Invitation to Mirela Gutica’s PhD Defense

DESIGNING EDUCATIONAL GAMES AND ADVANCED LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES:
AN IDENTIFICATION OF EMOTIONS FOR MODELING PEDAGOGICAL AND ADAPTIVE EMOTIONAL AGENTS

by
Mirela Gutica

Abstract: Emotional, cognitive, and motivational processes are dynamic and influence each other during learning. The goal of this dissertation is to gain a better understanding of emotion interaction in order to design Advanced Learning Technologies (ALTs) and Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) that adapt to emotional needs. In order for ITSs to recognize and respond to affective states, the system needs to have knowledge of learners’ behaviors and states. Based on emotion frameworks in affective computing and education, this study responds to this need by providing an in-depth analysis of students’ affective states during learning with an educational mathematics game for grade 5-7 (Heroes of Math Island) specifically designed for this research study and based on principles of instructional and game design.

The mixed methodology research design had two components: (1) a quasi-experimental study and (2) affect analysis. The quasi-experimental study included pretest, intervention (gameplay), and posttest, followed by a post-questionnaire and interview. Affect analysis involved the process of identifying what emotions should be observed, and video annotations by trained judges.

The study contributes to related research by: (1) reviewing sets of emotions important for learning derived from literature and pilot studies; (2) analyzing inter-judge agreement both aggregated and over individual students to gain a better understanding of how individual differences in expression affect emotion recognition; (3) examining in detail what and how many emotions actually occur or are expressed in the standard 20-second interval; (4) designing a standard method including a protocol and an instrument for trained judges; and (5) offering an in-depth exploration of the students’ subjective reactions with respect to gameplay and the mathematics content. This study analyzes and proposes an original set of emotions derived from literature and observations during gameplay. The most relevant emotions identified were boredom, confidence, confusion/hesitancy, delight/pleasure, disappointment / displeasure, engaged concentration, and frustration. Further research on this set is recommended for design of ALTs or ITSs that motivate students and respond to their cognitive and emotional needs. The methodological protocol developed to label and analyze emotions should be evaluated and tested in future studies.

Defense:
When: March 17, 2014 @ 9:00 am
Where: Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, UBC

STEM 2014 conference Call for Papers #stem #education #yteubc

The University of British Columbia is hosting the 3rd International STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education Conference on its Vancouver campus in July 2014.  The Call for Papers is posted below and the submission deadline is December 9, 2013.

We hope those of you engaged in STEM Education will submit a proposal to present: detailed information on the submission process is on the STEM 2014 website.  Your assistance in sharing the Call for Papers with colleagues and networks would be greatly appreciated.

CALL FOR PAPERS

STEM 2014 Conference | July 12-15
The University of British Columbia | Vancouver, Canada

STEM Education and Our Planet:
Making Connections Across Contexts

 The International Conference of STEM in Education is an opportunity for educators and researchers from schools, universities, colleges, businesses, industries and other private and public agencies to share and discuss their innovative practices and research initiatives that may advance STEM education.

The conference will create opportunities for sharing:

  • information and knowledge through keynote addresses from world leaders in STEM education, papers, poster presentations, panels, workshops, symposia, and innovative showcases;
  • effective STEM pedagogical practices and strategies in and across a variety of education settings;
  • the most contemporary STEM research initiatives and their outcomes;
  • professional development approaches for STEM educators in a range of educational contexts;
  • experiences and networking between participants from across the globe.

Join us in the summer of 2014 at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver.  Submit your proposal to present at the STEM 2014 Conference at stem2014.ubc.ca.  Call for Papers closes December 9, 2013.

We invite proposals from educators, academics, education officers, industry partners, graduate and undergraduate students for papers, poster presentations, panels, workshops, symposia, and innovative showcases.  Proposals will be peer reviewed, and are invited in any area related to the overall focus of the conference, including:

  • Innovation in STEM Research
  • Innovative Resources for STEM Education
  • Transformation in Educational Practices through STEM
  • Sustainability Education and STEM
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Popular Science Education
  • Life-long learning in STEM
  • STEM learning in and across formal and informal contexts
  • Curriculum Theory and Development in STEM
  • Educational Philosophy and Theory about STEM
  • Educational Policy, Leadership and Management for STEM
  • Rural Education and STEM
  • Special Education and STEM
  • Educational Technology in STEM
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development in STEM
  • Design and Technology Education
  • Science Fiction and STEM Education
  • Disasters and STEM Education
  • Other related STEM topics will also be considered

Presenters whose papers are accepted for the Conference will be invited to submit their full papers to be published in the peer-reviewed online STEM 2014 Conference Proceedings. Author guidelines are available on the conference website.

STEM 2014 conference Call for Papers


The University of British Columbia is hosting the 3rd International STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education Conference on its Vancouver campus in July 2014.  The Call for Papers is posted below and the submission deadline is December 9, 2013.

