A long-time research interest for the group explores the use of computing in education. Research projects in this area span work with both formal and informal learning, addressing the needs of children, college students and adults.
We examine how technology can enhance the educational experience of teachers and learners while recognizing the constraints that most organizations and schools face regarding budgets, user familiarity with technology, and challenging learning environments and infrastructure.
Example education projects from TEM
MEC is unique from other learning platforms in that it works directly with university systems to sync the video lectures with the course syllabus, and work with local teachers to use MEC content in the classroom to supplement existing lectures. Our motivation for MECs came from talking with educators in India, where there is a great disparity in the quality of education, and difficulties associated with scale.
For more information, check out the MEC homepage.
Through the platform, users annotate videos by overlaying content on top of the video, lifting the burden on the instructor to update and refine content. Layering annotations such as text, equations, or images also assists in video indexing, language translation, and replacing illegible handwriting or drawings with more readable typed content.
For more information, check out the VidWiki project page.
qCards are a low-cost alternative to electronic response systems (i.e. i>clicker) using a mobile phone or laptop/webcam, and paper cards for voting. Our approach allows teachers to ask a multiple-choice question. Students respond by holding up a sheet of paper that contains a printed code, similar to a QR code, encoding their answers as well as their student IDs. Using a mobile phone, or laptop and an off-the-shelf webcam, our software automatically recognizes and aggregates the students’ responses and displays them to the teacher. Each card is unique, identified by the code printed on the card; students answer A, B, C, or D by rotating their qCard in one of four orientations, associated with the letters written on the back of each qCard.
We built this system and performed initial trials in secondary schools in Bangalore, India. In a typical 30-student classroom, our system offers 94% recognition accuracy, captures 95% of responses within 15 seconds, and costs 20x less than existing electronic solutions. We also conducted a large-scale test at the 2012 ACM User Interface Software and Technology conference polling roughly 300 people, capturing 90% of responses and with 98% accuracy.
For more information, check out the qCards project page.
A distinct feature observed in computer use in schools or rural kiosks in developing countries is the high student-to-computer ratio. It is not unusual to see more than five children crowding around a single display, as schools are rarely funded to afford one PC per child in a classroom. One dominant child controls the mouse, while others are passive onlookers, without operational control of the computer. The dominant child is often the most intelligent, the richest or simply the oldest child in the group. Learning benefits appear to accrue primarily to this child with the mouse, with the other children missing out and losing interest. Given this constraint, our group began research ways to extend single computers to accommodate entire classrooms.
MultiPoint provides each child with a mouse and cursor on screen, thus effectively multiplying the amount of interaction per student per PC, for the cost of a few extra mice. Trials with both single-mouse and multiple-mice scenarios suggest that children are more engaged when in control of a mouse, and that more mice increases overall engagement, or connection with on-screen content. Large scale field experiments with over 200 students in rural Karnataka have shown strong educational benefits in using multiple mice. The technology to build applications like this has been released as the Windows MultiPoint Mouse SDK so that any content developer can build educational content using multiple mice.
For more information, check out the Windows MultiPoint Mouse homepage.
Collage is a software presentation tool that has been created exclusively for supporting instruction in K-12 classrooms. The tool enables teachers to display digital scans of textbook pages along with digital multimedia in an interactive fashion. For example, an teacher giving a science lesson on the solar system and blend images and text from the textbook with additional multimedia resources like videos or other interactive content. The goal of the tool is to enable teachers to easily mix and match content for their lesson, both from traditional resources like textbooks and from the increasingly large database of open educational resources available for usage worldwide.
For more information, check out the Collage project page.
There is increasing pressure for schools to expose their students to computers. However, the unbalanced computer-to-student ratio that prevails in resource constrained schools limits the effectiveness of using the computers as learning tools. One solution is Windows MultiPoint Mouse, which allows multiple students to interact with a single computer, thereby reducing the financial cost of buying and maintaining computers in schools, and enabling students to work together collaboratively on computer assignments. While effective, MultiPoint applications developed by outside vendors and do not always meet the everyday curricula needs of teachers.
To enable teachers to fully benefit from MultiPoint while effectively covering their curricula goals, we developed Cloze, an authoring tool, which simplifies content creation for MultiPoint applications. Targeted at teachers with minimal computer skills, Cloze enables them to replicate common interactive classroom activities using MultiPoint without having to write a single line of code.
For more information, check out this paper written on the Cloze project.
- Edward Cutrell, Srinath Bala, Andrew Cross, Naren Datha, Rahul Kumar, Madhusudan Parthasarathy, Siddharth Prakash, Sriram Rajamani, William Thies, Chetan Bansal, and Aldo John, Massively Empowered Classroom: Enhancing Technical Education in India, no. MSR-TR-2013-127, 31 December 2013
- Andrew Cross, Mydhili Bayyapunedi, Edward Cutrell, Anant Agarwal, and William Thies, TypeRighting: Combining the Benefits of Handwriting and Typeface in Online Educational Videos, 29 April 2013
- Andrew Cross, Edward Cutrell, and William Thies, Low-cost audience polling using computer vision, UIST, 7 October 2012
- Azarias Reda, Saurabh Panjwani, and Edward Cutrell, Hyke: a low-cost remote attendance tracking system for developing regions, in Proceedings of the 5th ACM workshop on Networked systems for developing regions, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2011
- Azarias Reda, Edward Cutrell, and Brian Noble, Towards improved web acceleration: leveraging the personal web, in NSDR 2011: Proceedings of the 5th ACM workshop on Networked systems for developing regions, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2011
- Akhil Mathur, Divya Ramachandran, Edward Cutrell, and Ravin Balakrishnan, An exploratory study on the use of camera phones and pico projectors in rural India, in MobileHCI 2011: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2011
- Ilda Ladeira and Edward Cutrell, Teaching with storytelling: An investigation of narrative videos for skills training, 4th IEEE/ACM Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and International Development (ICTD) 2010, London, UK, IEEE, December 2010
- Indrani Medhi, Raghu Menon, Edward Cutrell, and Kentaro Toyama, Beyond Strict Illiteracy: Abstracted Learning Among Low-Literate Users, 4th IEEE/ACM Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and International Development (ICTD) 2010, London, UK, IEEE, December 2010
- Saurabh Panjwani, Navkar Samdaria, Aakar Gupta, Edward Cutrell, and Kentaro Toyama, Collage: A Presentation Tool for School Teachers, in ICTD 2010, IEEE, December 2010
- David Hutchful, Akhil Mathur, Apurva Joshi, and Edward Cutrell, Cloze: An Authoring Tool for Teachers with Low Computer Proficiency, in 4th IEEE/ACM Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and International Development (ICTD) 2010, London, UK, IEEE, IEEE, December 2010
- Saurabh Panjwani and Rachita Chandra, A Study of Teachers’ Reactions towards Video-Assisted Feedback, in India HCI 2010, 2010
- Saurabh Panjwani, Luana Micallef, Karl Fenech, and Kentaro Toyama, Effects of integrating digital visual materials with textbook scans in the classroom, in International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT), September 2009
- Neema Moraveji, Kori Inkpen, Edward Cutrell, and Ravin Balakrishnan, A Mischief of Mice: Examining Children’s Performance in Single Display Groupware Systems with 1 to 32 Mice, in International conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI 2009), Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., April 2009