Although this question seems utopian and, being hard to answer, a bit rhetorical, it was a question that crossed our minds while arriving in Memphis, TN, at Granville T. Woods Academy charter school which is a part of Shelby County School District.
At the school that was named after a well-known American inventor Granville T. Woods, we were welcomed by Ms. Pam Brown, school Director, and the rest of her warmhearted crew of teachers and school administrators as well as district officials and members of the Tennessee House of Representatives who showed us a true meaning of Memphian hospitality, ready to answer all our questions with a huge smile on their faces.
We arrived to kick off a unique pilot – Granville T. Woods Academy will be the first school in the world that learn the principles of Artificial Intelligence through our project-based STEM program on developing AI Chatbots with the special help of a guy named Martin. Martin is not a regular person, it does not even have a physical body. Martin is an AI bot based on Large Language Model technology and serves as an AI assistant to teachers and a learning buddy to students. Martin is fed by our innovative AI curriculum corpus knowledge as well as with general knowledge about Memphis that was provided by our clients in GTW Academy and is embedded in our Stemi LAB, a deep education experience platform.
Martin who is a part of our STEM program in Chatbot Development is here to solve numerous issues many schools in the US are dealing with:
- Assisting teachers in running STEM-related courses – Martin is a very valuable assistant to teachers and is able to help them navigate students through the course
- Assisting teachers in providing feedback to students – Martin is a very patient learning buddy who helps students with all the questions they may have and clears out complex concepts of AI technology
- Closing the success rate student gap – many students in GTW are behind the national student success rate and, while Esser money was on the table they were able to go towards closing the gap but in 2024 they will face significant challenges of running out of money and not being able to provide enough attention to students risking another success rate gap
- Offering employability skills and fresh real-life contemporary knowledge of the newest technologies about AI, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Large Language Models, etc.
- Doing something great for the local community as students will have the assignment of creating chatbots that will serve the local community, schools, non-profit organizations and other institutions that should be connected in a modern-day society.
While conducting the teacher training, the staff from GTW were anxious to get going as they really needed help with teaching the new technologies. 2 days of in-person training and direct communication with them enabled us to understand all the challenges they face on a daily basis and will help us to tweak and improve the curriculum and Martin. We have also set up biweekly checkpoints and offered direct assistance through Stemi Chat, a Stemi LAB feature enabling 24/7 in-person support.
Now it is time to start the class and get students’ hands and minds “dirty” with the concepts of AI and the future as this can be the shortest way of closing the skills and student success rate gap in the modern world.
Hopefully, in the near future, the first idea that comes to your mind when mentioning Memphis, TN will not be only blues, rock, and the King but also a story of how middle school students created an AI-powered tech product and shared their vision of Memphis engaging more than 100 000 Memphians. Hopefully, it will also be a story of how in the technology era your neighborhood is not defining who you will be and Memphis will gradually become and prospective place for all its citizens who will together build a better future on the shores of the Mississippi River.
Fun fact – Martin is named after Martin Sekulic, a high school teacher of Nikola Tesla and one of the main reasons Tesla became such a great innovator. We wanted to honor teachers around the world and emphasize their critical role in shaping young minds.