We hope those of you engaged in STEM Education will submit a proposal to present: detailed information on the submission process is on the STEM 2014 website.  Your assistance in sharing the Call for Papers with colleagues and networks would be greatly appreciated.

CALL FOR PAPERS

STEM 2014 Conference | July 12-15
The University of British Columbia | Vancouver, Canada

STEM Education and Our Planet:
Making Connections Across Contexts

 The International Conference of STEM in Education is an opportunity for educators and researchers from schools, universities, colleges, businesses, industries and other private and public agencies to share and discuss their innovative practices and research initiatives that may advance STEM education.

The conference will create opportunities for sharing:

  • information and knowledge through keynote addresses from world leaders in STEM education, papers, poster presentations, panels, workshops, symposia, and innovative showcases;
  • effective STEM pedagogical practices and strategies in and across a variety of education settings;
  • the most contemporary STEM research initiatives and their outcomes;
  • professional development approaches for STEM educators in a range of educational contexts;
  • experiences and networking between participants from across the globe.

Join us in the summer of 2014 at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver.  Submit your proposal to present at the STEM 2014 Conference at stem2014.ubc.ca.  Call for Papers closes December 9, 2013.

We invite proposals from educators, academics, education officers, industry partners, graduate and undergraduate students for papers, poster presentations, panels, workshops, symposia, and innovative showcases.  Proposals will be peer reviewed, and are invited in any area related to the overall focus of the conference, including:

  • Innovation in STEM Research
  • Innovative Resources for STEM Education
  • Transformation in Educational Practices through STEM
  • Sustainability Education and STEM
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Popular Science Education
  • Life-long learning in STEM
  • STEM learning in and across formal and informal contexts
  • Curriculum Theory and Development in STEM
  • Educational Philosophy and Theory about STEM
  • Educational Policy, Leadership and Management for STEM
  • Rural Education and STEM
  • Special Education and STEM
  • Educational Technology in STEM
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development in STEM
  • Design and Technology Education
  • Science Fiction and STEM Education
  • Disasters and STEM Education
  • Other related STEM topics will also be considered

Presenters whose papers are accepted for the Conference will be invited to submit their full papers to be published in the peer-reviewed online STEM 2014 Conference Proceedings. Author guidelines are available on the conference website.

Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students by Peter Halim

Peter and research participants in focus group

Congratulations to Peter Halim for successfully defending his thesis titled “Video Gaming in the Classroom: Insights and Ideas from Teenage Students”! Peter made the minor edits and closed his MA program, meaning that he will graduate in November. The thesis can be downloaded from the CIRCLE database.

 

VIDEO GAMING IN THE CLASSROOM: INSIGHTS AND IDEAS FROM TEENAGE STUDENTS

Peter Halim

For this research, four high school aged teenagers participated in an intensive one week video gaming camp, at which time they articulated their attitudes and ideas about mainstream video games and their place in education. The purpose was to explore strategies for utilizing mainstream commercial video games for educative purposes in the classroom. The participants’ insights along with observations made on their interaction with video games were analyzed through Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation and the General Aggression Model. In summary, the participants, more or less experts in gaming, enjoyed video games and described them as one of their favourite activities. Furthermore, it was found that video games played both a positive and negative role in the participants’ lives. For example, all participants seemed to have developed healthy values and relationships directly through playing video games during their pre-adolescent years. Conversely, their responses also indicated that they experienced limits to video games and did not see innovation from market and home to school as a smooth, trivial process. Rather, they provided key insights into aligning specific games with specific content, curriculum, and courses. The participants’ insights suggest that the use of mainstream video games for learning will most likely continue to be a fringe strategy implemented by individual teachers who actively discern the educational uses of video games. Game and gaming literacies are among the most recent entries into new literacies research. This thesis contributes to this research by exploring teenagers’ ideas about gaming in the classroom. In conclusion, this study finds that mainstream video games have potential to be effectively used as learning strategies in the classroom in the future pending on continued progress and interest in this endeavor.

Designing Engaging Educational Games: An Identification of Emotions for Modeling Pedagogical and Adaptive Emotional Agents: Statement of the Problem

The problem of my study is to identify learners’ emotional states triggered for or during gameplay.  This research will contribute to our understanding of Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs), educational gaming software, and learning.  The goal of this study is to provide critical information needed for emotional design with a focus on exploring and understanding emotions during educational game play.  Understanding emotional responses in human-computer interaction is extremely timely and relevant for teaching and learning in digital environments.

In recent years, ITSs and game-based learning environments have attracted interest as technologies that harness motivation and support learning. Research has focused not only on the cognitive aspects of interaction, but also on affect recognition and response. There is increasing evidence that, in order to design an intelligent and responsive tutor, the learner’s emotions should be properly identified (Conati, Probabilistic Assessment of User’s Emotions in Educational Games, 2002; D’Mello, Taylor, & Graesser, 2007).

