The Rise of AI Tutors

Imagine a day when a child in India can teach Hindi in real time to a child in Africa through interactive whiteboards that use touch detection? Exciting, right? The day might not be very far, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI).


Artificial Intelligence brings up images of adaptive software that can move one step ahead and predict test performance, scores and provide solutions to long-term learning problems. It can even become AI assistants and teachers. Additionally, we can apply this technology in many unconventional ways. For instance, we can use AI to analyze a child’s drawings in order to detect early signs of developmental delays or problems.

Khan Academy, for example, is a tool which teachers can use to provide instructions, take tests, grade the children and give feedback. The role of intuitive technology is that teachers can get real-time feedback on performance, both on individual and class levels.

The key here is intelligence, which helps the teachers to optimize time, scale resources and achieve results. The big question here is whether AI can adequately fill learning gaps in children. Many teachers stress how learning also involves physical and multi-sensorial activities. Technology, at least in its current form, cannot exercise a child’s kinesthetic abilities, integrate visual and tactile information, and engage global senses.

An interesting AI project in education pushing this boundary is OpenEd.ai, a non-profit organization that develops and promotes open-source AI for education. It has come up with an app called LingoLens, an app that lets users “see” their world described in the language they want to learn, using deep image captioning. Applications in education that use AI in unconventional ways are the ones to look out for.

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