“No Human Left Behind”

A hackathon to promote a more inclusive education through AI. Meetings, exchanges and tailor-made learning!

From Friday, May 11 to Sunday, May 13, 2018, the Interdisciplinary Research Center organized a hackathon on the theme of Artificial Intelligence for a more inclusive education. Professors, students, engineers from all backgrounds put themselves in the shoes of researchers for a weekend.

For each of the participants, the arrival at the hackathon was impressive to say the least. Indeed, the Interdisciplinary Research Centre is located on the 20th floor of the Montparnasse tower, an essential opportunity to have one of the most beautiful views of Paris! But the intimidation quickly gave way to benevolence and exchanges from the very first minutes. A badge with our first name and hop, we’re ready to get to know each other! Students in the CRI EdTech Master’s program, neuroscience researchers, educational engineers, data scientists, school teachers, we were all enthusiastic about peer-to-peer exchanges. First objective: find a team and a project!

Skillogs proposed two different projects around the ACARYA e-learning platform: Their general problems? How can e-learning courses be adapted to the difficulties of each student? One of the issues was the internationalization of learning. The second issue was accessibility for dyslexic students.

A look back at the internationalization of learning project:

The internationalization of learning… Imagine an Indian student who would like to learn mathematics but who only has a German teacher in front of him… How can artificial intelligence help us to overcome the limitations of automatic translators?

Behind this project, five people, each more inspiring than the next, reflected on the question. Each member of the team was able to find their place, completing the missing skills on the one hand, and learning new skills on the other. The principle of the hackathon was there: like a hive and its bees, collaboration was the key word to achieve our goal.

From the Design Thinking phase to the final pitch of the project, Ahn, Augustin, Rémi and Raphaëlle have all promoted collective intelligence to develop the project, all under the watchful eye of Raphaël, co-founder of Skillogs. The organizational skills for Ahn, the data collection for Augustin, the technical tool for Rémi, the final presentation for Raphaëlle, the team worked with passion to find a solution. Thanks to the IRC, we were able to be helped by expert mentors in Artificial Intelligence, without whom we would not have been able to move forward, such as Samah, an engineer-researcher in Artificial Intelligence. And that’s the spirit of the hackathon, everyone can contribute! No technical knowledge of artificial intelligence? It doesn’t matter! There is necessarily something to transmit: a sense of organization, creative ideas, good mood… Only objective: No Human Left Behind!

But then, how can we overcome the limitations of automatic translators?

The problem for most machine translators is their difficulty in recognizing grammatical, typographical or conjugation errors. We therefore had to find a simple approach to automatically correct both the source text (the learner’s) and the target text (the teacher’s). For this reason, we have chosen to use the DeepL automatic translator (of much higher quality than Google Translation) as the central tool in our Chabot. To overcome the limitations of DeepL, we considered the implementation of an approach based on the automatic correction of the sentence structure.

Our method also allows us to use the learner in an indirect but ethical way by offering him/her grammar exercises. The latter will be able to contribute to the improvement of the database by simply completing exercises that will help him/her to improve his/her knowledge in his/her own mother tongue. What happens next? It’s up to Skillogs to tell us!

Beyond our project and our team, the hackathon allowed us to evolve in a caring and inspiring environment for a weekend. The exchange of our different experiences was just as important as our simple contribution to a project. A big thank you to the team of organizers and volunteers without whom this hackathon would not have been so rich in human resources!