Designing Engaging Educational Games: An Identification of Emotions for Modeling Pedagogical and Adaptive Emotional Agents: Short Description

My dissertation research builds on my Masters thesis, has been ongoing in various stages for the past three years and is part of a larger project and lab mobilized around How We Learn (Media and Technology Across the Lifespan) within the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at UBC.  The HWL lab, funded through various agencies including the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), sponsors and supports a range of undergraduate, MA, MEd, and PhD research theses.  My study has been designed and conducted in close collaboration with Dr. Stephen Petrina and the graduate team of
researchers assembled in the HWL.

The Heroes of Math Island game employs principles from computer science,  learning, emotion, and game theory.  The game is implemented on an XNA professional gaming platform (a runtime environment provided by Microsoft) that allows for implementation of rich game mechanics and uses heuristics and semiotics from the gaming field: achievements, avatars, characters, levels of difficulty and quests.  The game has a narrative and activities happening
on an island employing as a central site a castle where students get “quests”
from a king or queen.  Similar to Rodrigo et al. (2012), the Heroes of Math Island game has an agent (the monkey) that uses emotional expressions to respond to situations in the game.

This study will provide critical information about emotional design methodologies with a focus on exploring and understanding emotions during educational game play.  Understanding emotional responses in human-computer interaction is extremely timely and relevant for teaching and learning in digital environments.

Resarch questions:

  • What affective states are important with respect to student’s interaction with an educational game?
  • What affective states are elicited during the Heroes of Math Island game play?
  • What are students’ levels of interest and achievement in the mathematics content areas after gameplay?
  • What are the students’ subjective reactions with respect to Heroes of Math Island game and to the underline mathematical content?

The game has a mathematical content (students solve 3 activities: divisibility, prime numbers and de-composition); however the focus is on design of technology and on the affective interaction and response.

Experiments were conducted by me and three BCIT students who were knowledgeable with respect to this study and involved in the design and implementation of the game.

 

Designing Immersive Language Learning Environments in Virtual Worlds by Yifei Wang

Congratulations Yifei Wang, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation, “Designing Immersive Language Learning Environments in Virtual Worlds.” Yifei’s defence on 11 December was textbook perfect, in both presentation and response to questions from the Examination Committee and External Examiner. Minor revisions were completed and submitted, and Yifei is now Dr. Wang! The dissertation research involves a sophisticated design and analysis of an immersive learning environment.

ABSTRACT

DESIGNING IMMERSIVE LANGUAGE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS IN VIRTUAL WORLDS

by
Yifei Wang

During the past decade, there has been increasing attention to second/foreign language teaching and learning in virtual worlds. The purpose of this study was to explore affordances of a 3D virtual world platform designed as an immersive language teaching and learning environment.

Focusing on designing virtual worlds as a catalyst for change, three design phases (development of artifact, low fidelity prototyping, and high fidelity prototyping) were detailed and documented in this study. Nineteen students from a pre-service teacher cohort, two technicians and eight language learners from high schools in Vancouver as well as eighty language learners from universities in China were involved in this study; participants were asked to immerse themselves in the virtual language learning environment designed for the study. Participants’ interactions in the virtual world were videotaped and avatar interactions were recorded.

Group discussions, observations, suvey questionnaires and the video-stimulated post interaction interviews provided complementary data for understanding affordances of virtual worlds in designing immersive second/foreign language learning curriculum. Analysis of the feasibility study, low fidelity design, and high fidelity design suggested a more robust design for immerisve virtual language learning environments. Three design cycles revealed primary design factors of immersive second/foreign language learning in virtual worlds (embodied avatar, co-presence, and simulation) and their relative significance in the process of learners’ meaning-making and knowledge construction.

Findings showed that embodiment through an embodied avatar, community of practice through co-presence, and situated learning through simulation had a greater impact on the immersive virtual learning design. Building on a theoretical framework of embodied mind, situated learning and distributed cognition, this study documented features of learning theories key to language learning curriculum design in virtual worlds.

The findings and techniques resulting from this study will help designers and researchers improve second/foreign language curriculum design in virtual worlds. It also prompts designers and researchers to achieve a better understanding of how virtual worlds can be redesigned by rethinking learning theories. The refinement of design-based research stages into low and high fidelity prototyping provides researchers with empirically tested and nuanced understandings of the design process.

Research Questions

Questions I am investigating in my dissertation:

  1. How do girls, through their artifact making and designerly practices, story themselves and contribute to technology culture (i.e., what kinds of stories do girls make and tell about girlhood in-interaction-with/against technology)?
  2. What are the impacts and effects of adopting designerly roles (i.e., game designer, media producer, robotics engineer) in terms of developing girls’ ability, confidence, interest, and participation in technology?

