The new school year is knocking on the door of teachers and students who will be back in the classroom very soon. And while the latter are eagerly preparing for the first day of school, some teachers are experiencing a mixture of feelings between excitement, joy and a slight dose of apprehension at the fact that they are no longer alone in teaching lessons.

Different Year
This school year, U.S. schools will have many good artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT and Bard, but many teachers remain skeptical about their usefulness and the potential they hold.

Although many argue how artificial intelligence would only make for more productive work and ticking off more tasks for the day, there are still people who worry that they could be replaced by it specifically.

This autumn, however, the picture is slightly different. Several educators have been quietly pushing for the creation of new artificial intelligence chatbots to offer teachers unlimited access to sometimes confusing and often paid peer-reviewed research on the topics that trouble them most.

Competition or support for teacher?
In June, the International Society for Technology in Education introduced Stretch AI, a tool built on content vetted by ISTE and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ISTE made it available in beta form for select users. All of the chatbot’s content is geared toward educators, and it is trained solely on materials developed or approved by both organizations.

According to its creators, in about six months the tool will be able to review external, peer-reviewed research in education and produce “quite understandable and meaningful results” from peer-reviewed journals, says Richard Kulata, chief executive of ISTE.

“There is a big gap between what we know from research and what happens in practice,” Richard commented.

One of the main reasons for this, he says, is that most research is published in a format that is “completely inaccessible to teachers”.

As in its beta version, the new chatbot will indicate the sources used to generate each answer. It will also notify users when it doesn’t have enough information to give a reliable answer.

The developers are still in the early stages of deciding what academic journals to include. For now, they are experimenting with a few key scholarly articles, but will expand the chatbot’s reach if initial prototypes prove useful to educators.

Will it become a trend? 
However, ISTE is not the only organization aiming to make education research more widely accessible through chatbots. The Learning Agency, a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., is also testing an unnamed version of a bot designed to offer answers to education research queries.

According to Daniel Willingham, a UVA researcher, education-focused chatbots are useful when they not only include reliable results, but also put them in context.

For example, in response to a query about the evidence for phonics education, it should be noted that while the evidence is quite strong, many mediocre studies and “hyperbolized claims” supporting alternative methods obscure the overall picture – a delicate but accurate detail. One that a credible chatbot would do well to make.

How productive is it?
How productive will the new artificial intelligence educational tool be and will it replace the need for teachers? Questions that give no peace of mind to many who have chosen this profession and answers that only time could tell.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Editor @ DevStyleR