In Classrooms, Teachers Put A.I. Tutoring Bots to the Test

On a recent morning, Cheryl Drakeford, a third-grade teacher at First Avenue Elementary School in Newark, projected a challenging math question on her classroom’s whiteboard: “What fraction of the letters in the word MATHEMATICIAN are consonants?”

Ms. Drakeford knew that “consonant” might be an unfamiliar word to some students. So she suggested they ask Khanmigo, a new tutoring bot that uses artificial intelligence, for help.

She paused for a minute while about 15 schoolchildren dutifully typed the same question — “What are consonants?” — into their math software. Then she asked the third-graders to share the tutoring bot’s answer.

“Consonants are the letters in the alphabet that are not vowels,” one student read aloud. “The vowels are A, E, I, O and U. Consonants are all the other letters.”

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