An adaptative learning system for reasoning about stories with poor comprehenders and their educators
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An adaptative learning system for 7-11 year old children with text comprehension difficulties, hearing and deaf, is the goal of the TERENCE European project, carried out in partnership by organizations from eight countries in Europe. Adaptive learning means designing, evaluating and presenting the learning material so that each user can go through the material at his/her own pace.
The TERENCE project is coordinated by the University of Aquila in Italy, and partners AMNIN, Slovenia, the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, the Centre for Biomedicine, Intelligent Systems, Educational, Technology, Spain, the FBK Research Centre, Italy, the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy,the L3S Research Centre, Hannover, Germany, Moholy-Nagy University in Budapest, Hungary, the University of Padova, Italy, SIVECO Romania, the University of Sussex, Great Britain, the University of Verona, Italy. The development of children's capabilities to comprehend written texts is a key element to their development as young adults. Text comprehension skills develop enormously when children are aged 7 to 11 years old. Nowaday, more and more such children, hearing and deaf, have text comprehension difficulties related to inference-making skills, and hardly understand what they are reading albeit they can read the single words of the text fluently.
A few adaptive learning systems (ALSs) promote reading interventions, and none is developed for poor comprehenders, hearing and deaf. TERENCE aims at filling such a gap: it aims at employing stories for poor comprehenders as reading material, and tackling specific high-level cognitive text processing skills through adequate smart games for reasoning about stories. More precisely, the system's smart games, developed and classified according to specific pedagogical models, will stimulate children to reason about the events of stories, written both in Italian and English. The guidelines, the models developed, as well as the entire learning system will result from a cross—disciplinary effort undertaken in various and complementary fields of activity (art and design, computers, engineering, linguistics and medicine), while continuously involving also the project’s end-users- both children with hearing difficulties and their educators from schools in Brighton(UK) and Veneto region (Italy).
Moreover, the system will allow teachers to choose and custom-tailor the types of stories and games according to the needs of their learners.
In conclusion, TERENCE aims at offering innovative usability and evaluation guidelines, pedagogical models, AI technologies, and an ALS for reasoning about stories, in Italian and in English. The guidelines, the models and the system will be the result of a cross-disciplinary effort of European experts in diverse and complementary fields (art and design, computers, engineering, linguistics and medicine), and with the constant involvement of end-users (persons with impaired hearing and their educators) from schools in Brighton (Great Britain), and from Veneto region (in Italy). The project has been launched on October 1st, 2010, having an implementation period of 36 months.