It’s indisputable that technology has changed the way we access information, how we learn, and how we choose what to learn.
We’re on the verge of a new era; an era defined by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and hyper-personalization, which will further improve the quality of our education. Chatbots, a technology adjacent to AI, are among the top contenders for entering classrooms and engaging students.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the ways chatbots can influence the quality of education and classroom engagement all over the world. Let’s dive right in.
It is projected that by 2020, chatbots will start playing a significant role in the workflow of HR departments as well as growing sales and revenue for businesses. To some, the idea of introducing chatbots to the classroom might sound a bit alarming. Considering the distractive nature of technology, wouldn’t chatbots have an adverse effect on a child's academic performance? On the other hand, entirely excluding technology from education would be far too conservative.
There is now a sizeable body of research that underlines the great potential this class of software could display if implemented correctly in the classroom. Furthermore, chatbots are a small glimpse into the world of AI that will allow us to start understanding the extent to which we should embrace this technology and how deeply we should integrate it into our daily lives — personal, academic, and professional.
One of the most evident chatbot applications is using them as an intelligent tutoring system. These systems can be both complex and rudimentary. Their central goal is to ensure that the student has absorbed an array of data or ideas associated with a particular topic.
Say, you’re a physics teacher, and you want to make sure that your students have understood the topic you’ve talked about for the last thirty minutes. The best way to ensure that is to run a small chatbot-facilitated quiz. “This will alleviate the need to actually grade students while also allowing you to know which of the pupils require supplementary assistance”, says Diana Adjadj, a senior writer at ClassyEssay and educational adviser at BeGraded.
The current infrastructure of the internet has made us very impatient. We can’t wait for later because we have access to information on a wide array of devices while having attention spans that are considerably shorter to our predecessors’. It’s safe to say that the educational system needs to accommodate this new feature of human cognition. “It can be argued that the current way we access information is fairly outdated. Very often, we have to read a whole lot of unnecessary information just to find a small piece of data that we’re actually looking for. Imagine speaking to a chatbot instead.” — Melanie Sovann, an educator and senior writer at TopEssayWriting and Subjecto.
Let’s say you’ve listened to a lecture on Abraham Lincoln, but you’ve become distracted at a certain point, which made you miss one of the crucial parts of the lecture. Wouldn’t it be convenient just to ask the chatbot: “Why did Lincoln suspend the Habeas Corpus?”
Having a chatbot perform these tasks will considerably diminish the teacher's burden, enabling them to really focus on the things that matter, i.e., the takeaways of a specific historical event, and so forth. At the same time, this will ensure that fewer students end up becoming unmotivated.
Chances are that you’ve been there when you were a student — you may have loved a particular discipline, but at some point, a gap between you and the subject had formed due to a series of unanswered questions.
AI-based chatbots will be able to do much more than just quiz students. Considering the personalization capacities of this technology, chatbots will allow us to tailor experiences for each particular student, taking into account the peculiarities of their reasoning.
Duolingo’s chatbot is an excellent example of how a chatbot can personalize a student’s learning process, based on their performance. “Learning a language is such a multi-faceted process; it only makes sense for platforms to focus on a person’s syntax, grammar, or vocabulary if that’s where they’re encountering issues”, says Lisa Miller, Chinese language specialist from IsAccurate.
More importantly, AI-based chatbots can also calibrate the personality of the bot and how it interacts with the student. The bot can have certain personality traits or interests, and also take a student’s special needs or triggers into account when conversing with them, while also respecting their privacy.
No matter how you choose to employ a chatbot in your classes, there’s no doubt that it will have a fantastic effect on the performance of your students, due to facilitated access to information and higher classroom engagement. Chatbots in academic environments are not Science Fiction anymore. It is our responsibility as educators to embrace new technologies and use them to elevate our students’ classroom experiences.