My science tutor Journal Article uri icon



  • This article describes My Science Tutor (MyST), an intelligent tutoring system designed to improve science learning by students in 3rd, 4th, and 5thgrades (7 to 11 years old) through conversational dialogs with a virtual science tutor. In our study, individual students engage in spoken dialogs with the virtual tutor Marni during 15 to 20 minute sessions following classroom science investigations to discuss and extend concepts embedded in the investigations. The spoken dialogs in MyST are designed to scaffold learning by presenting open-ended questions accompanied by illustrations or animations related to the classroom investigations and the science concepts being learned. The focus of the interactions is to elicit self-expression from students. To this end, Marni applies some of the principles ofQuestioning the Author, a proven approach to classroom conversations, to challenge students to think about and integrate new concepts with prior knowledge to construct enriched mental models that can be used to explain and predict scientific phenomena. In this article, we describe how spoken dialogs using Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and natural language processing were developed to stimulate students' thinking, reasoning and self explanations. We describe the MyST system architecture and Wizard of Oz procedure that was used to collect data from tutorial sessions with elementary school students. Using data collected with the procedure, we present evaluations of the ASR and semantic parsing components. A formal evaluation of learning gains resulting from system use is currently being conducted. This paper presents survey results of teachers' and children's impressions of MyST.

publication date

  • August 1, 2011

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • February 28, 2017 3:13 AM

Full Author List

  • Ward W; Cole R; BolaƱos D; Buchenroth-Martin C; Svirsky E; Vuuren SV; Weston T; Zheng J; Becker L

author count

  • 9

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1550-4875

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1550-4883

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 29


  • 7


  • 4