MAKING EBOOKS ADAPTIVE
University of Malta (MALTA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:In our educational systems, students are required to follow the same program as their class. This happens irrespective of the educational capabilities of the child and the leeway offered to the teacher is somewhat limited since the educator is constrained with severe limitations such as time. Thus, this brings us to the situation whereby promising students are not encouraged enough to go beyond the class average whereas weak students struggle to reach that average. This paper presents a system designed to addressed such an issue especially when it comes to reading. The Adaptive eBook feels like a normal book, presented on a tablet device. However, the eBook is constantly testing the capabilities of the student reading it and if it realises that the child is reading swiftly through the book, it will adjust the content (which is still going to be read) and make it harder. In so doing, it will be pushing the child towards learning new vocabulary. If on the other hand, the student is finding the eBook difficult to understand, the reading problem detector will simplify the text in order to help the child cope with the contents of the book. The original version was designed for year 4 students because they all have access to a tablet device (in Malta). The experiments were conducted with 45 students from both state and private institutions and it was seen that the Adaptive eBook does have the ability of helping students understand the text better, especially those who suffer from reading long sentences. After the experiment, a survey was conducted amongst their parents in order to see their reaction to the Adaptive eBook. 80% of these parents believe that the system would help their children both from an educational perspective as well as a personal one. They claim that even though they would like to dedicate more time to the education of their children, the fact that they have time constraints due to work and other obligations makes it impossible to dedicate as much time as they would like. Having a book which is automatically guiding their child will facilitate their task since they know that when they're not with him, the child is still learning and not getting frustrated because of a difficult problem. Another important issue which we considered was the relationship with the authors. Since they are quite jealous of their work, we also created a system whereby authors can check the results of the automated simplification and adjust it if they feel that it distorts the storyline they had in mind. In so doing, the simplification is guaranteed to be in line with the original story. In addition to the positive results achieved, another success factor is the fact that the Adaptive eBook does not simply offer a helpful system to children, but it also offers an innovative concept that could be expanded and improved in several ways.
Keywords: Adaptive system, eBook, syntactic simplification, lexical simplification, eye-movements.