Gesturing and Embodiment in Teaching: Investigating the Nonverbal Behavior of Teachers in a Virtual Rehearsal Environment
Keywords:Nonverbal Behavior, Embomiment, Education and Training, TeachLivE, Microsoft Kinect
Interactive training environments typically include feedback mechanisms designed to help trainees improve their performance through either guided or self-reflection. In this context, trainees are candidate teachers who need to hone their social skills as well as other pedagogical skills for their future classroom. We chose an avatar-mediated interactive virtual training system–TeachLivE–as the basic research environment to investigate the motions and embodiment of the trainees. Using tracking sensors, and customized improvements for existing gesture recognition utilities, we created a gesture database and employed it for the implementation of our real-time gesture recognition and feedback application. We also investigated multiple methods of feedback provision, including visual and haptics. The results from the conducted user studies and user evaluation surveys indicate the positive impact of the proposed feedback applications and informed body language. In this paper, we describe the context in which the utilities have been developed, the importance of recognizing nonverbal communication in the teaching context, the means of providing automated feedback associated with nonverbal messaging, and the preliminary studies developed to inform the research.