|Funded by:||Universität Augsburg|
|Local project leader:||René Bühling Dipl.-Inf. Michael Wißner Nikolaus Bee|
DynaLearn aims at the development of an interactive learning environment where learners are able to model conceptional system knowledge individually or in collaboration with others. The objective to provide students’ with an individual learning environment with teachers and learners that adapted to their skills immediately leads to the metaphor of a virtual classroom. In this classroom, students may directly engage in a dialogue with virtual teachers, mentors or learning companions. They may help other agents by teaching them and subsequently watch their performance in a test or quiz. In this way, the virtual world becomes a (virtual) class room inside a (real) class room. The agents may either inhabit their own environment or reside on the user’s desktop as part of the GARP system. In the latter case, the monitor will serve as the agents’ living space.
Cartoon-like pets are expressive, but do not raise too high expectations regarding their conversational skills. Furthermore, they may evoke strong emotions in users and thus have the potential to engage in long-term relationships with them. We decided to employ hamsters because of their familiarity as pets and their strong presence in digital media. Once discovered by an Israeli zoologist in the Syrian Desert, gold hamsters became more and more popular as pets – first in the United States and a little bit later also in Europe. The fact that hamsters have been heavily exploited as laboratory animals and specific kinds of hamster are now protected species in several countries, such as the Grey Hamster in Bulgaria, raises the awareness of the environmental problems to be addressed in DynaLearn.