Do you need an AI tutor?

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Do you get enough attention from your teachers? Have you ever wished you had more access to teachers – in or out of the classroom? Have you ever wanted an AI-enhanced chatbot as a teacher or coach? Why or why not?

In “In the Classroom, Teachers Put AI Tutoring Bots to the Test,” Natasha Singer writes about a pilot program in Newark to see if artificial intelligence can be a positive tool for learning in schools:

On a recent morning, Cheryl Drakeford, a third-grade teacher at First Avenue Elementary School in Newark, projected a challenging math question on her classroom whiteboard: “What fraction of the letters in the word mathematician are consonants?”

Ms. Drakeford knew that “cuisine” might be an unfamiliar word to some students. So she asked Khanmigo, a new tutoring bot that uses artificial intelligence, for help.

As she waited a minute, about 15 schoolchildren dutifully typed the same question — “What is a dish?” — in their math software. Then she asked the third-graders to share their answer to the teaching bot.

“Consonants are letters of the alphabet that are not vowels,” one student read aloud. “The vowels are A, E, I, O and U. Consonants are all other letters.”

Tech industry hype and doomsday predictions surrounding AI-enhanced chatbots like ChatGPT sent many schools blocking or limiting the use of the tools in the classroom this year. Newark Public Schools is taking a different approach. It is the first school system in the United States to pilot Khanmigo, an automated learning aid developed by Khan Academy, an education nonprofit whose online lessons are used by hundreds of districts.

Newark has essentially volunteered to be a guinea pig for public schools across the country trying to separate the practical use of new AI-assisted teaching bots from their marketing promises.

Proponents say classroom chatbots can democratize the idea of ​​teaching by automatically customizing responses to students, allowing them to work through lessons at their own pace. Critics warn that bots, which are trained on vast databases of texts, can make plausible-sounding misinformation — making them a risky bet for schools.

Officials in Newark, New Jersey’s largest district, said they are carefully testing the tutoring bot at three schools. Their findings could influence districts across the United States that are investigating AI tools for the upcoming school year this summer.

of students, Read the full article And then tell us:

  • What do you need an AI tutor for? Why or why not?

  • What experiences have you had teaching – as a tutor or tutees? What do you think makes an effective teacher – human or otherwise?

  • What did you think of Khan Academy’s pilot test of KhanMigo, an automated learning aid developed in Newark Public Schools?

  • The article states that proponents of AI say that classroom chatbots can “democratize” teaching by “customizing responses to students, allowing them to work through lessons at their own pace.” However, critics warn that bots often make “plausible-sounding mistakes.” make up information” and provide answers rather than helping students “use their critical thinking skills”. What are the risks and benefits of using AI as an educator?

  • How has AI affected you as a student? Have you experimented with technology? As engineers, what recommendations would you give to Khanmigo’s creators or other AI educators to design and improve their classroom bots?

  • Ms. Singer writes that the extreme fear surrounding AI-enhanced chatbots has many schools “scrambling to prevent or limit the use of the tools in the classroom this year.” Does your school have a policy on the use of AI? If so, do you agree with that policy? How do you think we should look at the role of AI in education? Should schools fear this? Or, like the Newark pilot, embrace the technology and explore the potential benefits?

  • Do you think AI-assisted tutoring bots are an educational game-changer? Will they be in every classroom in the future?

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by Learning Network staff, but please note that once your comment is accepted it will be made public and may appear in print.

Find more student opinion questions here. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate these suggestions into your classroom.

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