Alisha, a second grader in a Silicon Valley School visits her new AI tutor with a math problem. “I’m still pretty new, so I sometimes make mistakes…If you catch me making a mistake, press thumbs down.” The AI chatbot clears its name from any responsibilities. Her teacher, Julia waits anxiously to defend the statement that even teachers are sometimes wrong! This is the new dawn as AI takes a role at the teacher’s desk. The broad smile on her face is proof that the new AI tutor is welcome in Silicon Valley.
Khanmigo’s instruction capability raises the question, will robot teachers replace human teachers?
The education sector has tried to incorporate New AI technology into the education system to revolutionize learning. AI-powered teachers engage learners, diagnose errors, and promote deeper understanding.
In March 2023, Khan Academy a non-profit education platform, launched a new GPT-4 powered learning guide Khanmigo. It seeks to leverage artificial Intelligence in a pilot program with selected schools. The chatbot is envisioned to give prompts and suggestions to students besides assisting teachers generate lesson plans.
A Ted Talk by Sal Khan founder of Khan Academy revealed the use of Khanmigo to tutor and guide students. Sal says the AI Chatbot is designed for more effective learning by providing personalized recommendations based on learning styles. Additionally, Khanmigo helps teachers get insights into their students’ learning and progress.
The pilot phase is currently underway in some schools in the United States as reported by New York Times. Some of the schools are Newark public schools and private schools like Silicon Valley’s Khan Lab school.
A recent report by The New York Times showed a review of the AI Tutor in the schools. Cheryl Drakeford a third-grade teacher at First Avenue School in Newark put Khanmigo to the test. She asked her students to identify the fraction of consonants in the word MATHEMATICS. Khanmigo identified word consonants as letters in the alphabet that are not vowels. When asked about the fraction the Chatbot answered 7/13.
Notably, Mr. Rodriguez, a sixth-grade teacher at First Elementary cited the app as a useful “Co-Teacher”. However, district officials shared concerns saying they want the bot to let the students tackle the problems themselves.
Khan Academy responded expressing the need for students to get initial support from AI to solve some problems. Additionally, they can practice on their own after guidance.
In the Newark school fraction problem case, Khan Academy reported rectification by the Engineering team. In that instance, they agreed that Khanmigo helped too much by giving direct answers.
Currently, Khanmigo is still in its pilot phase using feedback from the schools for necessary changes. For instance, a recommendation by Newark officials for the bot to ask more open-ended questions to analyze student responses.
The cost of acquiring Artificial Intelligence has been a major hurdle in incorporating AI tutors in schools.
A donation of $ 9 monthly or $99 annually for the cost of GPT-4 as stated will be charged to those who need access to the AI Tutor.
Khan Academy would offer discounts to districts in which more than half the students qualified for free or reduced–price. In addition, about 1000 teachers, students, and school administrators are invited to test Khanmigo for feedback.
To sign up to Khanmigo, you’ll need to be 18 or older in the United States and sign in if you already have a Khan Academy Account. With the account, you will be in the waiting list to access and enjoy the services of your new AI tutor.
It is a concern as to whether schools will be able to afford the cost of AI tutor bots.
This article was written by Harriet George and edited by Job Otieno.