The Leonardo Project: An Intelligent Cyberlearning System for Interactive Scientific Modeling in Elementary Science Education

The project designs and implements technologies that combine artificial intelligence in the form of intelligent tutoring systems with multimedia interfaces (i.e., an electronic science notebook and virtual labs) to support children in grades 4-5 learning science. The students use LEONARDO's intelligent virtual science notebooks to create and experiment with interactive models of physical phenomena.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1020229
Funding Period: 
Sunday, August 15, 2010 to Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Full Description: 

The project designs and implements technologies that combine artificial intelligence in the form of intelligent tutoring systems with multimedia interfaces to support children in grades 4-5 learning science. The students use LEONARDO's intelligent virtual science notebooks to create and experiment with interactive models of physical phenomena. With this technology, students' models 'come alive' as interactive multimedia artifacts that combine animation, sound, and narration. The curricular focus is on physical and earth sciences, and the technology supports multimodal interactive scientific modeling for four curricular units: forces and motion, magnetism and electricity, landforms, and weather and climate. A central feature of this environment is PadMates, which are intelligent virtual tutors that support science learning through interactive scientific modeling.

The PIs investigate the cognitive mechanisms by which learning occurs. Specifically, they study the central issues of problem solving (strategy use, divergent thinking, and collaboration) and engagement (motivation, situational interest, presence) with respect to achievement as measured by both science content knowledge and transfer. With diverse student populations in 60 classrooms drawn from both urban and rural settings, the studies determine precisely which technologies and conditions contribute most effectively to learning processes and outcomes.

The products include technologies and findings that should be the basis of a framework to inform the future development of similar systems. The impact should be substantial on all learners given the potential power of the technology to scaffold learning at an important developmental stage.