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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Gates: AI bots will teach reading, writing -- soon

AI chatbots will be teaching reading and writing in 18 months, predicts Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Artificial intelligence will be "as good a tutor as any human ever could," Gates said in a keynote talk at the ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego last week, reports Tom Huddleston Jr. for CNBC.

Credit: DALL-E

OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are improving rapidly. At first, AI will coach students on reading and give students feedback on their writing, Gates said. Math tutoring will come later.

Gates hopes AI will make personalized tutoring available and affordable to more students. “This should be a leveler,” he said. “A tutor is too expensive for most students — especially having that tutor adapt and remember everything that you’ve done and look across your entire body of work.”

Hechinger's Jill Barshay sums up the latest research on combining educational technology with human tutors to lower the cost of tutoring.

In the past, ed tech has been underwhelming, she writes. It's hard to motivate students -- especially the ones farthest behind -- to use the technology. Many are burned out on screens and hungry for human-to-human interaction.

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May 03, 2023

Much of my time at volunteer tutoring gigs involves knowing when to tell kids to focus, when to be encouraging, when to make a joke or snarky comment, and when they actually need help with the content. I have no doubt that AI will quickly figure out how to figure out what letter combinations a kid doesn't know when practicing spelling. I have less expectation that it will figure out how to help when the problem isn't purely academic...which is often.


May 03, 2023

From the Proof Points link: "I am concerned about replacing time with teachers and interacting with classmates with time staring at a computer screen with headphones in our own private bubbles. Maybe there is wisdom in incorporating work periods into the school day, when students do their practice work under the guidance of tutors and machines. But I’d hate to lose art and other electives to make room for it. These are tough decisions for school leaders to make."

It seems the idea is to drop seatwork in favor of social time. I'm more concerned that academic 'time with teachers' has been totally dropped for many students, as they were forced into extremely low expectations and then told they neede…

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