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Education Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Begins October 14th

Hello Integrating Technology  and Program Management Colleagues,

During the week of October 14th the LINCS Integrating Technology and Program Management groups will host a week-long asynchronous discussion with a cutting- edge panel of experts in education applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).  An important professional development feature of LINCS is to keep you current with innovations in the adult basic skills field. K-12 education and higher education have been exploring teaching and learning applications of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for several years, although this is relatively new to adult basic skills education practitioners.  This is an opportunity for LINCS members, and others who may be interested, to learn about and discuss examples of innovations in AI, VR and AR that have been specifically designed for adult learners, or that have been designed for K-12 students, and have promise for adult basic skills learners.  Please mark your calendars for the week of October 14th and plan to join us for this great opportunity to explore AI, VR and AR.

I recommend that before the discussion begins participants read "Perspective Artificial Intelligence Applications to Support K-12 Teachers and Teaching A Review of Promising Applications, Opportunities, and Challenges,", a paper by Dr. Robert Murphy, that plainly describes Artificial Intelligence applications in Education. Dr Murphy, as you will see below, is one of the five panelists in this discussion.

Feel free to post questions for our panelists beginning now and throughout next week.

The expert panel includes:

  • Art Graesser, PhD. Department of Psychology and Institute of Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis.  Dr. Graesser is a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Intelligent Systems at the University of Memphis and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Education at the University of Oxford.  Art Graesser and his University of Memphis colleagues, working with the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy at Georgia State University, have developed and tested the use of AutoTutor, an intelligent tutoring system that holds conversations with adult learners in natural language.
  • Susan Gaer. An emeritus professor of English, specializing in ESL at Santa Anna College in Southern California, Susan Gaer has been a subject matter expert and technology integration professional development specialist for OTAN, California’s statewide adult basic skills technology professional development organization. She is a partner of World Education’s Education Technology Center, and is also President Elect of the California Association of Teachers to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL). She has focused on using VR with ESL students from beginning to advanced levels.
  • Cliff Archey.  As Senior Education Program Manager for IBM Corporate Social Responsibility, in his current role Cliff is the Offering Manager for Teacher Advisor With Watson, managing the strategic direction and implementation of this free AI-enhanced planning tool for teachers.Johan
  • Johan E. Uvin, Ph.D. As President, Institute for Educational Leadership, Dr. Uvin’s work in the field of adult basic skills education, including ESOL/ESL includes positions as an ESOL teacher and program administrator in Boston, an associate state director of adult education in Massachusetts, a state director of adult education in Rhode Island, and as Assistant Secretary of Education in the U.S. Department of Education. He first engaged in Virtual Reality work when he represented the federal government on a Virtual and Augmented Reality Summit where he promoted the use of VR for training and development purposes. He subsequently provided oversight to the EdSim Challenge. Most recently, he has been working with Oculus to expand VR applications in the education sector, particularly focused on creating access to hardware and applications in communities where children, youth, and adults never get to access these new emerging technologies due to lack of resources.
  • Robert Murphy, Ph. D. is a Senior Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation. Before joining RAND, Dr. Murphy was the director of evaluation research for SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning where he was the Principle Investigator for the Technologies for Adult Basic Literacies Evaluation (TABLE) study. He was a panelist in the 2016 LINCS Discussion, Recent Research on Technology and Adult Basic Skills. Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on research and evaluation of innovative educational and workforce training programs and technologies. He is author of Artificial Intelligence Applications to Support K–12 Teachers and Teaching, A Review of Promising Applications, Opportunities, and Challenges.

Please share this announcement with colleagues who may be interested.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology and Program Management groups



Michael Cruse's picture
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While doing research on civic+digital engagement, I came across a VR application for adult learners that I thought might also interest members curious about this upcoming discussion.  Below is a description of the project that inspired this new VR learning space, and a link to an interview with the graduate student responsible for creating it.  

The U.S. has the world’s highest adult incarceration rate, with over 2.2 million people currently behind bars.  Research suggests that formerly incarcerated women experience heightened anxiety upon reentry and are not prepared for navigating daily encounters.  The Massachusetts Department of Correction partnered with the Engagement Lab at Emerson College in Boston, to use Virtual Reality (VR) technologies to expose inmates to simulated reentry scenarios, prior to their actual release date.

In a VR set up, sensory information is delivered through a head-mounted display that is able to track natural head movements, creating a convincing immersive experience. The Lab partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Correction center, South Middlesex Correctional Center (SMCC) to engage a group of stakeholders prior to the design of the VR curriculum to understand the circumstances and experiences that lead to anxiety during reentry. 

Two core research questions anchored this project:

1.  What are the main points of anxiety among recently released inmates that lead to recidivism?

2. How might a VR experience be designed to alleviate those anxieties?

The objective of this project was to design a pre-release curriculum using VR technology. The design process was participatory from beginning to end, inviting inmates and those recently released to provide substantive input into the direction of the project. You can read more about that process as part of the interview with developer, Melissa Teng.

I look forward to learning about more VR applications for adult learners as part of this discussion.


Mike Cruse

Career Pathways and Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator