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Illuminated Devices

Continuous instruction and mentoring are essential but underemphasized components in our efforts to narrow the Digital Divide. Digital newcomers and other learners gain confidence and competence from personal, situated, interactive sessions with human tutors. Libraries and other community centers can provide means of access to this learning, but not all those in need have regular access to the physical locations of these institutions. Our goal is to reach learners in a ubiquitous fashion, whenever and wherever they need help.

Our project Illuminated Devices seeks to make the personal, interactive nature of a community-based tutoring program available anywhere, by connecting learners to tutors directly through common digital devices. Our Illuminated system has two components: the Illuminated Portal, and a social subsystem comprising the human tutors, community, procedures, and tasks associated with the tutoring program. The Illuminated Portal is a lightweight application that integrates video communication with a human tutor as well as access to common solutions that can help resolve problems independently. The Portal has a low barrier for access, requiring only a single button press to activate the device, connect to the internet, and initiate the Portal application and a face-to- face tutoring session therein. Once connected, the Portal will provide a continuous view of user activity across applications and convey tutor input to learners in a way that minimizes distraction and maximizes flow.

Collaborators: Kelly Steelman (Cognitive & Learning Sciences), Briana Bettin (Computer Science / Cognitive & Learning Sciences), Leo Ureel (Computer Science / Cognitive & Learning Sciences), Shelia Cotten (Provost’s Distinguished Professor, Clemson). Student researchers: Kirk Thelen (Computer Science), Dana Pontious (Cognitive & Learning Sciences). Supported by National Science Foundation award BCS-2122034