Professors awarded $20,000 of computing time with Microsoft Azure

Steven Greenstein and Teo Paoletti, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, will be working in the artificial intelligence environment.

They will use this computing time to design, develop, and implement a new type of learning environment called MICa, which stands for "Multimodal Informational and Conceptual assistant." MICa represents a new genre of learning technology that leverages small-group dialogue to uniquely support interactions within existing learning contexts. MICa is a system that listens in on group dialogue, identifies concepts, and offers real-time and archived access to video-, graphic-, simulation-, and text-based representations of the concepts students discuss. Networked input devices capture distributed speech via microphones, passing it to Azure products that identify speakers, convert group dialogue into text, perform linguistic analyses, identify concepts and related concepts, search for, identify, and deliver relevant learning resources to student and presentation devices. Additionally, stored data is analyzed and group interactions are displayed at multiple grain sizes, so students, teachers, researchers, and developers can learn from past activity. The funding allows them to explore the potential of using storage, AI + Cognitive Services, and computing resources in deeply pedagogical ways to support students’ intellectual development. Specifically, they are interested in exploring the development of the critical mathematical ideas of variable, function, and rate of change. Given high-level Azure resources, MICa will support mathematical modeling processes in which groups use mathematics to represent, analyze, make predictions about, and provide insight into real-world phenomena.