AI tutors are being used in classrooms to boost productivity and help students better retain critical information

Viewpoint: Can AI tutors help students learn?

AI tutors are being used in classrooms to boost productivity and help students better retain critical information

If nothing else, the past two years have shown us that teaching, learning, and education can take different forms–and the pandemic may have altered how students, from kindergarten through college, learn in the future.   

With students returning to the classroom, educators and administrators alike continue to examine new ways that technology can be used to not replace, but augment, the teaching and learning experiences in our schools.  

What about the use of artificial intelligence in education?  Conversing with AI humans has been a long-time feature of science fiction, but it’s rapidly becoming a reality, particularly in customer service and experience settings as well in education. A realized future with AI is fast approaching. 

Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. Specific applications of AI include expert systems, natural language processing, speech recognition, and machine vision. 

The question becomes how AI can be implemented in the classroom to leverage the best it has to offer and not completely diminish the human side of education. The answer lies in utilizing advanced AI technologies, which are paving the way to mimic humans.   

Consider AI tutors, which are being used in classrooms to help teachers be more productive while also helping students gain information and recaps of important lesson plans — something that’s often needed, especially in today’s more crowded K-12 classrooms where students who are learning together may not always learn at the same pace.    

To create a realistic and credible AI tutor, you start with real teachers presenting the curriculum and then building AI models based off them, including chatbot technology to capture their persona and sentiment, along with speech synthesis and voice synthesis, which enable body gestures, facial emotions and lip synch, resulting in an AI tutor avatar that bears the exact likeness of that teacher.  

Crucial to the success of AI avatars is trusting that the information they deliver is accurate. The highly controversial deepfake technology cannot be used to create a believable avatar. The most effective way to experience a realistic AI tutor is with technology that captures accurate lip and mouth synchronization, not just video synthesis.   

These AI tutors can be used to summarize info, for special lessons in smaller groups, or even for online learning.  The idea is not to replace teachers, but to augment their skills and presence. Schools are finding that by using AI human technology they are reducing teachers’ workloads and providing additional learning resources for students.  This enhances the overall experiences of educators, students, and parents alike.   

For example, the Kyowon Group, an education company in Korea, recently developed a life-like tutor using artificial intelligence for the very first time in the Korean education industry.  Their AI tutors are basically virtual teachers created by video synthesis. In order to increase the learning immersion and experience of students, real people (i.e., real teachers) are used as the models for these AI tutors. 

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