Build your own Natural Language Processing based Intelligent Assistant using Python, It’s easy!

Before we begin, let us talk about how Mike (a fictional character) spends a typical morning. Mike begins his day by searching for breakfast recipes on Google Now (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Now). After a filling breakfast, Mike starts getting ready for work. He asks Siri (http://www.apple.com/in/ios/siri/) to tell him the weather and traffic conditions for his drive to work. Finally, as Mike gets ready to leave the house, he asks Alexa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Alexa) to dim the lights and thermostat. It is not even 10 a.m. yet, but Mike like many of us has already used three intelligent personal assistant applications using Natural Language Processing (NLP). We will unravel the mysteries of building intelligent personal assistants with a simple example to build such an assistant quite easily using NLP.

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How do students differ in gamified education?

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Gamification of University-level courses is becoming a common practice, as many professors decide to try offering their students a more engaging learning environment. Nevertheless, we still do not have a clear idea on how individual students engage differently with a gamified course. But now a detailed, long-term study from the University of Lisbon has presented some insightful observations on this topic.

During the course of their study, the researchers observed three editions of a gamified University of Lisbon course on Multimedia Content Production. The course employed a blended learning method that combined theoretical lectures, lab classes, and an online Moodle component where students engaged in discussions and completed online assignments.

Throughout the years, the researchers have learned from the experience and improved the course’s gameful design. A general observation from the student’s feedback is that they all felt the gamified course was indeed more engaging than the previous non-gamified editions. However, there were some noticeable differences on how individual students engaged with the course, which the researchers sought to investigate.

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The Surface Dial and the Physical/Digital Divide in Interactions

Microsoft announced their new Surface Studio this week. It acts as an all-in-one computer, but with a modular screen that can be re-positioned to act as a drawing tablet. The idea of a computer screen that works as a drawing tablet is nothing new. Wacom and other companies have been producing devices like this for years. What’s new about this is the fact that Microsoft has made the screen an integral part of the computing device, rather than a peripheral that can be added later if needed.

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The Surface Studio. (Image Credit: https://news.microsoft.com/surface-studio-2/)

By doing this, Microsoft is bringing a novel interactive technique to a wider audience. Starting at $3,000, a fairly wealthy audience, but still, comparable in price to a high-end Wacom tablets + a professional graphic artist computer.

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CHI PLAY 2016 – Day 3

The third day at CHI PLAY 2016 ended the conference with important discussions focused on play, design, and the games industry. If you have not seen them yet, check the first and second day summaries out before continuing!

The day opened with an open discussion of future suggestions for the conference series and followed with the first Industry Panel, which counted with the expertise of Toni Phillips (Triseum), Sheri Graner Ray (Zombie Cat Studios), and Yelena Balin (b.well). The panelists addressed some of the challenges of the game industry, such as keeping up with the technology, innovating, engaging different audiences, and building diversity into games.

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CHI PLAY 2016 – Day 2

The second day at CHI PLAY had a lot of fun and important research! In case you’ve missed it, read about the first day before continuing.

Annika Waern presented the keynote of the day on Play, Participation and Empowerment, and left everyone reflecting about the opportunities that arise when designers let the players co-create the game rules and boundaries. It was followed by David Cohen‘s talk on Transformation Through Transparency, in which he emphasized the importance of collaboration between educators and game designers for building educational games, as well as the importance of embedding learning in a transparent way to allow players to enjoy playing and increase learning effectiveness.

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