The second episode of the Michael and Myles (M&M) podcast explores the expansion of the teacher function via bots. The podcast speculates on the role of bots, current bot deployments, bot myths and the research currently being undertaken at the university to identify possible use cases for bots.
Now thats the official bit of the podcast and I want to exapand on some of the points raised provide some links to bookings and information.
What we are doing?
Michael is running workshops for staff and students to attend and talk through how and if bots and augmentation in general could be helpful to them. Expanding the teaching function is exploring how teaching is evolving not just for the teachers but for the consumers.
The workshops will be a personal reflection and there is no right or wrongs (plus they have cake and hot water which supposedly resembles coffee or tea for the tea-aholics). I would encourage anyone who reads this to attend. We need the university community to be involved with these discussions which should help shape what you want, when you want it and how you want it and more importantly if you want it. So why not?
Well except for having a great time the serious part of these events is to for university community to be involved in the development, testing and potential deployment of leading edge technology. To input into a wider conversation on AI adoption, adaptive learning, big data, personalised learning, automation, community building all within the post digital landscape (all which has been highlighted via the Near Futures Teaching Project).
Working with the not-yetness of digital education means engaging with complexity, uncertainty and risk, not as factors to be minimised or resolved, but as necessary dimensions of technologies and practices which are unknown and in flux – Ross, J. (2017). Speculative method in digital education research. Learning, Media and Technology, 42(2), 214-229.
I love the reference Michael talked about in the podcast as I can see how relative it is to the current AI-mania that has engulfed twitter feeds and newspaper articles. Edtech is in that flux space were myths manifest and become the Loch Ness monsters of the subjects. The 4th revolution or whatever we are calling it today is basically the accessibility of technology that will change education but the question we are asking is how? Is there a magic button we press for everything to be better? Or do we confront it and speculate how the assemblage of human and digital can help us?
How do I attend?
Bots in education
I have written a few blogs about bots and uses so I woud direct you to a previous blog AI & Education the Great Myth but this is over 6 months old and we are starting to see research papers regarding exploratory work for bots in teaching: (QuizBot: A Dialogue-based Adaptive Learning System for Factual Knowledge).
In my mind practical (boring bots) are an easy win for administration or general enquiries allowing staff to concentrate on the more complicated queries which should lead to an improvement in user experience (users being all involved and affected which is not just the person asking the question but also the person who answers the same question about toiler roll in the halls of residence 10 times a day).
Bots in teaching can also do the practical (Georgia Techs discussion bot answers questions about deadlines, file types etc.) however what about helping someone learn about a subject, understanding when its best for that person to learn, alert people if they are distressed or just be an anonymous voice someone can talk too.
Virtual assistants can be a blend of both offering personalised info along with answering general questions. They could be tailored to be generic with some personal insight or a genie in your pocket (Deakin Universities Genie Personal Assitant) that has access to all your personal data across campus and can seamlessly make it available, tailored to your needs and make it feel personal via a well-structured conversation in an intuitive interface.