JANET is applying Toda’s gamification taxonomy (A Taxonomy of Game Elements for Gamification in Educational Contexts: Proposal and Evaluation | IEEE Conference Publication | IEEE Xplore; How to Gamify Learning Systems? An Experience Report using the Design Sprint Method and a Taxonomy for Gamification Elements in Education (jstor.org); Analysing gamification elements in educational environments using an existing Gamification taxonomy | SpringerLink) to the PeTeL environment, used by teachers all across Israel – see: PeTeL Initiative – Personalized Learning and Teaching Environment (weizmann.ac.il)
The research addresses the challenge of building a personalised learning environment, by using artificial intelligence (AI) to assist teachers in providing instruction that is tailored to the individual needs of every and each student. It brings together an interdisciplinary team of AI researchers, science teaching experts, instructional designers, and teachers. The research builds on the PeTeL (Personalized Teaching and Learning) learning environment that is developed within the department of science teaching at Weizmann, and is already in use by thousands of students and hundreds of teachers.
To date, most of the research in the field tends to focus on online learning (like MOOCs or tutoring systems). However, in K12 education, most of the learning happens in schools, and teachers are the ones who drive it, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This renders the task of ‘empowering teachers with AI’ not only rewarding scientifically, but also of paramount importance to our society, as it has a real potential to increase student achievement and close local and global educational gaps.
With this in mind, what makes is really exciting about this project is the ability to close the loop between AI, pedagogic design, and students, by empowering teachers in real classrooms. It builds very well on my past experience in adaptive, personalised education, social and semantic web research, learning analytics and neural networks. It also aligns well with the research priorities of our department in general, and our AIHS research group, which is interested in applied research with real societal impact.
Dr. Alexandron and Prof Cristea have managed to put together a talented inter-disciplinary team, which covers all the scientific, technological, and pedagogical aspects of the project. Furthermore, the fact that PeTeL is already in such a broad use, but still a research project, makes it a perfect experimental set-up for such research, which can sustain long-lasting collaboration with real impact.
The ambitious goal that we set addresses a main bottleneck in the development of personalised semantic web-based learning systems – defining, collecting, updating, and maintaining the semantic information that such systems require. Addressing this issue involves knowledge engineering, domain expertise, pedagogy, technology, and more. We are suggesting a unique approach that to the best our knowledge has never been explored, of addressing it by crowdsourcing knowledge from teachers and learners, with gamification as the incentive mechanism that motivates active engagement.