Which is the next revolution in education

Revolution in the school

Bmbf.de: Mr. Kuhn, you are working with the DFKI on a digital textbook that thinks for itself and makes its own decisions about content. So will we soon no longer need teachers?

On the contrary. To use intelligent textbooks, you need well-trained teachers more than ever. This has been tried and tested for hundreds of years and will continue to do so.

"Hypermind" is the name of the program that you want to offer on tablets. What added value does it offer compared to normal books?

It is dynamically adaptive, i.e. it can recognize the level of knowledge of the students, i.e. whether support is needed with a topic because it has not yet been properly understood, but also whether there are special interests that are then further promoted. It adapts the textbook content individually and creates a personal textbook. We rely on different, typical building blocks of a school book: texts, pictures, diagrams and so on. All of these building blocks convey knowledge in different ways. Hypermind dissolves the static form of conventional school books and links these building blocks together in a completely new way.

How can a book tell whether someone understands a text or not?

Among other things, we use eye trackers for this, i.e. the recognition of eye movements. This shows how the learners read, in which order, for how long in which area, and whether they are over- or under-challenged. For example, if the gaze lingers on a word for a long time, it could be that something was not understood. The same applies to backward jumps in the course. In this case, the system would offer further information on its own - for example in the form of a video, if this corresponds to the learner type and level of knowledge.

The project is important because ...

“HyperMind doesn't just address learners. The project also pursues the central idea of ​​giving teachers a tool to provide insights into individual learning behavior, the acceptance of learning content and collective learning progress. "
Andreas Dengel, TU Kaiserslautern / FB Informatik & DFKI / Location Manager Kaiserslautern

That's all?

Not quite. We combine eye recognition with temperature measurement on the face. We do this with an infrared camera. The decisive factor is the temperature relationship between the tip of the nose and the forehead. This also shows how much the learners are cognitively challenged. The combination of gaze movement and temperature profile allows the student to decide whether the pupil is perhaps overwhelmed by looking at a certain area of ​​a book page for a long time or reading it repeatedly, or whether he and she are more interested in it. Hypermind can then decide on the next steps whether, for example, materials for conveying or materials are to be provided and what they should look like.

So the book learns with you? Or does it still have to be adjusted by hand?

The aim is for the book to either adapt itself to the learners and make their own decisions, or to provide the teacher with the analysis data in order to make pedagogical decisions based on them. At the moment we are still intervening, we are still working with test persons. We are currently analyzing what conclusions the system draws from the learning behavior of the test subjects. There is currently a huge amount of data being generated.

If an explanatory video is always shown directly in the case of comprehension problems: Doesn't that in turn reduce the ability to understand texts?

If you did it that way, yes. But the plan is different: As in every textbook, tasks have to be worked on at the end of the day. We always record how information was previously recorded and which of it was ultimately incorporated into the solution. Simplified: If a student no longer looks at complicated diagrams and only watches videos, the system will intervene and present diagrams in a targeted manner if he or she cannot create diagrams or cannot use them competently. Another video could be faded in that explains how to work with diagrams, provided that it suits the type of learner and previous knowledge. It is not about taking the path of least resistance. It is about additional help or further information.

To be honest, it all sounds extremely dangerous. You create the glass pupil. How do you intend to guarantee data protection?

We take data protection very seriously. At the moment we are working completely with anonymized data and cannot draw any conclusions about individual persons. So that the system is also suitable for everyday educational use, we create a data protection concept based on the General Data Protection Regulation separately from the development of the prototype. However, we are still collecting completely anonymized data for research purposes and are simply not ready for widespread implementation. As soon as our studies are completed and generalizable results are available, we go into an intensive communication process: With representatives from school and teaching staff, data protectionists, but also politicians.

The project is important because ...

"... education is one of the very central issues in our society and it will also be affected to a great extent by the digital transformation. With this project we show that we are actively helping to shape this, especially in the education sector at the Kaiserslautern location."
Norbert Wehn, TU Kaiserslautern / FB Electrical and Information Technology & U.EDU/Project management