Digital Technology and Education

There is an increasing need for research and expertise at the academic level on the role software technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) play in learning and teaching. Serious games, intelligent tutoring systems, e-learning applications, collaboration environments, digital assessment tools, and many more software artefacts have been developed to support students and teachers. From the early computer years on, AI technology for learning and teaching has been considered promising for supporting teachers and for improving student learning. Until recently, AI technology has only partly delivered on this promise. Technology is used for supporting the teaching process by providing information, administering results, and to some extent facilitating the learning process via web lectures, clickers, supporting ‘learning by doing’, and various other means. More advanced technology however, such as serious games and intelligent tutoring systems, is not yet being used much.

AI technology for learning and teaching is used everywhere people learn—from primary schools, many of which use smart-boards and serious games, to learning in the workplace, where employees learn new procedures on the job using technology, and management is trained using serious games. Higher education uses a range of technologies for learning and teaching, from web lectures and digital assessment tools to intelligent tutoring systems and serious games. Developing technology for learning and teaching is challenging: the technology requires a high degree of interactivity, excellent feedback, and a strong connection between the subject domain and the user model. It should support collaboration and creativity, and it should be easily adaptable. Advanced systems are complex and require knowledge about human cognition, learning sciences, and several fields within computer science. For example, the development of a serious game for learning programming requires knowledge about how people learn programming; game design knowledge; translating user interactions to a user model; facilities for specifying and adapting tasks, solutions, and feedback; and software architecture and technology to describe, maintain, and adapt the relation between the various software components.

The Digital Technology and Education group designs, develops, and experiments with AI technologies for learning and teaching such as serious games, automatic feedback and hints, student modeling and task selection, learning analytics, automated assessment, and intelligent tutoring systems.