Psychologist Joins ISI; Will Work on AI Language Tutoring Project

December 11, 2003

UMass Amherst psychology professor Carole Beal has joined ISI, working with Lewis Johnson in the Center for Advanced Research on Technology in Education (CARTE)

Currently, she is working on the Rapid Tactical Language project, helping to create content for the Levantine Arabic tutor and developing plans for evaluation. She will also be developing initiatives in K -12 education and was involved in the recent USC proposal to the NSF Science of Learning Centers program.

Carole is on leave from her position as Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where her research focused on educational psychology and the impact of technology on learning. With her colleague Beverly Woolf, Carole developed and evaluated AnimalWatch, an intelligent tutoring system for middle school mathematics in which students learned about mathematics while following virtual adventures about endangered species.

The environmental biology theme is also integrated into their current NSF-supported project, Wayang Outpost, a web-based intelligent tutoring system for high school mathematics. In initial evaluation studies, students who worked with Wayang Outpost significantly improved their scores on mock SAT-Math tests.

Wayang Outpost incorporates real time, on line assessments of students' cognitive skills, including proficiency with math facts and spatial visualization ability, and provides tutoring that either fosters an algorithmic problem solving approach or supports more spatially-oriented solution strategies.

Wayang Outpost will use students' cognitive assessments to select the form of tutoring most likely to foster learning. In an initial study, female students, who typically score less well than males on spatial cognition tests, responded so well to spatially-oriented Wayang tutoring that they out- performed their male peers on a mock SAT-Math post test.

Beal is the wife of Paul Cohen, the new Deputy Director of the ISI Intelligent Systems Division. She is that rather rare creature, a California native, and is enjoying the return to the West Coast after two decades in New England.

She is using the time freed up from having to rake leaves and get out the snow shovels to sit in the garden with a glass of wine and a handful of pistachios (the official snack of the Beal- Cohen household) and watch hummingbirds dart among the flowers.

The best part? No mosquitoes!