Learning : : Thinkering : : Mattering @ 101 Technology Fun—
Girls Designing Games, Media, Robots, Selves & Culture

(working abstract, your feedback is most welcome)

Recent advances in digital media and technology have led to breakthroughs in communication, education, entertainment, health, and learning. Today’s girls, the most avid technology users of any generation, now have widespread access to the most ubiquitous productivity tools in human history. With unprecedented opportunities to live better lives and realize their fullest potential, it is an exciting time for girls to be alive! And yet, despite all the liberating possibilities, many girls are distancing themselves from technology fields, careers, symbolism, and ideologies. Academic and industry research from the past thirty years documents that females continue to be under-represented in technology-related studies and professions, especially the industries that design and develop new technological innovations. How might we empower girls with the confidence, literacies, and tools that are necessary to benefit from and fully participate in advancing our increasingly mediated and technologically dependent society?

My dissertation begins with the premise that engaging girls with hands-on, heads-on, hearts-on, and feet-on experiences as designers and researchers of technology can be personally and culturally transformative in pro-feminist, pro-social, and empowering ways, rather than simply reproducing existing gender and generational roles. 29 co-researchers (girls ages 9-13) and I work closely with UBC faculty, graduate students, and teacher candidates at 101 Technology Fun, a series of intensive research camps offering designerly learning experiences in gaming, media, and robotics for middle school girls. Utilizing creative and participatory approaches to data collection, including design thinking challenges, iLife diaries, and ME documentaries, my study examines: How do girls story themselves through their artifact making and designerly practices? How are diverse cultural constructions of technology adopted, rejected, and remade by girls? What are the impacts and effects of adopting designerly roles in terms of developing girls’ agency, capability, interest, and participation in technology? Analysis of co-researchers’ artifacts, designerly practices, and research reflections are integrated with theoretical and empirical understandings to contribute a working portrait of how contemporary girlhood is constructed in-interaction-with/against technology and stories. Highlighting the need for girls’ voices to be recognized and given influence in educational research, this study exposes some of the gendered risks and opportunities, generational barriers, technical ingenuity, and transformative learning that girls articulate and reflect upon as they design and share artifacts and stories. Findings call for increasing girls’ agency and capability to participate as the designers and innovators of technology such that they can experience or effect more equitable and sustainable technology futures.

//PJ

De/Constructing + Re/learning Media

There was a child went forth every day
And the first object he looked upon and received
with wonder or pity or love or dread
that object he became…

And these become of him or her that peruses them now
(Walt Whitman, 1855)

Popular media plays a persuasive role in our everyday lives as we make sense of our identities and the media constructed world in and around us. Consider how much of your view of reality is based upon “pre-constructed” media messages that have attitudes, interpretations and conclusions already built in. How do mainstream media affect the ways you see yourself (and others)? How do media advertising convey (explicitly or implicitly) ideological messages about the nature of the “good life”, family values, friendship, citizenship, gender roles, sexual attitudes, body image, sustainability and consumption?

All media are constructions. Media do not simply reflect external reality, rather, they present carefully crafted constructions from which we negotiate meaning and build our picture of reality. It is no secret that we are highly manipulated, gendered, socialized and commercialized by the media— we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. Understanding persuasive and ubiquitous media is vital for participating in our shared world(s), however we spend precious little time analyzing the influencing media messages that we are bombarded with each and every media-saturated day.

As today’s youth are exposed to more mediated messages in one day than their great grandparents were exposed to in an estimated year, how do we educate global citizens and future innovators to be confidently prepared for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life— and not merely conformists or voracious consumers?  True death equals a generation living by unquestioned rules and attitudes, an unthinking generation who produce more and more people who do the same…

Here are a few handpicked ads to deconstruct. Note: they reflect the zeitgeist of the early 1900’s and were not designed with irony or humor.

Douche with Lysol or you will be so utterly repulsive down there that your husband will lose all sexual interest in you and your marriage will fall apart and it will all be your smelly disgusting fault!

Cocaine was sold over the counter and commonly found in products like toothache drops, dandruff remedies and medicinal substances. See how happy your children will play together if you treat them tococaine candies!

And if your dear ones have a cough, cold or any other disease of the throat and lungs, do not worry as a good dose of heroin will save the day! From 1898 through to 1910, heroin was marketed as a cough suppressant by trusted companies like Bayer, alongside the company’s other new product, Aspirin.

Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrupcontained 65 mg of morphine per fluid ounce for teething children.

“More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarettes,” so of course you should too!

Dr. Batty’s Asthma Cigarettes claimed to provide temporary relief of everything from asthma to colds, canker sores and bad breath, although “not recommended for children under 6.”

Status of Females in IT