The Quantum Mentors will provide teachers with unlimited access to training where they can work at their own pace
Pittsburgh, PA (PRWEB) August 5, 2008
Quantum Simulations, Inc., a developer of artificial intelligence (AI) tutoring, assessment and professional development software, has received a $500,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop the first-ever artificial intelligence-based teaching simulation software for science delivered in real time over the Internet. Similar to a classroom "flight simulator", this technology will offer a convenient opportunity to test and expand a teacher's preparedness through practice with realistic situations.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics' congressionally mandated annual report, "The Condition of Education", there is a significant shortage of qualified science and mathematics teachers in the United States. An increasing number of middle schools and high schools are forced to rely on new and out-of-field teachers to fill the gap for teaching these subjects, often resulting in a substantial decline in the quality of instruction and individual attention students receive.
To better prepare teachers for the classroom, Quantum is developing the Quantum Mentors, an AI-based software designed to help instructors prepare for teaching difficult subjects such as chemistry by simulating student/teacher interactions in a virtual online learning environment before getting in front of a live class. With Quantum, teachers will be able to:
- Enter their own problems from textbooks or other resources
- Review content and key concepts that are proven to cause students the most difficulty
- Deepen their own content understanding
- Learn to respond to student questions more effectively
- Practice proven pedagogical techniques for improving student understanding
- Conduct self-monitoring and assessment
"This is especially helpful for new teachers, but could also benefit experienced ones who notice students faltering or not responding well on certain topics," stated Jeanne Suehr, reviewer and chemistry teacher at Yough High School in Herminie, Pennsylvania. "As teachers, we always benefit from feedback, but often our administrators are not science certified and can't really help on subject-specific matters."
In the virtual Quantum classroom, student avatars raise their hands to ask questions about the teacher's chosen topic and problem. The artificial intelligence programming simulates students at varying levels of comprehension and knowledge. Clicking or "calling" on the student allows them to ask their question and, in a simulated live classroom environment, teachers read and hear the students' questions and practice how to handle a wide range of questions related to the problem the teacher has entered into the system. At any time during their training session, teachers can ask the virtual Mentor, a master teacher, questions about key concepts, specific steps in a problem or proven teaching techniques that improve student performance and conceptual understanding.
"The Quantum Mentors will provide teachers with unlimited access to training where they can work at their own pace," states Mr. Dale Holder, Quantum's Chief Academic Officer and master teacher. "The ability to stay ahead of the class and have the urgently-needed tools to prepare lesson materials will be a time-saving resource and excellent confidence builder for new and out-of-field teachers."
For more information and a virtual tour of the Quantum Mentors, please visit [http://www.quantumsimulations.com/professional_development.html .
Quantum Simulations, Inc. develops artificial intelligence (AI) tutoring, assessment and professional development software for science, mathematics and accounting that empowers teachers and inspires students from middle school through college to achieve more. Quantum's intelligent learning software is available stand-alone or integrated with our partners' web-based homework products and Learning Management Systems. A "technology think tank", Quantum is funded and supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. For more information, visit [http://www.quantumsimulations.com .