In our endeavors to give children the best education, we often try new teaching methods that might achieve better results. A well versatile example is the combination of virtual and traditional face-to-face learning. This system has become a national trend though research is discredited its effectiveness. One particular teaching method that research from Carnegie Mellon University is promoting is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to teach children. Researchers at the University have built and tested animated children that talk and teach in schools.
According to the research, bots are helping in raising science, math and reading test score significantly in multiple studies. For each lesson, the research team projects an animated child bot on a 52-inch screen.
The bots have been programmed to mimic students between the age of 8 and 10. Justine Cassell, one of the project leader, notes that the bot moves and talks like a kid, but it looks more of a cartoon than a human.
In one particular video recorded during the research, it shows more of a conversation than a lecture between the bot and the child. The bot in this video is named Alex, and ask the third-grade student to think about the illustration in front of her. In another study, two children learn from Alex. Before and after bot lessons the kids took TELD test, an assessment that measures early language skill. In both cases, their score improved.
The research has managed to establish that the bots also helped children to develop their social skills. In one studies conducted by the team, they compared communication playtime between kids after playing with the bot. They learned that on average, children maintained natural eye contact longer, improved their listening skills, and understood when it was their turn to join a conversation.
Cassel notes that people tend to assume that tech can only be used to teach STEM, but this is not the case. It can also help in teaching emotional and social skills. She further notes that bots are capable teachers since they interact like a kid, collect data on how an individual child learns, and later on use the information during lessons.
To a certain degree, teaching children with bots make sense since they look like kids. A couple of research have noted that children can learn better between themselves. A number of American schools have been moving towards a more collaborative teaching. The method itself is highly preferred in Chinese schools because it is a more productive individualized way of learning
A few versions of peer have been programmed to help children with special needs including those with autism.
Feature Image credit:Business Insider