Pierre Dillenbourg (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne – EPFL, Switzerland)

Germane Robots

The interaction between a child and a robot is not designed the same way in human-robot interaction (HRI) and in educational uses of robotics (R4L). For instance, HRI researchers aim at minimizing misunderstandings between humans and robots, which makes perfectly sense. However, in education, misunderstandings and disagreements are the fuel for learning: learning is the side effect of the cognitive effort – verbal elaborations- required to repair misunderstandings or resolve conflicts. This approach does not make the design of such agents easier, since the robot must be able to perceive them and to repair them, which is not a trivial design task. This additional cognitive effort is close to the concept of ‘germane cognitive load’, proposed in instructional psychology, i.e. the cognitive load induced by the construction of new schemas. No pain, no gain. I will illustrate it with our work on robots for learning to read and to write, based on the learning-by-teaching paradigm. Despite having escaped from the trap of anthropomorphism and its uncanny valley, educational robotics seem to be still affected by the myth of media richness, i.e. the belief that the more a robot interact as a human (understand language, perceive emotions) the better it will be for learning. This is not totally false, but what learners learn depends first on the cognitive activity they have to perform, namely the fine tuning of their germane load, and only indirectly on the robot properties. No pain, no gain.

A former teacher in elementary school, Pierre Dillenbourg graduated in educational science (University of Mons, Belgium). He started his research on learning technologies in 1984. He obtained a PhD in computer science from the University of Lancaster (UK), in the domain of artificial intelligence applications for education. He has been assistant professor at the University of Geneva. He joined EPFL in 2002. He has been the academic director of Center for Digital Education, which implements the MOOC strategy of EPFL. He is full professor in learning technologies in the School of Computer & Communication Sciences, where he is the head of the CHILI Lab: “Computer-Human Interaction for Learning & Instruction ». With EPFL colleagues, he recently launched the Swiss EdTech Collider, an incubator with 60 start-ups in learning technologies.

Kori Inkpen (Microsoft Research, Redmond, USA)

Capturing the Everyday Magic of Play

Although technology is evolving to connect people in new and exciting ways, it still falls short of truly embracing the power of human connection. And for kids, that gap is all too evident. It is time to take a step back and let children inspire us to create technology that supports truly magical experiences. Designing “for” kids will disrupt the trajectory of telepresence and help us create environments that embody new forms of co-presence. This talk with reflect on my years of research examining children playing together with technology. This work started with supporting children’s play through multiple mice on a desktop computer, and evolved to include shared experiences with a plethora of telepresence prototypes. Although the insights gained from this work have been enlightening, I am still disappointed with the current offerings we have to support children’s remote play. Not only do our kids deserve better, I believe they can inspire new evolutions in this space, if we make them a priority in our design.

Dr. Kori Inkpen is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and Manager of the Social Technologies Research Group. Kori has worked in the area of interactive technologies for children for the past 25 years and continues to be inspired by children’s use of technology. More broadly, her work focuses on how technology impacts the way we engage and communicate with others, and the potential it offers to transform the way we interact with friends, families, colleagues, and strangers. Dr. Inkpen has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia (1997) and she was a Professor of Computer Science at Simon Fraser University (1998-2001) and Dalhousie University (2001-2007). She has published over 100 scientific papers in journals and conferences and is named in over 20 patents. Kori is a frequent invited keynote speaker at international conferences and has held numerous senior roles on conference program committees and organizing committees including Technical Program Chair for CHI 2015, Conference Co-Chair for CSCW 2010 and Conference Co-Chair for Group 2007. Kori has also been very active in efforts to support women in computing and organized the first “Imposter Syndrome” panel at the ACM Grace Hopper 2009 conference.

Alf Inge Wang (Norwegian University of Science and Technology – NTNU, Norway)

Teaching Children through innovation – experiences from EduApp4Syria and Kahoot!

This keynote talk focuses on teaching children through innovation and interaction with technology, and the presentation will focus on experiences from two highly successful technological innovations: EduApp4Syria and Kahoot!. EduApp4Syria, was an international innovation competition launched by the Norwegian government with the goal of creating the best game-based learning app to help Syrian children to learn their mother tongue. The initial competition resulted in 78 bids from companies based in 31 countries. The end results of the competition were two innovative game-based learning apps that have a proven positive effect on learning and psychosocial learning. The second part of the talk will focus on experiences and research on children’s interaction with Kahoot!. Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform invented at NTNU which has reached in 2017 70 million monthly active users, and is currently the fastest growing learning brand in the world.  You can read more about EduApp4Syria at: and more about Kahoot! at: .

Alf Inge Wang is a Professor in Game Technology at the Department of Computer Science at NTNU. Wang has since 2007 been the chairman of NTNU’s research program on computer games and the chairman of Norway’s largest professional network of game developers and game researchers – JoinGame. A few years back, he invented a classroom quiz game that later transformed into the Kahoot! experience. When he’s not coding, teaching or exploring new gaming models, Alf Inge spends his time composing music and performing it.