Kizoom is creating an exciting world of memorable neuron characters to inspire school age children to know and grow their brains. Neuroscience is not emphasized in the K-12 public school curriculum and there is a particular lack of kid-friendly learning tools on neuroscience for 7-11 year olds. If funded, we will develop a unique set of educational materials for mobile electronic media to accompany our premiere eBook Ned the Neuron, a story about fun neuron characters firmly rooted in neurobiology, which we are currently producing. This new bundle of resources will use a motivating neuron avatar system and cutting edge mobile interactions (touch-screens, accelerometers, etc.) to get children excited about neuroscience and introduce them to core concepts about how their brains work.
We aim to: 1. Develop integrated lessons with real scientific data, scientist bios, and multi-level educational games, to turn our Ned the Neuron storybook into an effective educational tool;2. Develop a novel neuron avatar system - NeuroMe - through which children will earn points as they progress through the educational games and lessons allowing them to grow and develop their own personalized neuron character, which would further motivate learning;and 3. Test our products directly with kids to ensure that our approach does indeed raise interest in and knowledge of the nervous system in children of our target age group. In Phase II we will substantially expand our offering of educational eBooks and games to cover various topics in neuroscience, and develop a social networking component to our neuron avatar system - Build-A- Brain - wherein children will form connections (""""""""synapses"""""""") with other kids'neuron avatars as they learn about neuroscience in a massively multi-player online brain - a true social NETWORK. By motivating and facilitating children to understand and appreciate the biology of their own minds, we will encourage the next generation to nurture this vital organ. By depicting real and diverse positive scientist role models in our applications, with particular attention paid to female and minority role models, we will increase interest in this and other STEM subjects. And by inspiring children to learn about themselves and the world around them we will promote future careers in the sciences.

Public Health Relevance

Our Company Kizoom will inspire school age children to know and grow their brains by transforming our premiere storybook Ned the Neuron into an engaging educational toolkit for mobile electronic media. We will develop integrated educational lessons, games, and an innovative neuron avatar system, NeuroMe, that grows with the child's learning;personalizing the study of neuroscience and making kids WANT to discover more about their brains. Success in this endeavor will help give the next generation knowledge of their own minds, educating about how the brain works and promoting future careers in neuroscience.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Mann Koepke, Kathy M
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Kizoom Labs
United States
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