Context and Problem
Created as a result of the pandemic, COVID-19 forced schools to close globally, and China was no exception. Over 280 million students were affected, and schools had to find alternate learning methods. With the potential resurgence of the disease becoming the norm, online learning methods have instantly become essential. Yet, not everyone can afford the software, network requirements, or transition effectively to a new learning environment.
This campaign’s initial trial began in part because of challenges experienced by public schools in low-income counties. In September 2018, No.1 High School in Wei County, Hebei Province, became the first partner of First Mate. Experienced teachers from advantaged cities such as Beijing and Shanghai shared their pedagogy with young teachers in Wei. They also taught several courses to students via WeClassroom as illustrations. When COVID-19 hit, WeClassroom was immediately open to our partners in Wei county so that they can use the platform to teach their students, and was quickly scaled up to help public schools, independent tutors, and struggling education institutes.
First Mate ensures continuity to its users by connecting its community instantly with great latency and high bandwidth. Its low maintenance cost allows learners to connect using any device, allowing the use of unlimited content and resources in the classroom. AI tools for education must center on alleviating the workload so teachers and students can focus on their work. The deployment of AI in classrooms serves to enhance human capabilities as opposed to replacing them.
Therefore, a set of advanced artificial intelligence technologies, such as automatic speech recognition, computer vision, and natural language processing, are integrated into our system. With these artificial intelligence models, a detailed analysis report of students’ and teachers’ behavior is generated after each course. The report allows for teachers to receive feedback and improve their methods while seeing how students are progressing. The information provided is a positive way of showing students their engagement is noticed and encouraged.
The technology also allows for interactive features to engage users and encourage them to continue using the platform. With efficient data acquisition and feedback channels, the system’s machine learning models can continuously receive high-quality incremental training samples.