The project aims at creating a novel research front in the gap between two encompassing research fields that both focus on development of meta-cognitive capabilities. One field concerns the development in school children of mental strategies and control mechanisms that improve an individual’s capability for problem solving and learning. The other field targets the very young – infants and up to 4-5 years of age – and the development of their understanding that someone else can know, think and desire – and thus act – in another way than themselves, a so called Theory of Mind (ToM).

In spite of the obvious relation between the fields – both aim at exploring the development of children’s knowledge and understanding of mental phenomena – few projects have undertaken to connect the fields. One reason is that several methods suitable for studying cognition in school children cannot easily be applied on younger children. This project exploits a research instrument in the form of a digital learning game, in which the child acts as teacher and instructs and guides a digital tutee or protégée.

This situation creates a natural incitement for the child to reason about her tutee’s “thinking” and learning. Our goal is to study the relation between i) the child’s meta-cognitive abilities as manifested in this situation, ii) the child’s developmental level with respect to ToM and iii) the child’s developmental level as to her capability to think and reason about her own learning and problem solving.

By contributing to a novel research front-line the project can be fully motivated from a pure research perspective. In addition there are strong application oriented motives. Children who fail in school often have weakly developed metacognitive abilities, whereas the successful children are strong in this respect. Increased knowledge on the development of these capabilities, including the conception of one self as a learner, is therefore of importance. Why? Because if we at an early stage can identify and support children who are weak or slow in this development we may positively influence their chances of future learning inside and outside of the school context.

Publications

Anderberg, E., Axelsson, A., & Haake, M. (2013). “Can preschoolers profit from a teachable agent based play-and-learn game in mathematics?” In K. Yacef & H, C. Lane (Eds.) IAIED 2013. Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED 2013), LNCS, vol. 7926 (pp. 289-298). Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany: Springer-Verlag.

Axelsson, A., Andersson, R., & Gulz, A. (in prep.) ”Preschooler’s capabilities to pay attention to a digital protégée while visually distracted by other stimuli”.

Haake, M., Axelsson, A., & Gulz, A. (in prep.) ”Scaffolding mentalising capabilities via a play-and-learn software for preschool.”

Axelsson, A.(2013). “Preschoolers Favour Teachable Agent’s Action over Distraction.” Master’s Thesis in Cognitive Science, Div. of Cognitive Science (LUCS), Lund University.


Clausen-Bruun, M. (2013). ”Does Training Production of Tensed Complements Accelerate the Development of Theory of Mind?” Master’s Thesis in Cognitive Science, Div. of Cognitive Science (LUCS), Lund University.


Anderberg, E. (2013). “How pupil data from educational games can be presented to teachers.” Master’s Thesis in Cognitive Science, Div. of Cognitive Science (LUCS), Lund University.

Gulz, A. & Haake, M. (in press). “Forskning och utveckling om digitala läromedel för att gynna lärande och lärare”. In: A. Persson & R. Johansson (Eds.), Forskarperspektiv på kunskap, utbildning och skola – utbildningsvetenskaplig forskning vid Lund universitet. Lund, Sweden

Balkenius, C., Gulz, A., Haake, M., & Johansson, B. (Eds.). (2013) Intelligent, socially oriented technology: Projects by teams of master level students in cognitive science and engineering. Master level course papers, Div. of Cognitive Science (LUCS), Lund University. Lund University Cognitive Studie, No 154.

Anderberg. E., Axelsson, A., Bengtsson, S., Håkansson, M., & Lindberg, L. (2013) “Exploring the Use of a Teachable Agent in a Mathematical Computer Game for Preschoolers.” Lund University Cognitive Studies, No 154.

Andersson, S., Eliasson, S., Götling, M., Jönsson, E., & Svensson, J. (2013) “Lära genom att lära ut på den digitala lekplatsen (Learning by Teaching at the Digital Playground).” Lund University Cognitive Studies, No 154.

Brynolf, E., Hammarlund, A., Malmberg, M., Rödén, C., & Walter. M.  (2013). “Ett Digital-elev-spel – Bondgården – för 3-5-åringar. A Teachable Agent Game – The Farm – for 3-5 year olds”. Lund University Cognitive Studies, No 154.

Norrliden, Björn (2012). “A mathematics Game for Preschool Children Using Teachable Agents and HTML5.” Master’s Thesis in Interaction Design / Cognitive Science, Dept. of Design Sciences / Div. of Cognitive Science (LUCS), Lund University.

Husain, Layla (2011). “Getting Serious about math: Serious game design framework & an example of a math educational game.” Master’s Thesis in Cognitive Science, Div. of Cognitive Science (LUCS), Lund University.

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