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From Primary School Arithmetic to Neuroradiology: computers as motivators and envisioning devices in education

Professor Benedict du Boulay
Friday, 4 June, 2010 - 15:00
C2 Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury

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Computers can play a wide variety of roles in education. One such role is as a device to motivate learning. Another is to provide novel ways to see and understand a subject area. This talk will describe a number of research projects undertaken by the Human Centred Technology Research Group at Sussex University. One project involved primary school children where tablet computers were used to bridge between school and home.
Another involved undergraduates learning programming where the system took account of the pressures of the work and prescribed neck and shoulder exercises with surprising results. The final example describes how radiologists learning to interpret MRI scans were provided with new ways to relate MRI images to brain diseases.


Benedict du Boulay is Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the School of Informatics at the University of Sussex. Following a Bachelors degree in Physics at Imperial College London, he spent time both in industry and as a secondary school teacher before returning to university to complete his PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 1978 working on Logo.
After a post-doc position at Edinburgh, a lectureship at the University of Aberdeen and a Sloan Fellowship at the University of California San Diego, he joined Sussex as a lecturer in 1983. He has been at Sussex since then, taking many roles of responsibility including Dean of Cognitive and Computing Sciences (COGS) as well as more recently Dean of Science and Technology.

He has two main research areas. The first is the psychology of programming, where his main work has been in the area of novices learning programming and the development of tools to assist that process. The second is the application of artificial intelligence in education. Here he is particularly interested in issues around modelling and developing students metacognition and motivation. He is a former editor of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, is on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning and has edited/written eight books and written some 150 papers in the areas indicated above.

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