Interactive computer acts like real teacher

March 4th, 2012 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 4 (IANS) An interactive computer is about to revolutionise teaching by being able to read and respond to a variety of human emotions that afflict students - as it were a live teacher.

“AutoTutor” can not only gauge the student’s level of knowledge, identifying and correcting misconceptions; responding to his questions, gripes, and comments; but also sense his or her boredom through facial expressions and helping them overcome those negative emotions.

“Most of the 20th-century systems required humans to communicate with computers through windows, icons, menus, and pointing devices,” said Sidney D’Mello, assistant professor of psychology and study co-author at the University of Notre Dame, the journal ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems reports.

“But humans have always communicated with each other through speech and a host of non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, eye contact, posture, and gesture, said D’Mello, who specializes in human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence in education, according to a Notre Dame statement.

“In addition to enhancing the content of the message, the new technology provides information regarding the cognitive states, motivation levels, and social dynamics of the students,” said D’Mello, who worked with colleagues from the University of Memphis and Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the project.

AutoTutor, an Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) helps students learn complex technical content in Newtonian physics, computer literacy, and critical thinking by holding a conversation in natural language.

It also answering students’ questions, keeping them engaged with images, animations, and simulations, not to mention its emotion-sensitive capabilities by monitoring facial features, body language, and conversational cues; regulating negative states such as frustration and boredom; etc.

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