In MITHOS, the academic partners DFKI, Augsburg University, and Saarland University are working with the companies paragon semvox and TriCAT on interactive MR and AI technologies for the sustainable acquisition of social competencies for teaching. The coordinator is the Affective Computing group of the DFKI research department Cognitive Assistants. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the funding priority "Interactive Systems in Virtual and Real Spaces - Innovative Technologies for the Digital Society" of the Federal Government’s High-Tech Strategy 2025.
The aim is to create training opportunities for teaching that are close to reality, that can be run through repeatedly, and do not risk disadvantaging individuals. Both beginning and working teachers can use these trainings to prepare purposefully for challenges of teaching groups of learners who have different cultural, emotional, and cognitive backgrounds.
In MITHOS, socially and emotionally challenging situations are realized in a virtual-immersive VR environment. In this environment, a human-controlled avatar can communicate with multiple autonomous agents representing students. In this way, the ability to empathize and deal professionally with conflict situations in the classroom is trained and alternative courses of action are demonstrated for practical use. The training focuses on perspective-taking and conflict regulation.
"In social interactions, people learn from each other through experience. Emotions are important information on how we assess a situation and which options for action are available to us. MITHOS is researching interactive virtual reality training for teachers on the emotional assessment of situations and possibilities for action in heterogeneous everyday school life. The goal is to strengthen communication competence and thus contribute to an emphatic learning society," says co-project leader Dr. habil. Dimitra Tsovaltzi.
The human-centered and generalizable concept includes a novel combination of virtual-immersive and collaborative 3D environments, social signal analysis, speech analysis, and synthesis to simulate interactive virtual agents. Together, this allows for realistic training. For the first time, MITHOS enables the real-time exchange of social signals between humans and agents, including natural implicit social feedback, as well as the coupling of virtual and real-world experiences.
The MITHOS training will be anchored in teacher training at Saarland University for systematic empirical investigation. It is planned to investigate the training effects in studies at schools.
Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF
01.08.2021 - 31.07.2023
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
- University of Augsburg, Human Centered Artificial Intelligence, Augsburg
- Saarland University - Empirical Educational Research and Subject Didactics German Primary Level, Saarbrücken
- TriCAT GmbH, Ulm
- Paragon SemVox GmbH, Limbach