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An Interactive Social Tutoring System to Improve and Measure Social Goals for Students Related to Academic and Other School-Related Outcomes

Phase II Contract

Project Info

Project Description

ID: ED-IES-11-C-0039
TERM: 06/11 – 06/13

Elementary school is a time of tremendous growth and development in students’ social skills and peer relations. Students who are able to establish and maintain positive peer relations are more successful in school (including higher levels of achievement) and better able to cope with stressful life events, such as poverty. In contrast, students who have difficulty navigating the social developmental shifts of elementary school are substantially more likely to experience academic failure, behavioral problems, and emotional difficulties.

This Phase II project will build on feedback and test results from Phase I to fully develop and test an innovative computer-based interactive social tutoring system (ISTS) for 4th-5th grade students. For the first time, Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) technology will be employed to create an effective computer-based social learning environment that adapts to match the social skill learning needs of individual students. The ISTS software, entitled “Zoo U,” will provide tailored social problem-solving tasks for six Social Skill Units: Cooperation, Communication, Emotion Regulation, Empathy, Impulse Control, and Initiation. In sum, the software will (a) adjust the difficulty level in response to a student’s performance, providing a scaffold for learning; (b) monitor progress so pedagogical agents can provide real-time feedback (positive and constructive) and any needed assistance; and (c) calculate performance indices for each Social Skill Unit, as well as overall social skills levels and learning trends for specific social goals.

The ground-breaking “Zoo U” software and intervention package will leverage technology to provide (a) an engaging and powerful social learning experience for students; (b) professional learning experiences and on-going implementation support for teachers; and (c) a real-time Reporting Center through which educators can monitor and document students’ progress toward specific measurable social goals. By enhancing students’ social problem solving skills and reinforcing specific social skills needed to navigate social situations faced by elementary students, “Zoo U” holds the potential for significant and lasting impact on the quality of students’ peer relations and, in turn, their school-based academic and behavioral adjustment.

Zoo U Assessment is now available for purchase. To learn more or to purchase Zoo U Assessment, visit 3C Marketplace.