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  • Writer's pictureJolie Radunich

I grew up on Duolingo, Khan Academy, and Quizlet. Here's what I think of their new AI.

Hey kid,

If you explained Duolingo Max, Khanmigo, and Q-Chat to me 10 years ago, I wouldn't have thought the tools would make it to launch.

Look at the pushback against AI right now. I can only imagine the outrage and banning that would've happened years before.

When it comes to AI and education I'm a realistic optimist.

One of the greatest fears people have about the power of these products: is their ability to encourage cheating.

And while being able to generate instant responses would've excited me years ago, AI has a track record of helping kids cheat.

The new AI in Duolingo, Khan Academy, and Quizlet aren't replacing their core products. But they do have the chance to fundamentally change how users choose to interact with the products.

I have access to Q-Chat beta since it's available with my free Quizlet account.

As for the other two; until I squeak my way onto the waiting list or decide to pay to try out these tools, I'm basing my opinions on the information in companies' press releases, anecdotes, and other articles.

Here's how I compare my earlier experiences with Duolingo, Khan Academy, and Quizlet with the new AI.

Duolingo to Duolingo Max

The adorable green owl mascot drew me in. The built-in gamification made me stay.

I wanted to come back every day to beat my Spanish language learning streak. I first felt this with Snapchat. Setting an educational record felt better.

The AI behind Duolingo Max includes two new features.

The 'Explain my answer' feature

Answer a question incorrectly and see an option to get the right one explained to you.

As you go back and forth with the AI to understand your mistake, you'll select from several prewritten response options to see if you

  • got it now

  • want to see an example

  • still don't have it, please elaborate

I wish I could've embraced this tool years ago. When I answered a question incorrectly, I had a tendency to skip over taking time to understand the why. I'd just click onward and hope for better results next time.

Unlike OpenAI, there is no open chat available, minimizing cheating concerns.

The 'Roleplay' feature

This feature lets students practice language conversations with the AI by typing back and forth.

The tool reminds me of my high school AP Spanish teacher. She always stressed the need for my class to have more conversational practice, even recommending a place where we could take lessons. 'Roleplay' cuts out the middleman.

Since open response chat is used here, I wonder about cheating potential. Can a student ask the AI a homework question and get a good enough response to put down on their homework sheet? I don't know.

Duolingo Max is currently available for customers practicing Spanish and French in select countries who buy into the new subscription tier.

Khan Academy to Khanmigo

Khan Academy was my one-stop shop for extra math practice. Using the platform on a regular basis helped me face math anxiety head-on.

I could pause and play my teacher (aka the library of on-demand videos) to learn and review at my own speed.

The platform felt high-tech to me back then! Enter KhanMigo, the one-to-one writing and computer science teacher that can:

  • debate any topic (within reason)

  • answer questions in the voice of real or fictional historical figures

  • help brainstorm writing assignment content

Talking to Cleopatra and Dr. Frankenstein would've entertained me enough to power through my history lessons. No doubt.

However, I did notice the open-ended chat function is similar to what's available on OpenAI. This capability, if not foolproof, gives kids the chance to seek out answers without trying to solve them on their own.

Right now, Khanmigo is available to Khan Academy partner school districts. There is also a waiting list which I'm sure is pretty long. Want to get bumped up the list? Consider making a donation to help fund the development of the AI.

Quizlet to Q-Chat

My Quizlet account and screen name are about 10 years strong.

I can look back at my library of flashcards across all subjects: Spanish, science, ELA. When I was learning new terms, I couldn't wait to get to the games and even the quizzes.

I got to try out Q-Chat since it's available with my free account! The AI has a host of activities including:

  • Quiz me

  • Story mode

  • Practice with sentences

  • Deepen my understanding

  • Tell me a fun fact

The AI was pretty good at reeling in answers I gave that were off-topic from the study decks I was learning from.

Questions/responses I typed that weren't related to my flashcards redirected to the content I was studying.

The study activities were solid add-ons to the limited games and quiz modes I was familiar with.

Quizlet is a study platform. Kids who try to use Q-Chat to cheat and get them to answer study questions for them are just cheating themselves out of valuable study time.

This AI is free to try with a Quizlet account now.

Channel your edtech kid to anticipate the future

Take some time to think about what's next for the edtech company you work for.

Not the latest revenue goal or new team. I want you to get a birds-eye view of what could be on the horizon.

Maybe you'll need to update your resources and get on board with a promising new learning theory. Or get to know the new tech that feels suspicious now.

There could be big rewards for those who forecast or adapt quickly to whatever the future of edtech ends up embracing.

For more flashbacks comparing edtech then vs. now, subscribe to the Channel Your Edtech Kid blog to get new posts delivered to your inbox!

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