. This exploratory project will advance knowledge about how the neurological differences associated with dyslexia in undergraduate students can lead to advantages for visual processing and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). (National Science Foundation, HRD 0930962, 2010).
- The Effects of Dyslexia on Scientists’ Analysis of Astrophysical Data. This project investigates the hypothesis that scientists who have dyslexia may have particular advantages when working with computer imaging displays. This work addresses the need to demonstrate that certain disabling conditions, such as dyslexia, may in fact help researchers in science, rather than act as barriers to success. (National Science Foundation, HRD 0226354, 2007)
This site includes material based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. HRD 1131039. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.