Meet The Team

Jon Doe

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Jane Doe

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James Doe

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Edtech Group at the Cross Lab

Students in the Educational technology (Edtech) group at the Cross lab currently work on a variety of topics: metacognition, virtual reality (VR) assisted language learning, AI-assisted writing, personalized online learning platform development, elementary student programming education, life-long learning, and conversational chatbots in education. We are interested in understanding how educational technology can be combined with artificial intelligence, in particular, to improve student learning and assess the effectiveness of these new methods.

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Luc

Promoting University Students and Elementary School Teachers to Become Lifelong Learners Through Play

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Tony

Embodiment and Iconicity for Second Language Learning in Virtual Reality

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Dorj

A Chatbot for a TSE Professor’s Laboratory Using Combined Architecture

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John

AI-based Writing Assistants' Impact on English Language Learners’ Writing Proficiency

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Luc Gougeon (LUC)

Luc is a third-year Canadian working adult doctoral student. His research focuses on educational policies and computational thinking. He is interested in understanding if Japanese in-service teachers are ready to teach programming in 2020. Luc has been living in Japan since 2008 and has been working as a university lecturer since 2015. Luc uses technology in his classes on a daily basis and hopes that his research will help him train the new generation of educators. 

Promoting University Students and Elementary School Teachers to Become Lifelong Learners Through Play

In 2020, Japanese primary school educators will face the difficult challenge of introducing programming in their classes despite the fact that they never studied programming themselves. Our research aims are mapping the specific contours of the knowledge gap in-service teachers and extend this surveying to current universities students who are also lacking computer literacy skills. Most research in the field of computer literacy places a strong emphasis on children while neglecting the needs of in-service educators and older students. We will tackle this research by both surveying a range of students and teachers while conducting case studies consisting of an education intervention meant to give university students a quick grasp of computational thinking, computer literacy and basic programming concepts. The case study approach intends to offer students essentials skills in an active learning environment, skills which will be transferable to their future workplace or classroom if they intend to become educators. The results of this study are intended to offer stakeholders and policy-makers a clearer picture of the current educational landscape and enlighten their decisions. Below is an illustration of summarizing the issues which will be investigated related to education approaches and students’ knowledge needs. 

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Robert Anthony Olexa 

Robert Anthony Olexa is conducting research on Japanese students studying English as a foreign language (EFL) in tertiary educational settings funded by a JSPS Kakenhi grant. The research focuses on how students use iconic gestures and embodied communication to acquire English in virtual environments. The compilation of an ongoing Virtual Reality (VR) Chat language learner corpus cross-referenced with video data and multimodal analysis is used to observe how embodied learning contributes to students’ EFL learning progress.

Embodiment and Iconicity for English as a Foreign Language Learning in Virtual Reality

Iconicity is a term used to describe communicative elements that closely resemble their referents. A degree of iconicity when communicating between caregiver and learner has been recognized as necessary for first language acquisition. Also, the usefulness of iconic gestures has been intuited by educators for second language acquisition as evidenced through the broader educational approach of “Active Learning,” and more concentrated EFL approaches such as Total Physical Response. However, the limitations are known, and the Japanese EFL setting remains situated in the classroom. At current, the learning experience is delivered mainly through passive activities. 

 

Recent advancements in commercial VR technology have allowed for 6 degrees of freedom of movement (see below). Participants can move around in virtual environments with increased space and movement, allowing for embodied communication and iconic gestures. The liberation from a traditional classroom environment can improve EFL teaching and learning in Japan as a whole. Also, the findings may point to needed areas of improvement for software developers and designers of extended reality devices. 
 

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Static, 3 and 6 Degrees of Freedom in Virtual Environments

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John Maurice Gayed

John is a second-year American working adult doctoral student. He is interested in computer assisted language learning, learning management systems, information literacy and digital learning. John is a tech enthusiast and a full-time university lecturer teaching English for Academic Purposes among other courses at the University of Hyogo’s School of Engineering.

AI-based Writing Assistants' Impact on English Language Learners’ Writing Proficiency

John is currently researching the potential to use an AI-based writing assistant for second language learners at Cross lab. Little research has been done on how these systems affect L2 writing output and the researcher believes these systems will be as prevalent as spell-checking/grammar checking systems that were first developed more than thirty years ago. He plans to develop these tools to assist Japanese university students who are enrolled in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses overcome the various cognitive barriers they face when they attempt to produce written text in English. The researcher is developing the AI system based on Open AI’s GPT-2 language model. The expected outcome of the research is that AI-based writing assistants can improve students' writing fluency.

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Batjargal Dorjzodovsuren (DORJ)

Dorj is a fourth-year undergraduate student in Tokyo Tech’s Global Scientists and Engineers Program under the Department of Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering. He is from Mongolia and has industry experience in Japan as an engineer working in Natural Language Processing.

A Chatbot for a TSE Professor’s Laboratory Using Combined Architecture

One of the big issues in the educating process is reaching out to every student individually and providing them with the information they need to take control of their learning. Chatbots are gaining popularity as means of providing information by using Artificial Intelligence (AI), which has become popular. A Chatbot has tremendous potential by simulating an intelligent conversation with students, who are making an inquiry. In the context of learning process, chatbot can create a learning experience similar to one-on-one instruction. 

 

Using chatbots as a teaching resource offers the opportunity to increase instructional services to serve a wide range of students and reduce burden on staff and faculty from answering routine queries. If a bot can provide the teacher with support and answer students’ questions in the lab, the teacher can focus more time on teaching and research. When a new undergraduate or graduate students joins a lab, they need to understand the lab operating principles or guidelines and also safety procedures when they are doing lab work. After reading laboratory guideline, it is quite frequent that students cannot remember some information. Searching for information from the lab guideline is time consuming in order to find their required information. Instead of reading through the whole guideline, which is 15 pages to find relevant information, interactively asking the chatbot questions to find the information is easy and takes less time to find required information (hopefully). The expected outcome of this research project is to create a chatbot that uses both a rule-based and deep learning architectures for retrieving information from the Cross’ laboratory guideline.