Infotech Speaker Series: James C. Lester

Infotech Speaker Series: James C. Lester

Date: October 22, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Host: UF CISE Department
Admission: This event is free and open to the public.

Narrative-Centered Learning Environments

Abstract: Personalized learning technologies offer significant promise for bringing about fundamental improvements in education and training. For the past decade, we have been investigating a family of intelligent game-based learning environments focusing on narrative-centered learning and integrating intelligent tutoring systems with game technologies. Research on these narrative-centered learning environments seeks to combine the inferential capabilities of user-adaptive systems and intelligent user interfaces with the rich gameplay supported by game engines. This line of investigation has the dual objectives of increasing learning effectiveness and promoting student engagement. In this talk, we will introduce the principles motivating the design of narrative-centered learning environments, describe their roots in intelligent interactive narrative and narrative-based tutorial planning, explore the role of student goal recognition, and discuss their impact on student learning gains and engagement through empirical studies conducted in K-12 schools.

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Biography: James C. Lester is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for Educational Informatics at North Carolina State University. He is an AAAI Fellow. His research centers on adaptive learning technologies that utilize AI to create learning experiences that are designed to be both highly effective and highly engaging. Over the past decade, his work has focused on intelligent game-based learning environments, computational models of narrative, affective computing, and natural language tutorial dialogue. The adaptive learning environments he and his colleagues develop have been used by thousands of students in K-12 classrooms throughout the US. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education (2009-2012). He has served as Conference Co-Chair for the International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (2008) and as Program Chair for the ACM Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (2001), the International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems (2004), and the International Conference on Foundations of Digital Games (2013). He is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (1997) and has received the Best Paper Awards at the Eighth World Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (1997), the ACM International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (1999), the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (2011), and the Twenty-Third International Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation, and Personalization (2015).