I direct the 2 Sigma Learning Lab, which focuses on the design and development of technologies that improve higher-order thinking, motivation, and learning by personalizing support to an individual’s needs and context. The following are our active projects.

Social Dialogue and Entrainment in a Teachable Robot

How should a robot speak in order to socially engage learners? In this project, students explain equation solving problems to a robot. The robot listens to the students and responds by asking questions and stating comments about the problems, all while using its tone of voice to build a connection with the student. Through this work, we are learning how to effectively adapt an agent’s tone of voice and dialogue to each learner as well as developing a better understanding of the differential effects those adaptations have on male and female students.

Recent publications: HRI 2016, ASRU 2015
Collaborators: Nichola Lubold, Heather Pon-Barry


EMBRACE: Enhanced Moved by Reading to Accelerate Comprehension in English

How can we improve the English reading comprehension of native Spanish speakers in primary school? We combine theories of embodied education, bilingual instruction, and personalized learning to develop EMBRACE, an iPad application for English language learning based on the Moved by Reading intervention. In EMBRACE, children read stories and move images corresponding to the story text. The system provides them with help in both Spanish and English, assesses their vocabulary and syntactic knowledge, provides them with tailored feedback, and adapts the texts they receive based on their abilities. We have demonstrated that EMBRACE improves reading comprehension over typical reading activities.

Video: EMBRACEProjectVideo.mp4
Collaborators: Art Glenberg, Laida Restrepo, Ashley Adams, Sarah Fialko, Ligia Gomez, Audrey Wong, James Rodriguez, Jithin Roy


Designing the Postdigital Textbook

Given current advances in learning technologies, how can we improve digital textbook design? We are engaging in several parallel activities to develop a set of design principles for digital textbooks, including a review of learning theories as they apply to textbook design, participatory design workshops with high school students, and the construction and evaluation of technology prototypes.

Video: Concept Mapping Prototype
Recent publications: ICLS 2016, AIED 2015, CSCL 2014
Collaborators: Ruth Wylie, Ed Finn, Shang Wang, Medha Dalal


Facilitating Large-Scale Creativity

How does teaching a robot influence student knowledge and motivation? How can large groups of people realize their full creative potential during ideation sessions? This project uses the latest developments in crowdsourcing, information visualization, and data mining in order to facilitate synchronous, large-scale, online creative collaborations. This research will result in a flexible system that facilitates exploration and decision making in large groups, while adaptively supporting individual ideators in their creative processes.

Recent publications: CSCW 2016, CHI 2017, CSCW 2017
Collaborators: Victor Girotto, Win Burleson


Robo-Tangible Activities for Geometry

How does teaching a robot influence student knowledge and motivation? Middle school students give Quinn, an autonomous Lego Mindstorms robot with an iPod Touch face, instructions on how to solve coordinate geometry problems. Quinn follows their instructions, and responds with prompts (“In (4, 0), does the 4 tell me to move on the x-axis or on the y-axis?”), and social statements (“We worked hard to solve that problem.”) This work investigates the benefits of interacting with a robot compared to a virtual agent, and how these benefits relate to students’ prior knowledge.

Video: TAG.m4v
Recent publications: ICALT 2016, CHI 2016
Collaborators: Kasia Muldner, Victor Girotto, Cecil Lozano, Win Burleson