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A Cognitive Interface for Educational Improvement:
Assessing Students’ Attentional Focus in the Classroom

Project description

Students’ focused attention is a central prerequisite for classroom learning. Research shows that teachers differ substantially in how successful they are in eliciting and guiding their students’ attention, which is often referred to as “classroom management” and “cognitive activation”. Furthermore, they may also not always be aware of their students’ attentional focus, and this may be particularly true for beginning teachers (teachers who are in the induction phase or shortly after this stage).

This project aims to develop an assistive “cognitive interface” which informs teachers about students’ focused attentional state. Such an interface could be used (1) in “realtime” in classrooms, (2) as part of teacher education (e.g. video feedback sessions that also include information on students’ attentional focus or “stand-alone” solutions that provide feedback on patterns of student engagement over the course of the teaching unit), and (3) in research projects that bring together classroom situations/teaching approaches with student outcomes.

A team of researchers who specialize in attentional and working-memory processes in learning situations (Gerjets), computational attention registration (Kasneci) and teaching quality (Trautwein) is brought together. During the project, a cognitive interface for teacher-led learning arrangements will be developed. The resulting interface will be validated in both the TüDiLab by collecting additional measures on students’ attentional focus and real classroom environments. These findings not only reveal the effects of cognitive interface when it is used in real classroom, but also provide a basis to understand the relation between students’ attentional focus and their learning of the topics.

  1. Project Team