A University of Alabama computer science professor has received a grant to better understand how K-12 students in the Alabama Black Belt perceive human-computer interaction.
Dr. Chris Crawford, UA assistant professor of computer science, was awarded an approximate $276,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop technology that allows children to get hands-on experiences building neurofeedback programs, a type of biofeedback application that uses near real-time visualizations of brain activity to teach self-regulation.
“All of the previous popular approaches involve using traditional input modalities like a game controller, keyboard or a mouse,” Crawford said. “So, one of the things that we don’t understand is what kinds of observations will we have when kids are presented with this novel input modality, which is basically their cognitive commands or their thoughts, and how does that influence the way they gain computational thinking skills.”
Crawford’s focus on physiological computing, any closed-loop technological system that incorporates physiological data, dates back to his time in graduate school, when the increase of consumer-grade or home-use technologies sparked interest in non-critical applications to engage students.