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Title: Intelligence Augmentation for Collaborative Learning
Today’s classrooms are remarkably different from those of yesteryear. In place of individual students responding to the teacher from neat rows of desks, one more typically finds students working in groups on projects, with a teacher circulating among groups. AI applications in learning have been slow to catch up, with most available technologies focusing on personalizing or adapting instruction to learners as isolated individuals. Meanwhile, an established science of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning has come to prominence, with clear implications for how collaborative learning could best be supported. In this contribution, I will consider how intelligence augmentation could evolve to support collaborative learning as well as three signature challenges of this work that could drive AI forward. In conceptualizing collaborative learning, Kirschner and Erkens (2013) provide a useful 3x3 framework in which there are three aspects of learning (cognitive, social and motivational), three levels (community, group/team, and individual) and three kinds of pedagogical supports (discourse-oriented, representation-oriented, and process-oriented). As they engage in this multiply complex space, teachers and learners are both learning to collaborate and collaborating to learn. Further, questions of equity arise as we consider who is able to participate and in which ways. Overall, this analysis helps us see the complexity of today’s classrooms and within this complexity, the opportunities for augmentation or “assistance to become important and even essential. An overarching design concept has emerged in the past 5 years in response to this complexity, the idea of intelligent augmentation for “orchestrating” classrooms (Dillenbourg, et al, 2013). As a metaphor, orchestration can suggest the need for a coordinated performance among many agents who are each playing different roles or voicing different ideas. Practically speaking, orchestration suggests that “intelligence augmentation” could help many smaller things go well, and in doing so, could enable the overall intention of the learning experience to succeed. Those smaller things could include helping the teacher stay aware of students or groups who need attention, supporting formation of groups or transitions from one activity to the next, facilitating productive social interactions in groups, suggesting learning resources that would support teamwork, and more. A recent panel of AI experts identified orchestration as an overarching concept that is an important focus for near-term research and development for intelligence augmentation (Roschelle, Lester & Fusco, 2020). Tackling this challenging area of collaborative learning could also be beneficial for advancing AI technologies overall. Building AI agents that better understand the social context of human activities has broad importance, as does designing AI agents that can appropriately interact within teamwork. Collaborative learning has trajectory over time, and designing AI systems that support teams not just with a short term recommendation or suggestion but in long-term developmental processes is important. Further, classrooms that are engaged in collaborative learning could become very interesting hybrid environments, with multiple human and AI agents present at once and addressing dual outcome goals of learning to collaborate and collaborating to learn; addressing a hybrid environment like this could lead to developing AI systems that more robustly help many types of realistic human activity. In conclusion, the opportunity to make a societal impact by attending to collaborative learning, the availability of growing science of computer-supported collaborative learning and the need to push new boundaries in AI together suggest collaborative learning as a challenge worth tackling in coming years.  more » « less
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HCI International
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National Science Foundation
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