Tuesday, April 13, 2010

IUI '08: Designing and assessing an intelligent e-tool for deaf children

Rosella Gennari Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy
Ornella Mich Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy

Paper Link:

In this paper, Gennari and Mich designed an intelligent e-web based program called LODE (LOgic based e-tool for DEaf children) that aimed at cultivating the reading and reasoning skills of deaf children.

The aim for their system is best understood in the light of the difficulties that the deaf experience in language. Deaf children have difficulty developing their reading and reasoning skills as they are largely deprived of the constant exposure to language. Deaf people encode information differently from those that can hear and organize and access knowledge in different ways. The deaf focus on details and images as opposed to relations amongst concepts.

Specifically, their system focused on "stimulating global deductive reasoning" on entire narratives. Their LODE system does this by extracting temporally sensitive words using a logic system and automated temporal reasoning. The system can logically arrange the given input language (Italian in this case) and generate global deductive reasoning questions based on the story.

The architecture of the system is based on a web client-server model composed of several modules:
1) e-stories database
2) Automated reasoner made up of:
a) ECLiPSe - constrainst based programming system
b) a knowledge base for ECLiPSe
c) domain knowldge of constraint problems formalizing the temporal information of the e-stories

The GUI consists of a simple page framed in yellow (for concentration) with a picture and a sentence from the story on a blue background (for calmness) along with buttons to go to the next and previous pages and a dictionary to look-up difficult words. Temporal words are highlighted in orange to draw attention to temporal concepts that the user should remember.

They tested their system with bringing together LIS interpreters, a logopaedist, a linguist expert of deaf studies, a cognitive psychologist expert of deaf studies, and two deaf children.

One kid who was 13 years of age completed the stories easily while another 8 year old kid had trouble navigating the interface. Feedback from the experts was positive.

My Spill:

It's great that they're constructing advanced educational tools for deaf children. It seems like a great system for exceptionally young children, but I would think the questions for older children using the system would need to have stories and questions crafted by a human.

Their testing of the system was terribly insufficient. They needed to test more children using their system. Of course the experts on deaf studies will approve the system. After all, they are interesting in promoting work in their own fields.

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