Texas school ‘hires’ AI teachers to teach kids core subjects


AUSTIN, Texas — “The Jetsons” are becoming more real life as AI teachers are educating students at one school in Texas.

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A private school with students in kindergarten through 12th grade has transitioned to using adaptive artificial intelligence to teach students.

Alpha has no more human teachers. Instead, the educators are called guides while computers actually teach core subjects, working one-on-one with an AI tutor in all grades.

The students spend the first two hours of the school day working with the AI app-based systems then spend the remainder of the day in workshops learning life skills through their coaches.

The AI works with the students on their level and pace, allowing, according to school officials, to condense six hours of learning into a two-hour chunk.

“AI tutors do a great job of meeting kids exactly where they’re at, understanding where their holes in knowledge are,” the school’s co-founder MacKenzie Price told KTBC.

“We don’t have teachers,” Price, told KVUE. “Now, what we do have is a lot of adults who are in the room engaging with these kids, working as coaches. So they’re helping the kids get clear on what are some goals that they’re working on, what are they doing academically? What are they interested in? How can we really turn on that spark for learning?”

Some students seem to like the new way of learning. Byron said the system gives him instant and complete feedback, something he didn’t get in a traditional classroom.

“It explains a detailed explanation of why the correct answer is correct, not just saying, ‘Oh, here’s your correct answer,’” Byron told KVUE. “It’ll say, ‘You can answer the question this way next time.’”

Lulu, another student at the Alpha school, said that it helps her across subjects.

“I like that it’s kind of on you to figure out like what you want to ask it,” Lulu told KTBC. “And that helps me get really good at writing.”

Price adds that the AI teachers aren’t there to do the work for the students, just change how they learn.

“We don’t want to use it for cheating. We don’t want to use it to write our own papers, any of those things. We want to use it to supercharge what we can do,” Price told KTBC.

Alpha, which was founded in 2014 and charges $40,000 tuition each year, has 250 students in three different campuses. About 75% of the student population receives some form of financial aid, KVUE reported.

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