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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:North Carolina State University
  • James C Lester
  • (919) 515-7534
  • Gautam Biswas
  • Cindy E Hmelo-Silver
  • Jeremy Roschelle
  • Mohit Bansal
Award Date:07/28/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 19,996,290
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 3,975,112
  • FY 2021=$3,975,112
Start Date:10/01/2021
End Date:09/30/2026
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.076
Primary Program Source:040106 NSF Education & Human Resource
Award Title or Description:AI Institute for Engaged Learning
Federal Award ID Number:2112635
DUNS ID:042092122
Parent DUNS ID:142363428
Program:AI Research Institutes
Program Officer:
  • Amy Baylor
  • (703) 292-5126

Awardee Location

Street:2601 Wolf Village Way
Awardee Cong. District:04

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:North Carolina State University
Street:1840 Entrepreneur Drive
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

Emerging breakthroughs in AI create significant and timely opportunities for accelerating innovation relevant to pressing national challenges in STEM education. Advances in AI are enabling new levels of interactivity, engagement, and inclusion. Driven by a vision in which AI supports and extends the intelligence of teachers and learners, the NSF AI Institute for Engaged Learning will design, develop, and investigate AI-driven narrative learning environments that create engaging story-based, collaborative problem-solving experiences. The Institute will conduct foundational AI research in natural language processing, computer vision, and machine learning, as well as in AI ethics. Building on these foundational advances, the Institute will conduct use-inspired AI research on narrative learning environments with rich AI-driven virtual agents and powerful multimodal sensing capabilities to understand how students learn and collaborate in rich story-based problem scenarios. The Institute will provide a robust infrastructure to support at-scale implementations of AI-driven narrative learning environments. It will create a nexus for distinctive innovations in in-school and out-of-school STEM education. Its research vision will be to empower diverse learners to become the next-generation STEM workforce by creating generative, collaborative AI-driven narrative learning environments that deeply engage learners in schools, at museums, and within their own communities. This vision will be informed by connections with diverse stakeholders to ensure that the Institute’s learning environments are ethically designed and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. The NSF AI Institute for Engaged Learning will produce transformative advances in STEM teaching and learning by bringing together a team of diverse researchers from four universities (North Carolina State University; Indiana University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Vanderbilt University), as well as an educational non-profit organization (Digital Promise) which will bring educational practitioners, policy makers, and product developers into the work. The Institute’s partners include a national network of K-12 schools, museums, and non-profit organizations. The Institute will create narrative learning environments that generate interactive stories dynamically tailored to the needs and interests of individual students and small groups and in multiple settings (classrooms, after-school programs, and museums). The Institute’s research has three complementary thrusts, to create: (1) narrative learning environments that generate engaging interactive story-based problem scenarios that elicit rich communication, require coordination, and spark collaborative creativity; (2) embodied conversational agent technologies with multiple modalities for communication (speech, facial expression, gesture, gaze, and posture) to support engaging learning interactions. Embodied conversational agents will be driven by advances in natural language understanding, natural language generation, and computer vision; and, (3) an innovative multimodal learning analytics framework that analyzes parallel streams of multimodal data derived from students’ conversations, gaze, facial expressions, gesture, and posture as they interact with each other, with teachers, and with embodied conversational agents. Woven throughout the Institute’s activities will be a strong focus on ethics, with an emphasis on creating AI-augmented learning that is deeply informed by considerations of fairness, accountability, transparency, trust, and privacy. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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