Sunday, March 2, 2008

Collaborative Storytelling with Avatars and Robots as Peers

I would like to draw your attention to the Research Projects of the ArticuLab at the School of Communication / School of Engineering at the Northwestern University.
At first glance the projects "Collaborative Storytelling with a Virtual Peer", "Storytelling with a virtual peer as an intervention for children with autism" and the project "Alex: Culturally Authentic Virtual Peer" seem to emphasize the benefit of using digital avatars in a learning process. This I suppose may chock many parents or teachers, but I find them most interesting because all these projects are based on a solid theoretical and conceptional framework on literacy development. The researchers emphasize the importance of collaboration, play, role-taking, imagination, storytelling, co-authoring and socio-cultural norms during language learning. Even for teachers or parents who are very critical about the use of computers in education it could be interesting to have a closer look at these research projects because they could help them better understand the mechanisms of learning in a given socio-cultural and/or educational environment and also how important it is for children to participate in collaborative literacy activities like narratives or play. If considered, the research projects could contribute to improve education even without the use of information technology because they offer new settings in which can be described the impact of social interaction and communication and of a child's imagination during the process of developing literacy skills.
The projects of the ArticuLab have a lot in common with the Aurora of the Adaptive Systems Research Group at the Science and Technology Research Institute at the University of Hertfordshire where researches have developed a humanoid robot called KASPAR instead of virtual peers and where they study its possible beneficial influence on children with learning difficulties or autism.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I am a student on the University of Luxembourg and i have read your article about "Collaborative storytelling with avatars and robots as peers". The article says, that the first aim of tis project is "storytelling with a virtual peer as an intervention for children with autism." I have done my internship at a school of diffentiated education for children with autistic handicaps and i can't really imagine that these children would communicate with a virtual peer. In fact, i would find it interesting, because this tool could help guiding the children to participate in conversations ans develop social skills. Even, this tool could lead us to a better understanding of the language learning processes of autistic children. But, i see quite a few difficulties concerning the motivation and the readiness of the chilren to communicate qith a peer on the computer.
    As i have known these children, they have problems to communicate. Most of these children never learn to communicate qith other people, because they don't understand the sense of "our" language and because they aren't interested in talking with other people.
    So, if this isn't possible with people, who are part of their daily social context, i can't really imagine how this could work with a computer...

    ReplyDelete

Some Reading Milestones

  • Towards reflexive method in archaeology : the example at Çatalhöyük (edited by Ian Hodder) 2000

  • The Book of Learning and Forgetting (Frank Smith) 1998

  • Points of Viewing Children's Thinking: A Digital Ethnographer's Journey (Ricki Goldman-Segall) 1997

  • Verstehen lehren (Martin Wagenschein) 1997

  • Computer im Schreibatelier (Gérard Gretsch) 1992

  • The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter. Uses of Storytelling in the Classroom (Vivian Gussin Paley) 1991

  • La cause des adolescents (Françoise Dolto) 1988

  • Scuola di Barbiana. Die Schülerschule. Brief an eine Lehrerin. (Edition of 1980) / read in German 1982
    Letter to Teacher by the Schoolboys of Barbiana (1970)
    Lettre à une maîtresse de'école, par les enfants de Barbiana (1968)
    Lettera à una professoressa (Original Edition) 1967


  • Vers une pédagogie institutionnelle (Aïda Vasquez, Fernand Oury) 1967



Documentary Films on Education

  • Eine Schule, die gelingt (by Reinhard Kahl) 2008

  • Les temps des enfants (Jacques Duez) 2007

  • Klassenleben (by Bernd Friedmann und Hubertus Siegert) 2006

  • Lernen - Die Entdeckung des Selbstverständlichen
    (Ein Vortrag von Manfred Spitzer) 2006

  • Die Entdeckung der frühen Jahre
    Die Initiative "McKinsey bildet" zur frühkindlichen Bildung (by Reinhard Kahl) 2006

  • Treibhäuser der Zukunft - Wie in Deutschland Schulen gelingen (by Reinhard Kahl) 2004

  • Treibhäuser der Zukunft / Incubators of the future / Les serres de l'avenir; International Edition (by Reinhard Kahl) 2004

  • Journal de classe, 1ères audaces (1), Les échappés (2), Sexe, amour et vidéo (3), L'enfant nomade (4), Remue-méninges (5) (by Wilbur Leguebe, Jacques Duez, Agnès Lejeune) 2004

  • Spitze - Schulen am Wendekreis der Pädagogik (by Reinhard Kahl) 2003

  • Journal de classe, (by Wilbur Leguebe and Agnès Lejeune; Jacques Duez) 2002

  • Etre et Avoir (by Nicolas Philibert) 2002

  • The Stolen Eye (by Jane Elliott) 2002

  • The Angry Eye (by Jane Elliott) 2001

  • A l'école de la providence (by Gérard Preszow) 2000

  • Blue-Eyed (by Jane Elliott) 1996

  • A Class Divided (by Jane Elliott) 1984

  • Eye of The Storm (with Jane Elliott) 1970

Past quotes of the day

For every problem, there is one solution which is simple, neat and wrong. Henry Louis Mencken

Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.
Antonio Machado

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Immanuel Kant

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. Albert Einstein

To paraphrase a famous quotation, all that is necessary for the triumph of damaging educational policies is that good educators keep silent. Alfie Kohn

We used to have lots of questions to which there were no answers. Now, with the computer, there are lots of answers to which we haven't thought up the questions. Peter Ustinov

I had a terrible education. I attended a school for emotionally disturbed teachers. Woody Allen

A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep. W. H. Auden

When I was an inspector of schools I visited one classroom and looked at a boys book. He'd written, 'Yesterday, Yesterday, Yesterday, Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Love, Love, Love.' I said, 'That's a lovely poem.' He said, 'Those are my spelling corrections.' Gervase Phinn

Real thinking never starts until the learner fails. Roger Schank

If what is wanted is a reexamination of schooling in terms of purpose, structure and process, then testing programmes are the wrong vehicle (...) Caroline V. Gipps

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Albert Einstein

Act always so as to increase the number of choices. Heinz von Foerster

Another way of avoiding teaching is by relying exclusively on a textbook, workbooks, and other commercially packaged learning materials. Teaching is reduced to administering a set curriculum without giving any thought to the substance of what the students area learning or to their particular needs. H. Kohl

The right to ignore anything that doesn't make sense is a crucial element of any child's learning - and the first right children are likely to lose when they get to the controlled learning environment of school. F. Smith

Learning is the human activity which least needs manipulation by others. Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful activity. - Ivan Illich

Too often we give our children answers to remember rather than problems to solve. - Roger Lewin

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

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