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Announcing DSSG 2023 Projects: Fostering Classroom Tools and Assistive Technology

Posted by on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 in - Generative AI, DSSG, Newsletter, Vanderbilt Generative AI Research, Vanderbilt University Data Science Institute and Vanderbilt University School of Engineering | Large Language Models.

The Data Science Institute is excited to announce the projects for this summer’s  Data Science for Social Good 2023. This year, we are placing a special focus on developing tools for classrooms and assistive technology projects to cater to the needs of neurodivergent individuals.

Classroom Projects:

  • English as a Second Language: Caroline Miller, an ESL Teacher at Metro Nashville Public School Glencliff Elementary, is exploring the use of generative AI to create text-based questions aligned with state English Language Arts standards, simplify texts based on students’ WIDA scores, and assist in translating texts for improved comprehension.
  • Document Study: Jesse Blocher, Director of Graduate Studies at the DSI, leads this project that aims to design a self-study system using a large-language model, enabling students to interact with texts or authoritative sources, encouraging questions, answers, and exploration.
  • Literature searching and writing: Madhvi Venkatesth — Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Program Director with the Office of Biomedical Research Education & Training (BRET), and Curriculum Director for the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences — seeks to empower students in responsibly using ChatGPT for literature searching and writing about research. The goal is to facilitate extracting key points from scientific papers and recognizing trends in scientific literature.

Assistive Technology Projects:

  • Job Coach Question Answering/Email-Text Backend: The project involves providing factual answers to employee questions via email or text, with a dedicated backend to handle these interactions.
  • Email Tone Transfer: Crafting tonally correct and culturally aligned workplace emails can be challenging. This project aims to provide guidance for creating effective emails, particularly for non-native English speakers and those new to professional communication.
  • Email/Document Summarization (Assistive Applications Summarization): An email summarization tool is being developed to condense verbose emails, extract key facts, and generate draft responses, improving overall efficiency and clarity of communication.
  • Assignment Coach (Executive Function Assistance): This project aims to assist students with executive function issues by helping them manage assignments, break down large projects into smaller tasks, and provide recommendations for organizing homework throughout a day or week.
  • Emotion/Sentiment Characterization of Text: For individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), understanding emotional undertones in conversation can be challenging. This project focuses on estimating emotional sentiment in short messages to aid in better comprehension and communication.
  • Planning Assistant: This project aims to create a tool that organizes assignments across multiple classes, provides scheduling support, and helps students effectively manage their academic workload.

Low resource language project:

  • This project, led by DSI Data Scientist Umang Chaudhry aims to address the challenges faced by low-resource languages, focusing specifically on Hindi and Sanskrit. The team is developing an AI assistant for language professors and tools to keep curricula up-to-date with changes in the Hindi language.

Science Interviews for Public Consumption:

  • Dr. Holly Fletcher, Director of Media Equity and Emerging Platforms at VUMC, is working on a tool to broaden the scope of experts and research available for media interviews. The goal is to enhance public health campaigns, research advancements, and brand awareness by providing journalists with easy access to experts and research.

French Revolution Role Play:

  • Dr. Holly Tucker, Mellon Foundation Chair in the Humanities and Professor of French, is leading this project using AI and data analysis to enhance the immersive learning experience for students in her “French Revolution Reacting to the Past” class. By analyzing student interactions, creating visualizations, and integrating AI into the game’s letter-writing component, the project team aims to provide an engaging and educational experience.

AI Storybook Project: 

  • The project focuses on developing an AI-based dialogic question generating system, named AIDA, to support parents of young readers. AIDA generates high-quality questions that parents can use during shared book reading to encourage conversations about the story.

We are excited to embark on these projects, leveraging data science to create impactful solutions in classrooms and assistive technologies. Stay tuned to our weekly newsletter all summer for more updates on the progress and outcomes. You can sign up for the newsletter here.



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