German Students Use VR and AI to Engage With Memories of the Holocaust – University of Arkansas Newswire

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April 16, 2024


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Ellen McPherson

WLDH Studio Director Maughan and German Conversation students discuss the ethics behind “Tell Me, Inge.”

Last week, professssor Kathleen Condray’s GERM 3033: German Conversation course visited the World Languages and Digital Humanities Studio to explore “Tell Me, Inge,” which is a free, online project that combines artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to tell the story of Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher.

Studio Director Curtis Maughan led the session, which began with the class gathering context about the program before putting on headsets to “meet” a 3D likeness of Inge Auerbacher, who responded to student questions in German while animations filled the VR space, illustrating Auerbacher’s memories.  

After engaging with the program in the target language with help from studio researcher Isaiah Nies and German teaching assistant Ellen McPherson, the students reconvened to process their experience of “Tell Me, Inge.”   

Students in professor Kathleen Condray’s GERM 3033 German Conversation course explore the VR application called “Tell Me, Inge.”

In the debrief, German Conversation students first discussed what they learned about Auerbacher’s remarkable story, and then they debated the ethics of Conversational AI and Holocaust-related testimony.

Reflecting on the discussion, Maughan said the following: “I’m deeply impressed by Dr. Condray’s students, who not only demonstrated high levels of German linguistic and cultural competencies, but who also shared their thoughtful, critical commentary about the ethical implications of the AI-VR program. At the WLDH Studio, we strive for a similar approach to technological innovation — equal parts enthusiastic exploration and critical analysis.” 

Like the session with GERM 3033, the studio will be hosting VR learning modules through the VR Classroom for Italian and Chinese courses in the next few weeks.  

To stay up to date with WLDH Studio events with the related social media links.

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