Friday, June 28, 2019

2019 #VWEDU: #DTA: Competitive sports for online schools. Robotics, search-masters, DTA-Turing challenges

Competitive sports for online schools.
Robotics, search-masters, 
DTA-Turing challenges

One thing students will miss in virtual colleges: competitive sports.   But people can compete on the internet.  In fact, they can compete on skills that employers actually hire for.  So when they win, they are not just virtual winners.  They are real winners.
The Empty Classroom
They are away competing

It's a competitive world out there



Competition in a simulation

  • A robot in a simulated world can simulate a physical robot.
  • The competition can present a list of tasks that must be executed.

Sample tasks for virtual world robotic competition

  • Interpret and execute spoken instructions.
  • Find, gather, and arrange a collection of objects.
  • Find materials and build something from a blueprint.
  • Dismantle something and put the parts in the right storage bins.
  • The objects above will carry arbitrary names.
  • The simulated robot must perform object recognition.

Scoring criteria for simulated robot tasks,

  • Task completion
  • Time to completion
  • Number of errors
  • Number of uncorrected errors

Search Masters

  • Google search is a powerful artificial intelligence.
  • It gives great power to those who master its use.
  • That is much like a game where you master magic.
  • But AI magic is a marketable skill.

The search-masters challenge template

  • Competitors are given a search question to answer.
  • Their response is an answer to the question and a list of sources.
  • The answer is to be no longer than needed to give a complete answer
  • The sources are to be listed in order of importance in supporting the answer.
  • Time to respond is recorded to be used in scoring.  

Scoring the search-masters challenge

  • An optimal response with ordered source list will be prepared by a panel of experts.
  • The panel will provide a set of alternative answers and the score assigned to each.
  • The panel will provide an ordered list of references, with instructions for scoring variations.
  • The panel will also provide a list of bad references, which will score as subtractions.
  • Accuracy will be scored as match with optimal source list.
  • The answer to the question will be scored by comparison with the optimal answer.
  • This can be done by computer if the optimal answer is one on a few words.
  • Time to complete may be factored in for a final score.  

Promoting the search-masters challenge

  • The search-masters challenge would allow the audience to play along.
  • Anyone in the audience could perform the same search,
  • If the scoring were automated, audience members could submit answers.
  • These features might stimulate audience interest.

The DTA-Turing test (Teacher's Assistant)

  • The original Turing test was offered as a test of computer thinking.
  • Could it carry on a conversation without being recognized as a computer?
  • The challenge for the DTA-Turing test is 
  • Produce a Digital Teacher's Assistant that can do the job as effectively as a human.
  • Focus on a single subject and grade level. 
  • Have the DTA function in a MUVE (so available on the internet anywhere.)


  • Teachers of that grade level and subject would emulate students.
  • They would rate the TA for effectiveness in helping students.
  • Just the relative effectiveness.
  • "Consider the best of these as 100% of what is currently available."  
  • "Don't consider whether it is good enough to use."
  • "Take the worst of these as the zero point."
  • "Rate the others in terms of how close they come to the 100% best."


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