Self-Explanatory Simulators for Middle-School Science Education: A Progress Report Kenneth D. Forbus

AAAI Conferences

Creating new kinds of educational software has been one motivation for qualitative physics. Our research has brought us to the stage where we are now creating such software, and focusing some of our efforts on investigating how its educational benefits can be optimized. This essay describes one architecture of the three that we are developing: The incorporation of self-explanatory simulators into active illustrations, systems that provide an environment for guided experimentation. We start by examining why qualitative physics is useful for science education, and then describe the active illustrations architecture. We then discuss some of the issues that have arisen in moving our software from laboratory to classroom, and our plans for deployment.


Formal Measures of Learning in a Secondary School Mobile Robotics Course

AAAI Conferences

During the summer of 2002, Robotic Autonomy was taught to thirty students at Carnegie Mellon West in cooperation with NASA/Ames (Moffett Field, CA). The authors at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute and at the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center planned a methodology for formally evaluating the educational efficacy of Robotic Autonomy. This article describes the educational analysis methodology and the statistically significant results of our analysis, demonstrating the positive impact of Robotic Autonomy on student learning beyond the boundaries of specific technical concepts in robotics. Educational robotics is gaining traction at all levels of the educational system, however formal analysis of its effectiveness has been lacking. This research project seeks to address this weakness by presenting statistically significant evidence of broad learning.


Steve Jobs' widow is giving two L.A. teachers 10 million to start a school for homeless and foster youth

Los Angeles Times

Instead of going to school, school will come to you. That's the prize-winning idea behind RISE High, a proposed Los Angeles charter high school designed to serve homeless and foster children whose educations are frequently disrupted. Los Angeles educators Kari Croft, 29, and Erin Whalen, 26, who came up with the idea, won 10 million in XQ: The Super School Project, a high school redesign competition funded by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs. RISE is one of 10 10-million winning school projects nationwide. Winners receive the prize money over five years.


Why is the military doing medical training on live animals? California lawmakers are asking.

Los Angeles Times

Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) and Joe Heck (R-Nevada) and nearly 70 bipartisan members of the U.S. House want to know how the military plans to stop using live animals in medical combat-trauma training. The Department of Defense began scaling back the use of pigs, goats, monkeys, chickens and other animals as part of its medical training in 2015. A letter from Speier and Heck, signed by the others, points to recent research by the Department of Defense that using simulated human tissue rather than live animals is cheaper and provides better training. "The Department of Defense has the responsibility to provide the best available combat preparation to its medics. But according to its own studies, simulations are more effective than maiming and killing animals for medical training," Speier said in a news release.


Anomalies in Students Enrollment Using Visualization

AAAI Conferences

In recent years, data visualization has gained popularity as a method for discovering anomalies. In this paper, we study the application of visualization to anomaly detection in student enrollments by race, particularly in elementary and secondary education. We use data from the U.S. Department of Education that measures each state’s progress towards implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and also contains details for state level grant programs authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the NCLB. We demonstrate that a data visualization approach is able to effectively discover interesting anomalies in student enrollment among different states in the United States. We also use visualization to study anomalous patterns in various federal funding initiatives at the state level. In summary, we show that visualizations aide in the discovery of interesting patterns and anomalies.