Understanding Educational Potential and Value of Affective Computing

Understanding Educational Potential and Value of Affective Computing

Cenk Akbiyik (Erciyes University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8598-7.ch010
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Abstract

Educational systems have met information and communication technologies many years ago. Although many years of effort and vast investments, the integration of ICT with educational systems is still weak. Besides many others, lack of interactivity and emotionality in current technologies can be seen as obstacles in front of this integration. We know that learning is associated not only with our cognitive abilities but also with our emotions and affective states. Affective computing is an interdisciplinary branch that is interested in design of systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process and respond to users' affective states. Affective computing may contribute to interactivity and emotionality of human-computer interaction. Within the scope of this book chapter, related scientific literature was reviewed in order to investigate educational value and potential of affective computing.
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Affective Computing

If we want computers to be genuinely intelligent and to interact naturally with us, we must give computers the ability to recognize, understand, and even to have and express emotions. - Rosalind W. Picard, 1997

Affective computing is an emerging computing paradigm (Kwon & Hong, 2013, p. 93). In 1995, Rosalind. W. Picard wrote a technical report, more a thought paper, where she presented the very initial ideas on affective computing. Depending on Picard’s work we can define affective computing as a branch that deals with design of systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process and respond to users’ affective states. As seen in the definition, responding to users’ affective states is the critical issue in affective computing.

Affective computing is a powerful and deeply important topic, full of extremely difficult technical, scientific, philosophical, and ethical challenges (Picard, 2010, p. 16). It has contributed to various fields in at least four ways (Kaliouby, Picard, & Cohen, 2006, p. 230):

  • 1.

    Designing novel sensors and machine learning algorithms that analyze multimodal channels of affective information.

  • 2.

    Creating new techniques to infer a person’s affective or cognitive state.

  • 3.

    Developing machines that respond affectively and adaptively to a person’s state.

  • 4.

    Inventing personal technologies for improving awareness of affective states and its selective communication to others.

Affective computing is an interdisciplinary field standing on the intersection of computer sciences, psychology, and cognitive science. That’s why it has been attracting various scientists and specialists such as computer scientists, educators, psychologists, and cognitive scientists.

Basically affective computing aims to use power of affect to enhance human-human communication and human-computer interaction. There is an enthusiasm among scientists, researchers, and system developers that affective computing has been enabling or will enable users to interact with computers in a more efficient, more humane and friendlier manner.

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Aim And Method

The current study is a literature search aiming to investigate educational value and potential of affective computing. Throughout the chapter, affective computing was studied from the viewpoint of learning and instruction. Several scientific articles and dissertations on affective computing and affective states were reviewed to seek answers to these questions:

  • What is affective computing?

  • What are applications of affective computing?

  • How important are affective states for learning?

  • What are instructional constructs related with affective computing?

  • What are ethical issues regarding design and use of affective computing systems?

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Affective States

Affective states and therefore emotions are critical components of an affective computing system. In related literature, these two are generally used interchangeably. Although, they are two closely related constructs, they have their own meanings.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Environment: Environment in which learning occurs.

Instructional Design: The process of creating instructional experiences.

Human-Computer Interaction: A discipline concerned with the study, design, construction and implementation of human-centric computer systems.

Affective Computing: An interdisciplinary branch that deals with design of systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process and respond to users’ affective states.

Affective State: An encompassing term, used to describe the topics of emotion, feelings, and moods together

Emotions: Complex neurophysiological systems with visceral, behavioural and reflective levels operating on biological, neurological and psychological systems.

Instructional Technology: Application of scientific knowledge at solution of instructional problems.

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