Cross-disciplinary Research
on Equitable Advanced Technology
for Education

Project IMRIEL

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Implementing Mixed Reality for Inclusive and Embodied Learning Experience (IMRIEL)

This project aims to provide an innovative mixed-reality environment that will combine a physically embodied humanoid robot and augmented reality (AR), where children in K-2 will engage in computational tasks embedded in their play with the robot. Through this hands-on experience, children will understand the concepts of sequences and symbols that are crosscutting and foundational to STEM literacy and problem solving. Also, grounded in embodied cognition and culturally responsive/sustainable pedagogy, this environment will invite every child equitably to AR-enhanced play with a robot playmate that is free from judgments and social biases, enabling children’s positive affect about working with and on such cutting-edge technologies. Also, for this development research, advanced sensor technology will unobtrusively measure children’s multimodal behaviors to assess children’s learning and affect authentically.

Over three years, the project team will develop and study the design of the proposed mixed-reality environment. The main questions include:

  1. what does it take to design a mixed-reality environment to support embodied and inclusive experience?
  2. how do children’s positive affect and understanding of sequences and symbols evolve as they participate in the task over time?
  3. what do teachers (caregivers) need in order to succeed as facilitators in person and at a distance?

In Years 1 and 2, the project team will study the design of the environment in iterative cycles of design and development. In Years 2 and 3, we will implement teacher workshops to better understand teachers’ (or caregivers’) insights and needs for remotely supporting children to succeed in the environment. In Year 3, we will investigate the effectiveness of the mixed-reality environment on children’s understanding and affect, which will be implemented in ordinary settings, both formal and informal.