New Educational Software for Learning Diverse Students

Dr. Tony McCaffrey


Filling the Gap in Educational Software
There are many computer programs that automatically solve algebra equations, but we could not find one that carefully guides students through the many small steps of the solution process and allows them to choose the next step. So, we programmed one. There are many programs that automatically balance chemical equations, but we could not find one that walks students through the process and lets them dictate the order of the steps. So, we programmed one that offers a certain level of guidance; but we may need one that gives even more assistance.
 
Interactive Software
By giving quick feedback to students, a software program has the ability to strengthen the skills that teachers want their students to learn. An interactive program can give feedback during homework when the teacher is not around to do so. Many current programs, however, just give the answers to the student and the student does not learn anything from interacting with the program. Teachers dread these programs because a student using them may come in with the correct homework, but that student does not learn the desired skills. Further, a good software program, like a good teacher, must adjust the amount of help given based on what a student needs. For example, there needs to be different versions of the algebra program as a typical Intro to Algebra student needs the process broken down into more steps than a typical Algebra I student.
 
There is a great need in the education space for software programs that assist teachers in giving feedback on the steps of a process. Too many programs currently do the work for the students instead of teaching them the underlying process. At Eagle Hill School, we are trying to remedy this omission by creating programs that give the right amount of feedback based on a student’s needs. We are creating software that fills in the gaps of the educational software landscape.
 
AI In the Classroom
The Eagle Hill Computer Science Department is working to create programs that guide students through important processes in various subjects (e.g., math, chemistry, biology, grammar, world languages, etc.), and is looking to begin the development of a more general software tutor in various subjects. To accomplish this result, we will build upon the latest results from the areas of Deep Learning and Neuroevolution in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
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P.O. Box 116
242 Old Petersham Road
Hardwick, MA 01037
Phone: 413.477.6000
Fax: 413.477.6837

Eagle Hill School

Eagle Hill School is the premier college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 8-12 with diverse learning profiles, such as ADHD and Dyslexia.