Learning through Conversational AI: Technical, Learning Sciences, and Ethical Considerations

This is an expertise exchange in the CIRCLS’23 Expertise Exchange session

Session Leaders: Erin Walker, University of Pittsburgh; Ying Xu, University of Michigan; Shari Gardner, SRI International

Conversational AI systems, especially those designed with learning sciences in mind, present promising opportunities to enhance learner engagement and improve learning outcomes from early childhood through K-12. In this session, we will explore the technical, pedagogical, and ethical considerations of integrating conversational AI in educational settings. This session will start with a joint presentation from three scholars in this field, showcasing a diverse range of use cases of conversational AI for preK-12 students, from voice-based to multi-modal systems, from individual interactions to group collaboration, and from informal to formal learning contexts. Following the presentation, attendees will engage in interactive activities revolving around case studies stemming from the scholars’ research, in which we will discuss topics including 1) designing equitable AI systems to support multilingual learners, and 2) empowering teachers, students, and parents to customize and adapt AI systems to their needs. These activities aim to foster a vibrant exchange among stakeholders—students, teachers, parents, policymakers, and researchers—with the aspiration of catalyzing collaborative research efforts for the future.