Interactive mixed reality training for schools
Teachers often feel inadequately prepared for dealing with complex socio-emotional challenges, such as those that can be triggered by heterogeneous learning groups or behavioral conflicts. In this context, effective methods for emotion and conflict regulation are required, which cannot be trained systematically and realistically in education. Mixed reality (MR) environments can offer suitable technological solutions for this. The MITHOS project (Mixed-Reality Interactive Training for Dealing with Heterogeneity and Conflict Situations in Schools) aims to support the acquisition of social skills for teaching.
goals and procedure
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.
© Foto: eigene Darstellung
central elements of mithos
Technologically and conceptually enhanced MR-training approach for the sustainable acquisition of socio-emotional competencies in a realistic simulation of conflict situations in heterogeneous groups. The approach uses interactive virtual avatars and agents in different roles
Computer model-based analysis of verbal and non-verbal behavior to evaluate socio-emotional characteristics and the formal definition of conflict situations.
An adaptive training curriculum for teachers that is transferable and integrated to other domains
An equally transferable curricular inclusion in apprenticeship training
Handling ELSI aspects, co-design with users and feedback into "real" life with a strong focus on long-term evaluations within the project and beyond.