Using chatbot in the education industry

Young kids are digital natives. They use technology in a different way to those who were not raised before the iPad and the smartphone was invented.

One interesting observation is kids often use voice rather than the graphical interface to do things.

It is natural for them to use the interface that is the most convenient as they don’t have mental habits that keep them doing things in a more inefficient (but more mentally embedded) way.

Very young kids prefer voice because they can’t read and also because it’s like talking to a person. It is interesting to watch the ease with which they use Google Home or Alexa to do things.

This is just a hint of things to come. Voice technology will improve exponentially in the future, and the kids of today will be naturals at using the best interface for the job at hand.

Schools are behind the curve when it comes to rolling out technology. While Ipads are now standard in most schools, this is old technology. It may be a while before they catch up with modern trends in chatbots.

What are the main use cases for chatbots in education?

A major use case ironically may not be using chatbots but creating them. Creating chatbots is a fairly easy programming task, relatively speaking, but it requires creativity and logic and is very fast to get up and running. It, therefore, can be the perfect task for kids to develop their creative and logical skills. Others can also easily try out the chatbots that have been built and give critical feedback.

Chatbots are likely to become part of the lessons in the future. The current education model is built on memorizing, however, this is a redundant model in this day and age where students have instant access to every fact out there.

How to use chatbots in education?

Direct Learning

The most obvious use case for chatbots is in direct learning.

The chatbots can quiz and help students with important concepts, guiding them to videos and supporting material as required.

Every student could have a personal bot that monitors their progress and provides support and guidance. If a teacher asks a question, all students could report with the answer to their chatbot instead of the teacher only selecting one student to answer the question. The chatbot could then give a very accurate summary, perhaps to the screen, on the aggregate understanding of the class.

The availability of learning resources, such as online tutorials on any subject, is likely to continue to explode. These resources are likely to be integrated into the lessons of the future as it makes sense to provide students, no matter where they are, with access to the world’s best content and teachers on a given subject. Chatbots can be the gateway to these resources, not only finding the relevant resources, but finding the relevant content within the relevant resource.

Language Learning

Language learning is an area where chatbots have obvious applications. Unlike just listening to speakers of a given language and repeating what they say, the chatbot can listen to the responses of students and correct their grammar or accent. Of course, there is a question regarding the extent to which people will learn languages in the future given that technology seamlessly translates in real-time will soon be available, however chatbots can definitely increase the efficiency in learning a language.

Chatbot as teacher assistants

Chatbots will not only assist students. They can also assist teachers in different ways.

They can gather information in aggregate about a class and quickly be able to answer a teacher’s questions about a given class or student in real-time.

Chatbots can be on hand to provide information to the teacher and students while the class is progressing. Instead of writing on a blackboard the teacher could even ask the chatbot to provide relevant information to the screen in real-time for the students to discuss and explore.

Teachers could instruct the chatbots to deliver certain types of lessons or content to pupils as required.

The problem with screen-based learning is that students need to disengage from the class and teacher to engage with a screen. Voice bots don’t have the same issue. The teacher and students can engage with the software without disengaging with each other and therefore without disturbing the continuity of the class.

Of course, current chatbots are clunky and therefore they are likely to cause some disruption, especially when they don’t understand the question or instruction. As chatbots become better, however, they can be smoothly integrated into lessons as another participant in the learning experience.

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