Teachers, what would you do if someone offered to take on some of your workload for you – lesson planning, curriculum alignment, report writing and text generation, generating resources and worksheets? What would you say if they offered to handle your emails too?
What would your response be if it was not a someone but a something?
MyTeacherAide is an AI-powered teaching assistant, developed by Tasmanian high school teachers Paul Matthews and Jacob Skierka, and they are currently looking for schools and educators to be involved in their pilot study.
Embracing AI in the classroom
By now, most educators would be familiar with ChatGPT, and other forms of language AI that are becoming rapidly part of the teaching landscape. MyTeacherAide aims to go one step further, while also tightening its focus, by providing teachers with the ability to create a range of resources at the click of a button.
CEO and co-developer, Paul Matthews, explains: “I am a high school teacher from Hobart, Australia. I teach grade 9 and 10 History at Calvin Christian School. Being a teacher myself, I know how hard the profession is. It’s no surprise that 70 percent of educators report that their workload is unmanageable, that 75 percent feel stressed and 84 percent have considered leaving the profession. My Co-Founder (also a teacher) and I created this tool for educators just like ourselves, hard-working teachers who love inspiring the next generation but can struggle with the workload of teaching [by allowing] them to create high-quality resources with the click of a button, requiring only simple input from them. We are developing tools that will assist with unit plans, lesson plans, curriculum compliance, assessment, feedback, differentiation, resource creation, and more.”
Much more than ChatGPT
MyTeacherAide will be more than a chatbot that produces text. “AI is powerful, but to unlock the power you need to be able to prompt well,” warns Mr Matthews.
As a result, much work is going into the model to ensure that educators can get consistently high-quality and educationally-specific results with simple input. The upcoming pilot program – to which over 200 teachers from four continents have already applied to be part of – is key to this, and will help ensure that the model is receptive and reactive.
“We aim to provide teachers with cutting-edge AI tools that allow them to produce better resources in less time. The AI space is moving so quickly, and we will be dedicating much of our resources to research and development” Paul Matthews.
Schools and educators interested in being part of the pilot study, and receiving full access to the suite of tools for the duration of the program are invited to apply before September.
Addressing some concerns of AI
Not everyone has addressed the onslaught of AI with open arms, with risks of privacy, job loss, and algorithmic bias among some of the concerns about the new technology. School News asked Mr Matthews about the possibility that AI-powered teaching tools may inadvertently amplify or perpetuate biases or outdated teaching methods from the data being used to feed the models.
“We will be using data from a pre-existing large language model. We haven’t settled on a model as yet, but our development and pre-pilot testing has been utilising the OpenAI LLM,” explained Mr Matthews. “While we don’t believe AI teaching tools will perpetuate or amplify biases, we are clear with teachers that they are always to exercise discretion when dealing with AI-generated content. AI-generated content for teachers is a great place to start, but you must still utilise your professional discretion and ensure the resources work within your setting and culture.”
Another concern raised was whether a tool like MyTeacherAide will become the domain of only privileged schools and districts due to price inaccessibility.
“The price will vary based on the size of the school we are working with [and] will be developed with information we get from the pilot program which launches in September,” said Mr Matthews. “As an educator myself, I have access to many school leaders. Both public and private schools have given me an idea of the amount of money they would be willing to spend on a program that will benefit teachers as much as MyTeacherAide will. We believe our pricing structure will be well under these figures. That said, I am also meeting with the education adviser to Tasmania’s education minister in order to encourage the government to subsidise our program for resource-poor schools. In time, I plan on having similar discussions with other state and federal politicians.”
Spaces still available on pilot
Paul Matthews invites more schools and educators to sign up to the MyTeacherAide pilot: “As a teacher myself, I understand the stress that comes with the profession. AI presents a real hope for stressed-out teachers. We built MyTeacherAide to tackle the root of educators’ issues head-on, and the overwhelming response we’ve received is a clear indication that our solution is not just wanted but profoundly needed.”
To learn more about MyTeacherAide, or to apply for the Pilot Program, visit: myteacheraide.com