Could Online Tutors and Artificial Intelligence be the Future of Teaching?
Ambar presses her hand to her forehead, nose crinkled in concentration as she considers the question on her screen: how many sevens in 91? The ten-year-old has been grappling with it for about a minute when she smiles: “13!”.
Her tutor responds by posting a large smiley cat picture on her screen – the virtual equivalent of a pat on the back. He is sitting on the other side of the world in an online tutoring centre in India.
Ambar, who attends Pakeman primary school in north London, is one of nearly 4,000 primary school children in Britain signed up for weekly one-to-one maths sessions with tutors based in India and Sri Lanka. The lessons, provided by a company called Third Space Learning, are targeted at pupils struggling with maths – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
From next year, the platform will become one of the first examples of artificial intelligence (AI) software being used to monitor, and ideally improve, teaching.