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
"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
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.