Response to “Girl in Wave : Wave in Girl”

As a researcher in the field of personalized learning technology, what rings true about “Girl in Wave : Wave in Girl”?

The story referenced using brain data to provide a fine-grained assessment of student capabilities, and this is indeed the sort of research that’s currently being conducted in my field. In addition, the story contains the paradigm of having a mentor work with a child one on one, identify which learning materials to present next, and help the child realize his or her own learning potential. This is both a primary objective of researchers developing personalized learning technologies, and how several educational technology researchers see the role of teachers in the evolving technological environment.

What technical or research questions relevant to your field does this story raise?

The story prompts several relevant research questions:

  1. How could advances in neuroscience be leveraged to accelerate learning?
  2. How can “Mentors” be supported in providing individualized guidance to their students?
  3. If you could build the kind of intervention presented in the story, on who and where should it be used?

Does the story open up new directions for your work?

I am working on a project to assess learning using brain data, and this story does prompt me to further consider a natural extension of that line of research – can the brain be manipulated to accelerate learning? The idea of targeting literacy for such a broad intervention is one that I have been playing with, and I think the story illustrates how effective and important that might be. Finally, the idea of having mentors share memories and experiences with their students is an interesting one. It might be productive to think about how lower-tech versions of that concept can be put in practice.

Erin Walker is an Assistant Professor in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. She orchestrates the design and implementation of cutting-edge personalized learning technologies, and then evaluates them for their real-world impact.