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EduBot: the New Way of Teaching

A chatbot focused on education that is accessible, interactive, and supportive for the new generation of students.

Photo of nicole martínez
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Usability Engineer and sister of a teen-student

Tell us about your idea

Imagine an education in which looking at your phone is not a distraction but a way of studying. Many students across Costa Rica and the world do not have a computer at home but do have access to a smartphone, other students have computers but simply prefer to spend their time on their phones, navigating in social media for example. 

I envision an education that breaks the traditional paradigms of what is school, and instead is more personalized and focused on learning rather than evaluation. My idea is to take advantage of the interactivity and connectivity of Social Media.

Chatbots technology has become a growing support tool for customer service of many businesses through platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook. With a little bit of planning, you can predict common questions and automate the system to provide the answers at the instant the question is submitted. I think that focusing the chatbot principle on education could boost the learning experience of many students. Let’s take for instance an essential activity in a teacher role such as planning practices or quizzes. Many forms of questions asked here require the definition of correct answers, therefore if you have a closed subset of Q&A these materials can be automated. 

Following that spirit, here is my proposed scenario:

Luis is a student that has just woken up, a text pops up on his smartphone: “it’s today’s lesson!” A short text with a couple of emojis greets him and lets him know that he has a lesson about the Discovery of America. The text has a link to the primary learning content defined by the teacher (maybe a video or a textbook page). Then, a lingering question tells him that practice material is ready to be started on command. While eating breakfast, Luis reviews the suggested material and then goes out to play with his dog.

Later that day, Luis responds to the text with the words ‘start practice’. An initial multiple-choice question from the EduBot is presented to him... Hmm, too bad, Luis did not answer correctly, he knows that because immediately after he submits his answer a text lets him know that his choice was incorrect. Also, a link to the material with the correct answer is shown. Following through, the next question pops up, and so on until Luis finishes his lesson.

The student was able to use the prepared materials in an interactive manner that helps him figure out where are his learning gaps. And more importantly, he did it on his own schedule!

Back at the planning desk, the teacher sees how the students are doing thanks to the answer statistics gathered by the EduBot. Most of the students have reviewed the lesson, they have had satisfactory results with the practice, however, there are a few students that have not properly understand some specifics of the Discovery of America. Knowing this, the teacher decides to use the EduBot preset questions format to easily create new material for an increased focus on the detected ‘weak’ topics.

The main advantages of this idea are:

- Accessibility: Most students have access to a smartphone and this platform may be easily integrated into other digital platforms such as Whatsapp or Facebook.

- Flexibility: the student decides when to study. It may be while waiting for his father at the barbershop, on a short recess between classes, before going to bed...

- Transcendent: this tool may support schools during the pandemic and beyond, by creating an alternative way to practice and learn. Teachers may start with low material quantity but over time it may increase and every new generation may have access to more and more.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

The paradigm of the fixed hours for school, that students must do the same tasks at the same time and the ban of smartphone use in the classrooms. Focusing the use of quizzes and practices as a way of reinforcing teaching with fast-paced/fast feedback questions, instead of the traditional asynchronous ways of evaluation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

My inspiration came from too opposites students in Costa Rica. Monse, my sister, is a high school student in the capital city of Costa Rica. During this pandemic, she is part of a chemistry WhatsApp group and attends virtual classes via zoom but she feels restricted to the virtual class time and finds some of the lessons difficult to follow because they are monotone presentations. On another hand, Andres, my friend’s nephew is the same age as my sister but attends a high school in a rural area. During a Whatsapp call, he told me that he studies with a word document per subject during 2 to 3 weeks plus few virtual classes for Q&A. He feels that the communication and material are limited but he values flexibility to study whenever he wants. Due to their similarities, I thought, would it be too crazy to study via text messages? What if we can produce interactive study material without the need for fancy web pages or software?

What region are you located in?

  • Latin America and the Caribbean

Where are you located?

I come from Costa Rica, a Latin American country that has prioritized investment of education over an army. Nevertheless, there is a need to raise the equality of education among all the students in each corner of the country because there are significant differences between schools in urban vs the rural areas.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Peter Worth

nicole martínez thank you for submitting your idea to the challenge. The flexibility of your idea also allows families who are sharing a device to manage multiple school work schedules. One question—are there any parts of the teacher/student experience that would not be suited to a chatbot? If so, how might EduBot address this? Thanks!