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The goal of this project is to develop a collaborative network, named RubiNet, dedicated to early childhood education. The network will aim to integrate the nationwide activities of children, parents, teachers, researchers, and classroom robots. As a one-year landmark project, we propose to develop and evaluate the seeds of this network at a model Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) at the University of California San Diego.
Besides its potential to transform educational practice, RubiNet is being conceived as tool to accelerate research on early education. A network like RubiNet could allow collection of scientific data on early education at massive scales, for very low cost, and at an unprecedented level of detail. These data could be used, for example, to understand the mechanisms by which socioeconomic factors impact early learning, or to develop standards for early detection of developmental disorders.
Proposed activities include; (1) Construction and networking of 10 classroom robots to be deployed at ECEC. (2) Development of software for teachers to easily develop their own educational materials and download them into the classroom robots. (3) Development of collaborative sharing and filtering tools to maintain a livingrepository of robot programs to be used in early education. (4) Development of software to use RubiNet as a modern tool for research on early education. Example study that will use RubiNet to collect developmental standards for knowledge and expertise on facial expressions. These standards will become the basis for assessment of similar skills on children with autism spectrum disorders.
Project Status: Proposal Submitted to the MacArthur Digital Media and Innovation Competition, on October 15, 2007.