Tyler Poteet, Vice President, Power of Public Speaking
Education may never return to "normal." As we highlighted in a recent post, we are in unprecedented times. With each passing month - and even week - of 2020, current events seem to overshadow everything leading to that point. This year will be one to remember, for the good and for the bad. From COVID-19 to the SpaceX/NASA launch, to the conversations around justice and equality we find ourselves having with one-another, this year will surely be a time we reference with "before" and "after."
The events of this year did not cause a trend toward technology changing the education environment, but have highlighted and expedited this. Technology - particularly artificial intelligence - has started to transform education. We believe these changes can and will be for the positive.
Outlined in a recent Forbes article by Sameer Maskey, AI-powered technology has and will continue to lead to the ability for educators to lessen the amount of time spent on logistics and tedious tasks. At the same time, AI will enable students to receive more personalized attention. Instead of taking valuable time to perform menial tasks, AI will enable teachers to focus on what they are best at: teaching. Educators will be able to have more time and class data to teach in more creative and responsive ways.
Forbes: "If we want to create an experience that is equitable and enjoyable for all, we have to eliminate as many obstacles as possible. Equipping educators with AI-powered technology can help alleviate some of these challenges. For example, using AI systems that act as personal tutors can help the student-teacher ratio problem by providing feedback and support when teachers don't have the bandwidth. Introducing supporting tools like these from the ground up can help eliminate the socioeconomic discrepancies in schools, changing the way students perceive themselves, their peers and their overall learning experience."
The team at Power of Public Speaking has been working for years to take many of the menial tasks out of teaching a Public Speaking course. This past year, with the introduction of Pops Advisor, AI became a part of that effort. As mentioned in the Forbes article, the ability for AI systems to address the student-teacher ratio problem (one that is amplified in a public speaking course) is a true value-add. Tutors are both colloquially and scientifically known to improve student ability, though access to such resources is often restricted.
Pops Advisor enables each student to receive personalized, on-demand attention and guidance toward improving their public speaking skills. Effectively, by using Advisor, students have access to their own speech coach/tutor every time they practice their presentations. As result, instructors can experience what it's like to have the time to spend with each student while they practice - they receive the benefits of having students who are better prepared and further along in the learning process.
Advisor does not take place of the instructor whom eventually will be evaluating the student speaker. Instead, it makes evaluating students more enjoyable, allowing instructors to provide feedback in a deeper way, helping a student become an even better speaker. AI has not replaced the student-teacher relationship, it has enhanced it.
Technology has allowed education to continue in these times of isolation and uncertainty. The augmentation of AI-centric technology will go beyond simply allowing us to do what we've already been doing, it will work to advanced what is possible and even how we see education. Our desire is to see public speaking education become more equitable, engaging, and accessible. We believe that communication skills are among the most important that tomorrow's leaders will need to address the issues we face.
Public speaking educators no doubt believe in this "power of public speaking." The team at POPS is ready and eager to work with you and your students during these times and in the future. To have our team work with you to incorporate POPS tools into your courses, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org