from the Director's Desk

Musings about school library media and instructional technology programs from NCDPI's Instructional Technology Divison.  Subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Is she really a teacher?

This is just too good not to share! I'm still uncertain how I feel about this, but it just boggles my mind, especially the part about training the computer to recognize students' expressions. We've always said that the computer cannot replace the teacher . . .

New Zealand Gives Birth to it First Virtual Teacher

A research team based at the Auckland Institute of Information and Mathematical Sciences has developed a near-human animated teacher and says the development has drawn the attention of scientists across the computing world. Eve, an attractive blonde, is able to respond to children’s moods and is being hailed as a critical tool in the expanding long-distance learning market.

Eve, intended to teach math one-on-one to 8 year olds, is what is known in the information sciences as an affective tutoring system; designed to adapt its responses to the emotional state of people by interaction through a computer system.

Linked to a child via computer, the virtual teacher can tell if the child is frustrated, angry or confused by the on-screen teaching session and can adapt the tutoring session appropriately. Eve can ask questions, give feedback, discuss questions and solutions and show emotion.

In developing the software, the Massey team observed children and their interactions with teachers and captured them on thousands of images. From these images they developed programs that would capture and recognize facial expression, body movement, and via a mouse, heart rate and skin resistance. The system uses a network of computer systems, mainly embedded devices, to detect student emotion and thought to e the first if its type. (from Public School Forum's Friday Report, 11/30/07)