ANSR's US DOEd SBIR Project: Phase I Results

Phase I Objectives: to show feasibility of NN-based tools for Special Education, the Phase I project has developed the "core" or central portion of three NN-based educational tools.

The Phase I project included an extensive Literature Search to gather information known about
-- teaching arithmetic to students with Learning Disabilities, and
-- Computer Aided Instruction in arithmetic and Special Education.

The Phase I project has been guided by a nationwide and international Virtual Advisory Panel ("VAP") that helped to shape the priorities and nature of the tools being developed.

Here's a schematic of the "Adaptive Teaching and Learning Laboratory" showing the educational tools developed in Phase I:

The three tools that make up the Adaptive Teaching and Learning Laboratory are
-- an adaptive arithmetic tutor,
-- a guidance/assessment module, and
-- a NN-based student simulator.

These tools operate together in a program called "MAN" to simulate arithmetic training of students with various kinds of learning deficiencies.

"MAN" simulation examples show some very interesting behavior, and demonstrate the adaptive tutor's ability to adjust automatically to variations in the (simulated) student's needs.

A few pilot tests by educators and two real LD students were squeezed into Phase I, thanks to the assistance of some of the VAP members. The tests are far from definitive, but are encouraging. The tests also point out how far it is from a research tool to a product!

Phase I has demonstrated the feasibility and usefulness of developing a NN-based adaptive teaching and learning laboratory. The project has demonstrated an adaptive tutor, a companion guidance/assessment module, and a student simulator that operate together to simulate the training of LD students in arithmetic. Initial experience with usage by educators and students indicates promise for future applications.

I greatly appreciate the contributions of those who have helped make the Phase I project a success.

Thanks to the VAP members for their interest and support throughout Phase I (see Members of the VAP).

Thanks to the U.S. Department of Education for supporting the Phase I project. Special thanks to the DOEd's agents, Carol B. O'Leary and Donna M. Hoblit who handled the administration of the project in a most efficient manner, in spite of government funding upheavals during the partisan struggle over how and when to balance the US budget. Thanks also, to Dr. David B. Malouf, the DOEd technical representative for this project.

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