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Pedagogical Agents: Back to the Future

AI Magazine

Back in the 1990s we started work on pedagogical agents, a new user interface paradigm for interactive learning environments. Pedagogical agents are autonomous characters that inhabit learning environments and can engage with learners in rich, face-to-face interactions. Building on this work, in 2000 we, together with our colleague, Jeff Rickel, published an article on pedagogical agents that surveyed this new paradigm and discussed its potential. We made the case that pedagogical agents that interact with learners in natural, life-like ways can help learning environments achieve improved learning outcomes. This article has been widely cited, and was a winner of the 2017 IFAAMAS Award for Influential Papers in Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS, 2017). On the occasion of receiving the IFAAMAS award, and after twenty years of work on pedagogical agents, we decided to take another look at the future of the field. We’ll start by revisiting our predictions for pedagogical agents back in 2000, and examine which of those predictions panned out. Then, informed what we have learned since then, we will take another look at emerging trends and the future of pedagogical agents. Advances in natural language dialogue, affective computing, machine learning, virtual environments, and robotics are making possible even more lifelike and effective pedagogical agents, with potentially profound effects on the way people learn.


Natural Language Processing for Enhancing Teaching and Learning

AAAI Conferences

Advances in natural language processing (NLP) and educational technology, as well as the availability of unprecedented amounts of educationally-relevant text and speech data, have led to an increasing interest in using NLP to address the needs of teachers and students. Educational applications differ in many ways, however, from the types of applications for which NLP systems are typically developed. This paper will organize and give an overview of research in this area, focusing on opportunities as well as challenges.


Artificial Intelligence in Education Market to Grow at an Impressive CAGR of 39% Through 2020, Says Technavio

#artificialintelligence

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the latest market study released by Technavio, the global artificial intelligence in education market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 39% during the forecast period. This research report titled'Global Artificial Intelligence in Education Market 2016-2020' provides an in-depth analysis of the market in terms of revenue and emerging market trends. This market research report also includes an up to date analysis and forecasts for various market segments and all geographical regions. "High student dropout rates coupled with macro-economic pressure to strengthen the general education levels is pushing educational institutions to adopt mechanisms to improve learning quality. Institutions are investing in artificial intelligence technologies, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, to positively impact the education industry," says Jhansi Mary, a lead analyst at Technavio for education technology research.


AI in Education needs interpretable machine learning: Lessons from Open Learner Modelling

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Interpretability of the underlying AI representations is a key raison d'\^{e}tre for Open Learner Modelling (OLM) -- a branch of Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) research. OLMs provide tools for 'opening' up the AI models of learners' cognition and emotions for the purpose of supporting human learning and teaching. Over thirty years of research in ITS (also known as AI in Education) produced important work, which informs about how AI can be used in Education to best effects and, through the OLM research, what are the necessary considerations to make it interpretable and explainable for the benefit of learning. We argue that this work can provide a valuable starting point for a framework of interpretable AI, and as such is of relevance to the application of both knowledge-based and machine learning systems in other high-stakes contexts, beyond education.


Artificial Intelligence Is Poised to Expand in Higher Education

#artificialintelligence

"Are you replacing me with a robot?" Bryan Fendley, an artificial intelligence expert and the director of instructional technology and web services at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, has heard this line for years. "Faculty members are worried they're going to be traded in for a computer or the internet," he says. Seventy-three percent of Americans believe AI will eliminate more jobs than it will create, according to a poll by Gallup and Northeastern University. Still, 74 percent say AI will have a positive effect on their lives.