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Grand Challenge 6: Advance Personalized Learning

Ask astute first-grade teachers whether phonics or wholeword recognition is the best way to teach reading and many will say, "It depends on the kid." Similarly, "personalized learning" in many realms of teaching will be a major challenge for future software engineers.


Face as Remote Control

A computer science Ph.D. student can turn his face into a remote control that speeds and slows video playback. The proof-of-concept demonstration is part of a larger project to use automated facial expression recognition to make robots more effective teachers.

This work is from computer science Ph.D. student Jacob Whitehill and builds on technology for detecting facial expressions being developed at UC San Diego’s Machine Perception Laboratory (MPLAB), housed in the UCSD Division of Calit2.

In a recent pilot study, Whitehill and colleagues demonstrated that information within the facial expressions people make while watching recorded video lectures can be used to predict a person’s preferred viewing speed of the video and how difficult a person perceives the lecture at each moment in time.

This new work is at the intersection of facial expression recognition and automated tutoring systems and has been funded in part by the NSF-Funded Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, which is directed by computer science professor Garrison Cottrell.

“If I am a student dealing with a robot teacher and I am completely puzzled and yet the robot keeps presenting new material, that’s not going to be very useful to me. If, instead, the robot stops and says, ‘Oh, maybe you’re confused,’ and I say, ‘Yes, thank you for stopping,’ that’s really good,” says Whitehill.

Computer science Ph.D. student Jacob Whitehill shows off the facial expression software that is crucial for his projects aimed at making robots more effective teachers.
Computer science Ph.D. student Jacob Whitehill shows off the facial expression software that is crucial for his projects aimed at making robots more effective teachers.