Colloquium Details

Adding a Human Touch to Personalized Digital Learning

Speaker: Amy Ogan, Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: March 13, 2013, 11:30 a.m.

Host: Denis Zorin


I propose that developing a personal connection with educational technologies is as important as connecting with a human teacher or peer learner. Fortunately, recent advances in computing mean personalized learning systems can now additionally become interpersonal. For example, through conversation, gesture, and context awareness, the use of technologies such as virtual agents allow us to put a human touch on educational systems. A carefully designed agent can create an engaging, meaningful, and social experience - qualities that students rarely use to describe today’s computer-aided learning systems. To achieve this vision, a key challenge is to develop a computational understanding of how humans develop relationships when learning with a human partner, and how this changes when the partner is digital. Adding to this challenge, relationships change over time in complex and unexpected ways. My talk will discuss the development of technology with models of social behavior that help sustain long-term interpersonal and pedagogical relationships with learners.

Speaker Bio:

Amy Ogan is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where she leads projects investigating the development of educational technologies that establish social relationships with learners. She completed her doctorate in HCI at CMU in 2011 as an Institute of Education Sciences Fellow, and has since been named a Rising Star in EECS by MIT. Dr. Ogan has additionally been a visiting researcher at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, and has recently conducted field research on the deployment of educational technology in seven international sites. Her broader research goals include the support of underprivileged students through technology, and the use of technology to support students in adopting new perspectives.


In-person attendance only available to those with active NYU ID cards.

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