These two undergrads need your vote in the NSERC Science, Action! contest

Helping Kids with Numbers
(Image: YouTube video)

Two undergraduate students in the Faculty of Health have been shortlisted for NSERC’s Science, Action! video contest, and are looking for support from the York community to win one of 15 cash prizes.

(Image: YouTube video)

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has selected the top 40 entries of short, creative videos designed to “get Canadians excited about science and engineering research”, which are open to public voting for the month of February.

Among the finalists are two York U psychology undergrads, Jongjin Kim and Sara Golbidy, who created a video to share their inquiry on developing a computerized game to help students with a math learning disability.

“The focus of our video was to tell the viewers a story about NSERC and Neuropsylab working together to develop a computerized cognitive game that may aid in helping students with Dyscalculia, a type of learning disability that is not very well known,” said Kim.

(Image: YouTube video)

The students, who work with Adjunct Professor Marie Arsalidou (adjunct) and Professor Emeritus Juan Pascual-Leone, both agreed on using a “draw my life” format for the video, which consists of drawings on a black/white board to depict the narration.

“The whole process was quite simple,” said Kim. “We prepared the script and then we started making drawings. We decided to figure out what to draw ahead of time so it would be easier drawing while filming. However, neither of us felt like were are very strong at drawing, so we changed our minds and decided to make a notebook with all the drawings pre-drawn. In the end, the video came out to be like telling a story to the viewers with a story book. We are very happy with how it turned out.”

(Image: YouTube video)

Their goal is to raise more awareness of Dyscalculia, and to inspire researchers and educators to look into developing and implementing interventions.

The title of the video – Helping Kids with Numbers – has dual meaning, said Kim.

“It can mean that we want to help kids with learning numbers, but it can also means that we want to help kids using numbers. We hope that the number game will ultimately help in better diagnoses of Dyscalculia, allowing the schools to provide proper aids to the kids having problem learning numbers.”

Voting is open for the month of February, and more about the contest is available here. When voting closes, the 25 videos with the most views will proceed to a judges panel and will compete for one of 15 cash prizes.

“We would like to thank Dr. Arsalidou for her guidance letting us know about this great opportunity,” said Kim, “and we would also like to thank all the team members for their great work with this project.”

Arsalidou said she’s impressed with her students’ work on the video.

“I am happy that my students entered and impressed by how they summarized a five-year multi-study project in a one-minute video,” she said. “Professor Pascual-Leone, who is a collaborator on our grant, and myself are fortunate to be working with such talented students.”