Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Education Week WAYANG feature

Wayang Outpost, the experimental math tutoring system that I'm animating characters for, has been featured in Education Week (with my name completely omitted from the article! To be fair the article is more about the affect of the characters rather than the characters themselves)

Anyways, check it out if you want to see what I do for my quasi day job (plus a really pixelated image of Jane):

A high school student is working on a geometry problem with her tutor, “Jane.” The student solves the problem incorrectly and expresses frustration. Empathetic, Jane shows momentary frustration, too.

Then she responds encouragingly, “Let’s read again what the problem is asking.”

This scene would not be out of place in most educational environments were it not for one important detail: Jane is a character on a computer screen.

Developed by teams of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Arizona State University in Tempe, the computer tutor in this scenario is part of a growing number of research projects around the country looking to build a social and emotional support system into intelligent-tutoring systems. Powered by artificial-intelligence technology, intelligent tutors have been around for decades, and some are beginning to make their way into regular classroom use. Cognitive Tutor, one of the oldest and best known of such programs, for instance, now operates in 2,600 schools around the country

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