Have you ever had that teacher who simply sat at the front of the class and read straight from the textbook? Most adults likely have, and for many, that was an opportunity to catch up on some much-needed sleep.
Today’s generation of students would rather gravitate to an entertaining TikTok or YouTube video, and who can blame them? The vast majority—95%—of teenagers say they use YouTube and 67% say they use TikTok, according to a social media and technology survey administered by the Pew Research Center in August.
So, now that we understand that students rely heavily on receiving information via modes of audio and visual technology, how can schools use that knowledge to implement viable learning strategies? A new startup may be the answer schools are looking for to keep their students’ glued to their course material.
Prof Jim, a company that aims to transform educational lessons into experiences, brings learning to life… quite literally. The technology uses artificial intelligence to transform the words in a textbook into visually dynamic online courses, including avatar instructors and automatically generated assessments.
“A lot of technology has emerged in the last few years, like generative AI, that we believe can fundamentally change how teachers teach and how students consumer learning material,” said Dr. Deepak Sekar, CEO and co-founder of Prof Jim, in a statement. “We are excited to find ways Prof Jim can improve retention, lower the cost of producing engaging content for learners, and make high-quality education much more affordable and accessible to all.”
The company is currently partnering with publishers to convert textbooks into virtual lessons, in which teachers can then make revisions and create novel scenarios.
Surveyed teachers who have had the opportunity to beta test the technology have said that it works very well with neurodiverse students, including those with dyslexia or ADHD as it gives them an entirely new method of instruction.
According to the Headmaster and founder of Paragon Prep, David McGrath, a middle school in Austin, Texas, whose students beta-tested the technology, it keeps children engaged. “We received excellent feedback from the students, with a rating of 4.7 stars out of five,” he said in a statement. It “transforms the traditional textbook into a rich multimedia experience that engages students.”