Sunday, July 14, 2019

2019 #VWEDU: #DTA: A digital teaching assistant (DTA) in a virtual world. Can it be done?


A digital teaching assistant (DTA) in a virtual world. 
Can it be done? 
Updated 8/4/2019

The  Digital Teaching Assistant (DTA) in a virtual world (MUVE) :  Desired functions and present possibilities.  Some important functions can readily be supported by current technology.  Others may well be possible now, but will need some planning.  This is the sedond article of a series on the subject. 
This article is explicitly licensed Public Domain (CC0).
The Empty Classroom
No DTA either

Any journey starts with knowing why you want to go there

  • A Teaching Assistant (TA ) can handle routine classroom chores 
  • If those services can be offered by a computer, they could be offered widely.
  • Teachers would have more time to do what they do best.  
  • Skills embodied in a DTA  can be made available to millions.  
  • The DTA will reliably perform the same skills for all of the millions. 
  • The DTA can have options to accommodate people with disabilities.
  • A DTA can provide just-in-time teaching, and distributed practice.
  • A DTA can select instructional content to fit learning styles.
  • A DTA can give individualized and student-centered learning.
  • A DTA is available any time, wherever the student can use a laptop. 
  • Education for the future should prepare students to use computers as assistants.
  • DTA  would be a natural way to augment instruction in a virtual world. 
  • The internet, a browser, and search capability are available with a click.
  • A Digital Teaching Assistant (DTA) in MUVE (virtual world): What would it do?

Who would be interested?

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A DTA needs multiple functions

  • Monitoring and recording student performance
  • Resource assistant 
  • Search coach
  • Project/team coach
  • Learning-How-to -Learn (LHL) coach
  • Content coach
  • Specialized coaches for relevant handicaps.
  • Most of these would need versions for educational level
  • Each function and version would probably be a separate module.
  • The modules would be developed by separate groups. 
  • The modules would not all be available at the same time.  
  • The question "Can it be done?" is best applied to each module separately.

Two functions (modules) in reach of current technology

Monitoring and recording student performance

  • Scholarly articles for Monitoring students progress
  • Student performance question: Is the student learning what the course requires?
  • Monitor performance:  Ask questions, evaluate answers.
  • Manage notes and student writings as a searchable word processor 
  • TA and DTA can only evaluate multiple choice questions or the like
  • Teacher determines criteria (such as final exam) for passing the course.
  • DTA monitoring creates records on file and available to the teacher.
  • Monitor by requiring student input and evaluating it.
  • Opensimulator can ask questions and evaluate answers in multiple choice form.
  • The only need is for an API to interface between Opensim and the user's computer.
  • Kitely probably has a suitable API.
  • Note that work in the virtual world would be like homework 
  • And the virtual world would be like a textbook: It can present any needed text. 
  • If school records allow the personal identification of a student, the school may need to consider FERPA (Wikipedia).
  • FERPA is US law, but other nations may have similar laws. 
  • I will elaborate on this module in a later article.

Digital Resource Assistant (DRA)

  • The DRA serves teacher and student, giving links to sources of relevant information.
  • The DRA is an automated librarian using Google search, augmented by specialized databases.
  • The specialized databases would be adjusted for content by experts and for age by educators.
  • Specialized search expressions might also be provided if needed frequently.
  • For example: Teaching people how to search in google.
  • The above link performs a new Google search each time it is clicked.  
  • Thus it keeps up with new articles on the subject.  Feedly can do much better.  
  • Give Feedly good collection of links to educational sources. 
  • It will show the new posts from these links.  
  • The DRA could provide a selected list of good sources.
  • The main job for developing this module is creating and maintaining databases and collections.
  • I will elaborate on this module in a later article.

The coaching modules may be in reach

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Visit me on the web

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License

  • Original text in this blog is CC By: unless specified public domain
  • Use as you please with attribution: link to the original.
  • All images without attribution in this blog are CC0: public domain.
  • Second LifeLindenSLurl, and SL are trademarks of Linden Research Inc.
  • Annotated screenshots made with Jing
  • This blog is not affiliated with anything.   Ads are from Google.
  • Selby Evans in Kitely and hypergrid, Thinkerer Melville in Second Life.


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