Saturday, June 22

‘Tremendous amount of help:’ Palm Beach County schools use artificial intelligence tutoring tool

Students at nine high schools in Palm Beach County have a new group of tutors through their computers to help with their classwork.

The district is rolling out an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant that guides students in their assignments.

With one teacher in a classroom of more than 20 students, it may be hard for them to get around to everyone during a class period. But now with the help of this artificial intelligence tool, students are getting more one-on-one tutoring, without replacing that human interaction.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education

Catalina Toledo is enjoying the extra set of instructors in her tenth grade reading class at Santaluces Community High School.

“It’s a tremendous amount of help because it reiterates everything that I’ve taught them. And then it allows them to go back and forth with it,” Toledo said.

It’s called Khanmigo, an artificial intelligence-powered tool through Khan Academya a supplemental, secure educational program the district was already using.

“It’s the advancement of technology, guys. We’re living through it,” student Tiffany Chioffe said.

Students like Chioffe are among the first to use this virtual tutoring program, giving her individual attention.

“It doesn’t give answers at all,” Chioffe said. “Actually, right now, it’s asking me questions about the story. And it’s like, ‘Oh, what would happen next?’ And instead of giving me the answer, it’s like, let’s figure it out together.”

Toledo said diving into the world of A.I. can be scary and overwhelming at first. She doesn’t worry about a computer taking her job, but knows it’s part of the future, so better to use it in a controlled environment.

“The kids are going to utilize the things that are out there. So I feel like, if they are able to utilize it with us, then it’s better because we can monitor it,” Toledo said.

Toledo added Khanmigo can also give students more confidence who may not feel comfortable raising their hand in class.

“It helps answer different questions that I’m concerned about,” student Kayla Porter said. “And if I’m worried about how to spell a certain thing or do a certain thing, it will answer it right away, instead of having to wait for your teacher when they are busy with other students.”

The School District of Palm Beach County plans to roll out Khanmigo program to all district high schools next year. No word yet on expanding it to middle schools.

The nine Palm Beach County schools using Khanmigo are Boca Raton Community High School, Boynton Beach Community High School, Glades Central Community High School, Jupiter Community High School, Palm Beach Central High School, Santaluces Community High School, Seminole Ridge Community High School, Suncoast High School, and Wellington Community High School.

Implementing the Khanmigo program is being funded in partnership with the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that supports education. The foundation is providing up to $2 million for the use of the platform through June of 2025.

This is another example of how the School District of Palm Beach County is implementing artificial intelligence into its curriculum. Last month, WPTV told you about the first artificial intelligence course offered in the district at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the district launched a similar online tutoring platform through the use of the Paper app. Paper also allowed students to communicate with tutors one-on-one, but it was a person on the other end instead of artificial intelligence. The district said its contract with Paper ends at the end of this school year.

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