Conference on High Dosage Tutoring Held at Stanford

May 11, 2023

By Michael Duffy, CEO GO Foundation

This week I joined a gathering of close to 200 researchers, policy makers, philanthropists and tutoring providers on the campus of Stanford for a gathering convened by StanfordProfessor Susanna Loeband the National Student Support Accelerator.

Earlier this month, online education pioneer Sal Khanlit a fire when he delivered a TED Talk entitled, The amazing AI super tutor for students and teachers (click here to see it). In it, Khan touts a new tool that he’s developed — Khanmigo — powered by OpenAI’s GPT which he predicts will play a revolutionary role in education.

It was against this backdrop that attendees filed into Stanford’s Arrillaga Alumni Center for Tuesday’s proceedings. Two sessions in particular were of note: “Combining Tutoring with Computer Assisted Learning” presented by Northwestern’sJonathan Guryan and Philip Oreopoulos of the University of Toronto; and “Using Machine Learning to Improve Tutoring” presented by Dora Demszky & Rose Wangof Stanford.

The consensus among the attendees I spoke with? A fair degree of skepticism about Artificial Intelligence or adaptive software, or iPads, or any other EdTech gadget as a magic bullet that would allow for the inexpensive scaling of tutoring to reach more children. Click here to see an article on New Mexico’s decision to terminate a $3m contract with the online tutoring provider, Paper. There was, however, a healthy appreciation for the significant role AI might play when its lessons are delivered and overseen by a caring adult.

In 2010 I accompanied Great Oaks’ founder Steve Klinsky to a living room fundraiser in Manhattan with Sal Khan just as he was getting Khan Academy off the ground. I vividly remember feeling like I was witnessing the launch of something transformational. More than a dozen years and 2 billion views later Khan Academyhas become an indispensable resource to students around the planet. Are we now at the dawn of a similar and maybe even more transformational development?

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