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Technology-Inspired Education Research to Transform Singapore’s Classrooms

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) are working together on cooperative research initiatives in education that aim to transform research into future classroom teaching design and intelligent technologies. The National Institute of Education (NIE) and the School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE) are leading NTU’s efforts in this collaboration.

“The collaboration between A*STAR and NTU, spearheaded by the university’s NIE and SCSE, will further strengthen and facilitate the interdisciplinary research collaboration among the partners, and bring talented people from different disciplines and organisations together to solve impactful and authentic problems of practice in education,” says Professor Louis Phee, NTU Vice President (Innovation & Entrepreneurship) and Dean, College of Engineering.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the aim of improving student learning and teacher effectiveness. The cooperation also brings together the academics and researchers from NTU and A*STAR to cooperate on education research projects focusing on the science of learning in education, AI, machine learning, and human-artificial cognition.

To better engage students, researchers, for instance, will reimagine a classroom where human teachers and AI interact. They will also investigate how information and skills may be taught to students more successfully using technology.

The cooperation intends to develop educational techniques and ideas for tomorrow’s classrooms that can contribute to teaching and learning across a person’s entire lifetime. It builds on NIE NTU’s mission to construct and grow hubs of excellence in early childhood, pedagogy, and practice.

With its multidisciplinary research prowess in education technology and AI, which encompasses fields like teacher-machine augmented intelligence and interactive and personalised learning systems, NTU’s SCSE will help the initiative.

Additionally, the collaboration will facilitate the streamlined submission of joint research grant applications and promote stronger inter-institutional relationships.

Building on NIE’s mission of Leading the Future of Education, the cooperation will advance research in learning science and the application of technologies such as AI in education, helping to imagine the classroom of the future.

The collaboration will use A*STAR’s research skills in AI, data analytics, and the integration of social and behavioural science with technology to solve practical problems for the future of education.

According to A*STAR, they are looking more closely at creative ways to assist students to learn and educators to educate. By combining AI technologies with social and behavioural sciences, they can collaboratively address issues in present teaching and learning systems.

The agency is looking forward to a stronger collaboration with NIE and NTU, where they will be able to harness one another’s diverse strengths to develop real-world solutions that will result in better educational outcomes for students at all levels.

NTU and A*STAR will share data and laboratory resources, as well as provide opportunities for researchers and graduate students to exchange expertise through short-term attachments in research labs and schools. Examples of ongoing collaborations are:

AI-based performance and behavioural assessments for teaching and classroom management. The project’s goal is to create a proof-of-concept training tool for teacher development, as well as to investigate the use of audio-visual sensors combined with AI inference to discover and comprehend important classroom behaviours.

Improving student participation in virtual learning environments is another example. With the rise of virtual classroom teaching, the research intends to investigate the efficacy of deploying engagement detection techniques to assist teachers in predicting student involvement levels in virtual classrooms.

EVA (Education via AI) is an adaptive learning companion. This project aims to create a conversational AI engine powered by neural language production, representation learning, and dialogue modelling algorithms. This will be a virtual tutoring system that will assist students in learning and practising reading aloud abilities in English.


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