Monday, August 8, 2011

Haptic testimonials from the stars - III

Clip art: Clker
Imagine having Neytiri from the movie Avatar show up to sub for you in your HICP class on the  day that the lesson plan calls for intonation and discourse markers of emotion work. Sound pretty far out? Maybe not. In the 2002 University of Berkeley dissertation by Barrientos,  a model is developed for providing avatars with a relatively simple but adequate (for avatars) gesture + emotion repertoire.

In fact, I am beginning to think that avatars could probably do a better job of teaching some pedagogical movement patterns than could a live instructor at the head of the class, for several reasons. First: consistent, precision of movement pattern, both in terms of size, position in the visual field and speed. Second: With slight facial adjustment and vocal expression, the avatar can present most basic emotions with the pattern with words--free of personal agenda, high-fashion outfit of the day or other distraction, allowing learner to focus on and either repeat or mirror the PMP and the emotion conveyed--not the gesticulating bozo up front. (There is a great deal of research in the psychotherapeutic literature on the interaction between therapist and client in face to face "instruction.")

Even when doing EHIEP work "live," ourselves, we have learned through review of haptic research and classroom experience that the key to efficient HICP instruction is to assume a slightly robotic "persona" at times as we do. (Note the EHIEP-bot logo in the upper right hand corner of the blog.) So watch yourself! (Preferably on video many times.) Your students are . . .

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