SBIR Phase I: Improving Children's Motivation, Self-Efficacy, Science Learning and Reading Proficiency

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Boulder Language Technologies
2690 Center Green Ct S Ste 200
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This SBIR Phase I project's broader/commercial impact is the potential of the intelligent tutoring system to increase young learners' science motivation and achievement and to improve their fluent reading and comprehension skills. The innovation thus addresses a critical national need to improve students' science learning and reading proficiency in our nation's schools, since national assessments of educational progress indicate that the majority of fourth, eighth and twelfth grade students are not proficient in either science or reading on standardized tests. The innovation is thus designed to provide teachers with an accessible, affordable and highly effective learning tool that will improve their students' engagement, motivation and learning in both science and reading. The projects' commercialization plan is designed to support widespread distribution of the innovation to schools in the U.S. and globally through existing channels, thus increasing the potential for broad societal impact. The project aims to develop and demonstrate the feasibility of an intelligent tutoring system that will help children learn to reason about science and comprehend science texts through conversational interactions with a virtual tutor. Successful outcomes of the project will lead to new insights and contribute to scientific knowledge about how advanced human language technologies, character animation technologies and computer vision technologies can be combined and integrated into intelligent tutoring systems to optimize young learners' engagement, motivation, self-efficacy and learning. The project is based on theory and scientific research on how children learn through social interaction in multimedia environments, and prior research by the project team that improved children's motivation to learn science and their science achievement through conversations with a virtual science tutor. Successful outcomes of the SBIR Phase I project will extend this prior research and advance scientific knowledge by demonstrating the feasibility and promise of an intelligent tutoring system that tracks and interprets students? eye movements to improve science learning, oral reading fluency and reading comprehension.