Chatbot Serves as Virtual College Adviser
Colleges have had success with chatbots for a few years, but high school students can now benefit from the first nationally accessible (and free) AI college adviser chatbot, Oli. The tool is the result of a partnership between Common App and Mainstay (formerly AdmitHub). Oli stands ready to help students around the clock with a wide range of tasks, such as selecting the right school, completing college and scholarship applications and understanding financial aid forms. It responds to questions via text and also sends users deadline reminders, updates and resources several times a week. When extra help is required, Oli connects students with a trained college adviser from College Advising Corps.
RELATED: Counselors take an online approach to helping high school students with college decisions.
AI-Powered Tutoring On Demand
While education leaders and policymakers have been pushing tutoring as a solution to the crisis of COVID-19 learning disruption, supporting every student in need with a human tutor isn’t feasible nor affordable. Researcher Neil Heffernan, a computer science professor and director of the Learning Sciences and Technologies graduate program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is working on technology to support human tutors.
These AI-powered tutor chatbots would democratize private tutoring, something that’s not available to many students. Heffernan believes that on-demand, AI-driven tutor chatbots are an important addition to the learning experience and will easily integrate across a school’s system existing technology.
“To me, AI is just a set of simple tools that we can use, in this case, to figure out some problems that teachers and kids are persistently having,” says Heffernan. “The real magic is giving human tutors and teachers a little bit of information on what’s going on so they can be more efficient.”
The Chatbot Future Is Now
AI-enabled chatbots are likely coming soon to a school near you to help with class scheduling, tutoring, college applications, collecting feedback and a lot more.
“Teachers shouldn’t be scared,” Heffernan says. “Like many things in AI, the chatbots are going to slowly come in and, I hope, actually help kids when humans are not available.”
KEEP READING: Schools can use artificial intelligence to keep students engaged in online learning.