AIDE, new exploratory action at Inria

Date :
Changed on 10/03/2020
The modelling and assessment of computational thinking (CT) skills is a challenge that has a major impact on how learning activities are integrated into the curricula of OECD countries, particularly in terms of equal opportunities. The AIDE exploratory action aims to help address this challenge in an innovative way by modelling computational thinking through a neuro-inspired cognitive model, allowing analysis of the learner engaged in learning activities.

What does AIDE mean and what are your main research topics?

AIDE means Artificial Intelligence Devoted to Education.

Frédéric Alexandre, Gérard Giraudon, Isabelle Mirbel,  Margarida Romero, Didier Roy, Maryna Rafalska, et Thierry Viéville participent à ce projet.

We want to explore to what extent approaches or methods from cognitive neuroscience, linked to machine learning and knowledge representaion, could help to better formalize human learning as studied in educational sciences. In other words: we are taking advantage of our better understanding of how our brains work to help us better understand how our children learn. A vast program!

The focus here is on learning computational thinking, i.e., what to share in terms of the skills needed to master the digital world, not just consume or endure it,  considering specific learning tasks modeling.

Is it more a matter of basic or applied research?

It's an exploratory subject. We are taking the scientific risk of looking at things differently. 

For example, instead of using the so-called artificial intelligence mechanisms to try to make "assistants", i.e., algorithms to better learn, we start focusing on how formalisms from the field of "artificial intelligence" (numerical and symbolic) contribute to better understand how we learn.

But it is also a research with applications. Our hope is to contribute to the reduction of educational inequalities and improve school perseverance, focusing on transversal competencies, also called 21st century competencies which include computer thinking.

Do you have academic or industrial partners?

The educational sciences laboratory LINE works with the Inria Mnemosyne team, specialized in systemic computational neuroscience. We also receive advice from the Inria Flowers ream on learning modeling and Wimmics (Inria/I3S) on knowledge formalization.
Research in digital sciences is multidisciplinary. Our exploratory action seems to be part of two major movements:
  • on the one hand, the fact that the computer sciences increasingly interact with the human and social sciences, with digital technologies having a major societal impact ;
  • on the other hand, the fact that Inria, through its Science Outreach mission or its LearningLab, is increasingly interacting with societal educational issues.
  • In this context, we are making a modest contribution to the emergence of a new scientific field: computational science  in education. This is truly exciting.

Members of the AIDE Exploratory Action

Maryna Rafalska

Maryna Rafalska

Maryna Rafalska has just been recruited as didactician in informatics at Université Côte d'Azur. 

Isabelle Mirbel

Isabelle Mirbel

Isabelle Mirvel worked for a long time in the Wimmics team. She's now working in in the educational sciences department. 

Didier Leroy

Didier Roy

Didier Roy has an extremely rare profile of a college mathematics teacher, including in a difficult areas, who became an Inria researcher.