A private AI tutor for each child?
By Marcia Banks
Could AI spark the greatest positive transformation education has ever seen?
Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, sees the potential of a personal AI tutor for every student and an AI teaching assistant for every teacher.
Khan Academy has developed, and is piloting, Khanmigo, World Class AI for education (6:15 mins) where students and teachers have their own private tutors and coaches.
Sal Khan’s Ted Talk: How AI Could Save (Not Destroy) Education. (15:36 mins)
Instead of spending much time worrying about students using AI and platforms such as Chat GPT to cheat, Sal Khan tells us to focus on the positive use of AI. By leveraging AI, we can bring the benefits of one-on-one tutoring, for deeper understanding of content, increase critical thinking skills, and help create greater confidence in self, clarity and empowerment.
One of the major sources of inequity in the current education system, is the inequity between students who come from families with means and/or who have higher education degrees and those who come from families with little means and/or little formal education. One child may have the possibility of obtaining one-to-one tutoring with a parent, or can afford to have an afterschool tutor while the other student, who could be in the same class, may not have access to those same types of resources. One child clearly has an advantage over the other in terms of access to extra tutoring because of family circumstances and educational background. AI can change this. A scalable artificially intelligent tutor can level that playing field by providing each student with a personal AI tutor, at low cost. In addition, each teacher could also have a personal AI teaching assistant. The two scenarios would allow for greater opportunities for students to perform at higher levels, even excel.
How might this play out?
A personalized AI tutor would act like a good tutor. It would nudge the student to figure out the solution for themselves. It would act as a coach, making sure the student is doing most of the work, pulling out of the student ideas and probing for more ideas from the student. It becomes a conversation between the student and the personal AI tutor, making it engaging for the student.
An AI teaching assistant could help the teacher write more powerful, more engaging, more appropriate lesson plans as the teacher interacts with the AI teaching assistant in writing the lesson plans.
Khanmigo is Khan’s Academy first AI powered personal tutor and teaching assistant. It detects students’ mistakes, identifies misconceptions in their understanding and provides effective feedback. Khanmigo helps students with math and computer programming exercises and provides context-aware help. It is designed to write with students rather than for them. It encourages collaborative story writing and provides feedback on drafts, which helps students improve their writing abilities.
The use of AI can be transformative if we put safeguards into place.
It is essential that actors such as Khan Academy and others, be proactive, question the risks, address those risks, mitigate them. One proactive stance is to ensure safety mechanisms within the AI tutoring. Everything that a student does should be monitorable by the teacher and by the parents with each child’s chat history and activity visible to parents and to teachers so these adults can stay informed and involved in the child’s education.
We must, according to Sal Khan, defend for the positive uses of AI to enhance human intelligence, human potential, and human purpose.
Can we envision a private AI tutor for each child?
An AI teacher assistant?
According to Sal Khan, AI is potentially the biggest positive transformation that education has ever seen.
For now, only those who live in the United States are eligible to use Khanmigo; yet AI in education will be growing fast and this tool or a similar one will surely be available outside of the USA in the near future.
Sal Khan is the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization on a mission to provide free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.
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