Collaborating Authors

Gesturing and Embodiment in Teaching: Investigating the Nonverbal ‎Behavior of Teachers in a Virtual Rehearsal Environment ‎

AAAI Conferences

Interactive training environments typically include feedback mechanisms designed to help trainees improve their performance through either guided or self-reflection. In this context, trainees are candidate teachers who need to hone their social skills as well as other pedagogical skills for their future classroom. We chose an avatar-mediated interactive virtual training system–TeachLivE–as the basic research environment to investigate the motions and embodiment of the trainees. Using tracking sensors, and customized improvements for existing gesture recognition utilities, we created a gesture database and employed it for the implementation of our real-time gesture recognition and feedback application. We also investigated multiple methods of feedback provision, including visual and haptics. The results from the conducted user studies and user evaluation surveys indicate the positive impact of the proposed feedback applications and informed body language. In this paper, we describe the context in which the utilities have been developed, the importance of recognizing nonverbal communication in the teaching context, the means of providing automated feedback associated with nonverbal messaging, and the preliminary studies developed to inform the research.

A Visualization of Dementia Care Skills Based on Multimodal Communication Features

AAAI Conferences

We have developed a visualization system of dementia care skills based on multimodal communication features. The purpose of our system is to provide effective learning of dementia care to trainees. As dementia care skills are difficult to visualize and describe, they are hard to acquire for trainees. We focus on HumanitudeR; a non-pharmacological comprehensive intervention with verbal and non-verbal communication, which is a care methodology of French-origin for the vulnerable elderlies. The multimodal methodology utilizes four techniques to relate to elderly with dementia (i.e., gaze, speak, touch, opportunities to stand on their feet). We analyzed the care videos of Humanitude instructors to extract multimodal communication features. We designed and filmed video contents demonstrating the extracted features. These have shown to be effective, in combination with practice and reflection, to acquire dementia care skills. The trainees could use the system for self-reflection and teaching.

SAMHT — Suicidal Avatars for Mental Health Training

AAAI Conferences

Psychosocial assessments and treatments are effective for a range of psychological problems.One particular area of concern is youth suicide. This paper reports on the SAMHT intelligent tutoring system, which provides youth suicide risk assessment training.SAMHT's interactive avatar interface is based on an intelligent backend, and provides a believable interaction that is effective for training mental health professionals.

Integrating Learner Help Requests Using a POMDP in an Adaptive Training System

AAAI Conferences

This paper describes the development and empirical testing of an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) with two emerging methodologies: (1) a partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP) for representing the learner model and (2) inquiry modeling, which informs the learner model with questions learners ask during instruction. POMDPs have been successfully applied to non-ITS domains but, until recently, have seemed intractable for large-scale intelligent tutoring challenges. New, ITS-specific representations leverage common regularities in intelligent tutoring to make a POMDP practical as a learner model. Inquiry modeling is a novel paradigm for informing learner models by observing rich features of learners’ help requests such as categorical content, context, and timing. The experiment described in this paper demonstrates that inquiry modeling and planning with POMDPs can yield significant and substantive learning improvements in a realistic, scenario-based training task.

Will robots soon be conducting pupil-assessments?


Might such things as school examinations, tests, marked classwork and progress checks soon all be a thing of the past? They will be if Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner-Centred Design at the Knowledge Lab at the University College, London (UCL) Institute of Education, has her way. She argues that the way school pupils are assessed today is unsatisfactory. "Decades of research have shown that knowledge and understanding cannot be rigorously evaluated through a series of 90-minute exams. The prevailing exam paradigm is stressful, unpleasant, can turn students away from education, and requires that both students and teachers take time away from learning.