Apr 202012

Personal Tutor: Is Bina-48 the new “Personal Tutor” of the future?

Personal Tutor: Written by Joe DiDonato on April 19, 2012 , Via Elearning Magazine

(See video at end of blog post.)

When I was running education for one of the big software companies, one of my managers asked me this question at an off-site meeting: If you could describe the perfect “learning agent” or “personal tutor” of the future, what would that look like? 
Inspired by the original Star Warsmovies, I used that as a visual.  “Imagine if you will, a small hologram figure that would appear near your desktop.  And imagine that it looked something like Princess Leia being projected by R2D2.  Then consider if we could hook that hologram up to an endless supply of knowledge.  Then imagine that your profile had been loaded, so that the program knows a lot about you.  And finally, imagine that you could ask any questions that you wanted, any time you wanted, and any number of different ways that you wanted – and the hologram would ‘tirelessly’ give you your answers.  To me, that would be the perfect tutor.”
I went on to say that I thought walking with my dad when I was young, and asking him millions of questions – which he always attempted to answer – was the very best “learning experience” in the world.  After that, it just seemed ‘wrong’ to have to sit in a classroom seat, be quiet, and raise my hand to ask a question – if it didn’t disrupt the class.
Well, that got some smiles of course – some seemed very critical, and some seemed very thoughtful.  Consider, however, that a lot has happened since the early 1990′s when that question was asked.  Namely that vast body of knowledge has become the Internet.   The wonderful search engine, Google, and all of its competitors are here.  Holograms are around, but they never seemed to take.
With that as a preamble, I thought you might like to consider what this new “personal tutor” of the future would really be like, by introducing you to our youngest ever speaker at our ELCE conference, coming up on September 25th-27th at the Hyatt Irvine in California.  Bina-48 is now 3 years old.
Here’s how it happened:  When I called the Managing Director for the Terasem Movement Foundation, Bruce Duncan, I told him the above story.  Now remember, Bruce is one of the creators and guardians of the most advanced social robot in the world: Bina-48.  Well little did I know that Bruce’s ‘roots’ where in education and filmmaking.  He was not only totally in tune with the concept, he said that they had been toying around with this “teaching attribute” since Bina-48 was created.  So I got him to come – with Bina-48.  Our plan is for him to demonstrate to our attendees what the “personal tutor” of tomorrow might look like.  Of course, it could just as easily be a favorite teacher of yours, a family member, or Albert Einstein.  If you go to the LifeNaut site at https://www.lifenaut.com/, you can actually upload your own “mindfile” for potential use in the future.  Pretty neat.
Bina-48 will be adapted to this new role, but I offer you the following video for your consideration and thoughts.  And if you’d like to watch what’s coming to ELCE you can go to our early show link at http://www.elceshow.com/.  You can sign up at the top of the left column for email reminders when we open registration, and there’s also a link to put ELCE in your calendar.  Hope to see you there



About the author of this article

personal tutor

Joe DiDonato is the Editor-at-Large for the Elearning! Magazine Group. Joe’s background includes senior learning positions, including CTLO, CEO and board-level assignments. Contact Information: jdidonato@2Elearning.com; (888) 201-2841 x846. To find out more about Joe, please click: Joe DiDonato’s Full Biography. To follow on Twitter, please click: Twitter.com/jdidonato

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