Kanata-based tech company launches AI-powered tutor for students

TutorOcean AI Tutor

A Kanata-based tech company is using artificial intelligence to help students reach a new level in learning. 

TutorOcean, an online learning platform with over 30,000 monthly users, connects learners with a network of tutors on demand for assistance in subjects ranging from math and physics to language and music. The 30-person firm’s new platform, AI Tutor, is another step towards its goal of providing around-the-clock educational resources. 

CEO and co-founder Will Li called the new platform a “groundbreaking step” for personalized education. 

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“We are combining the scalability and intelligence of AI with the nurturing guidance of human tutors,” he said. “With AI Tutor, students can embark on an enlightening learning journey that caters to their uniqueness and fosters academic growth. This takes us all one step closer to the gold standard of a personalized teacher for each student.”

It’s a hybrid AI-human approach, according to TutorOcean digital marketing specialist Micheli Silva. 

“We believe that access to knowledge is a right, not a privilege,” she said. “With AI Tutor, we allow students to connect with knowledge anytime, anywhere, where we can enhance their learning experience.”

Powered by publicly available AI engines like ChatGPT, AI Tutor is designed to help answer small questions that come up during homework. Instead of reaching out to a tutor everytime they need assistance, students can turn to the digital helper, which walks them through concepts, breaks down problems and prompts them with new questions to further their learning. 

It also provides access to embedded teaching materials. 

“The AI tutors are available 24/7, which means they can help students whenever they need,” said Silva. “They also provide immediate feedback on exercises, which can lead to faster progress.”

The initial version of the program also offers students the choice of different AI personalities, which is part of the customization approach that the company is striving for, Silva explained. 

“We’re incorporating those humanized elements so learning can be fun. The platform will adjust mood and tone to personalize the experience.”

The company says the AI platform is designed to be used as a supplemental tool rather than a replacement for one-on-one tutelage from a real person. 

“The AI takes the lead in providing initial support, then if a student is struggling and requires some extra assistance, the AI Tutor will suggest connecting with a human tutor,” said Silva. “Integrated together, we will bring the best of both worlds.”

While the company acknowledges that the relative newness of AI platforms may set some parents on edge, Silva said embracing new technologies is important in the field of education. 

“As technologies like AI advance, we need to find ways to improve the learning experience for students,” she said. “We need to walk hand-in-hand with this stuff. AI will certainly help students develop skills. We just need to find a way to integrate those tools and make education better for both students and educators.”

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