To Flip Your Classroom with Artificial Intelligence, Start Here

Editors Features October 19 / October 16, 2019

 – Terra Graves –

In September, I gave you my answer to the “So what?” question I asked when looking at one of the research articles shared in Jon Bergmann’s Top 10. Here’s the link in case you missed it. The goal here is to provide K-12 teachers with a practical application for what the research has found. Otherwise, what is the point of research?

The research

Prajakta Diwanji and Hans Friedrich Witschel look at ways to intrinsically motivate students to do the pre-work in a flipped classroom using artificial intelligence (AI). Their paper proposes that the classrooms be supported by chatbots that engage students outside of class so that they are intrinsically motivated. This sounds like a really promising idea that is definitely pushing the envelope to the next evolution of Flipped Learning.

The big idea

Whether you are shopping or paying bills online, you may have noticed on some sites, there is always someone ready to assist you in a little chat window.  At first, you might think, “Wow, they really have excellent customer service…there must be hundreds of agents on standby.” Well, you would be wrong. What you are probably experiencing is a chatbot. These amazing “little” AI applications can individualize service, research, and it turns out: learning. Chatbots and other AI-powered tools are the next Flipped Learning (FL) practitioner’s assistant and learning partner.  Some “ready-to-go” chatbots are out there for learning (see, and for certain students at Georgia Tech, (see Jill Watson), the real power is in being able to personalize AI applications to support your instruction and student learning.  

In Chatbots Magazine, shares 6 Ways Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots are Changing Education. These include: 

  1. Automatic Essay Scoring: The technology is getting more accurate in comparison with human scorers. This would save English teachers so much time and provide students with what they need to improve their writing.  
  2. Spaced Interval Learning: SuperMemo is an app that can keep track of what we learn and repeatedly check in at varying times, the learning will “stick.” This app could eliminate cramming before a test (and forgetting the information immediately after the test). 
  3. Conversational Course Assessments & Student Ratings: Collecting feedback from students is not a new practice.  However, using a chatbot has the potential to get more personalized, granular feedback because it can ask follow-up questions based on student responses.  
  4. Watson, the Teacher Assistant: Using the power of IBM’s AI-system, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology created a chatbot to answer common questions in an extremely fast and accurate way. The theme recurs: save teachers time and support students on demand.
  5. The Chatbot Campus Genie: This is another one using IBM’s Watson being created for Deakins University. It will be a huge support for students regarding campus life and services available to them.  
  6. Student-Centered Feedback: This isn’t correctly named based on the description. It would be better described as “adaptive learning software” which alters its lessons based on how the student is performing the tasks set forth by the program. 

The Action(s)


Learn more about AI applications and how they might support teaching and learning (see The Resources below). I truly believe this is the next “thing” for Flipped Learning. Experiment with chatbots for yourself. One I’ve been using is Woebot (see This interesting app is like having your own therapist at your fingertips 24/7/365. Woebot was created by clinical psychologists from Stanford School of Medicine and uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as the basis for the interactions. There’s something about interacting with a non-human that people find freeing. Chatbots do not judge, have their own biases, or make you feel like you need to put on a happy face. Removing that potential barrier seems to encourage complete honesty which ultimately will lead to getting the support you need.  


Create a chatbot to use with your students. This action is NOT for tech-fearing people. I played with a few of the tools shared below and there is definitely a learning curve. This is a tech goal for myself over this next year. My recommendation is to start VERY SMALL with a chatbot that can do something simple like collect course feedback. Once you learn how to use the interface, I think you could start building more complex interactions like reviewing for tests.  

The Resources

Chatbots Magazine This resource is chock full of interesting articles and tutorials. Suitable for all levels of chatbotters. 

FlowXO Flow XO is a powerful automation product that allows you to quickly and simply build incredible chatbots that help you to communicate and engage with your customers across a wide range of different sites, applications and social media platforms. 

GradeProof Artificially intelligent proofreading. This tool is a writer’s best friend. It helps with grammar, spelling, rephrasing, eloquence, fluency, plagiarism, and more.  

SnatchBot This is another bot-creation tool.

IBM Watson Assistant Watson Assistant is an offering for building conversational interfaces into any application, device, or channel.

Most chatbots try to mimic human interactions, which can frustrate users when a misunderstanding arises. Watson Assistant is more.

Alexa Skills Kits The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that makes it easier to start building Alexa skills. Skills are like apps for Alexa, enabling customers to perform everyday tasks or engage with your content naturally with voice.

Learn Alexa with Codecademy In this series, you will learn how to create a simple “Hello Codecademy” Alexa skill. You will build the interaction model and Amazon Lambda function that responds to a user’s voice with a personal welcome message.

Cognitive Class: Build Your Own Chatbot  Learn how to build a chatbot without having to write any code by leveraging Watson Assistant (formerly Watson Conversation). Then deploy your chatbot to a real website in less than five minutes.

Google Cloud Dialogflow Dialogflow is an end-to-end, build-once deploy-everywhere development suite for creating conversational interfaces for websites, mobile applications, popular messaging platforms, and IoT devices.

After reading this column, I hope that the “So what?” you might be feeling after reading research studies becomes a “Now what?” feeling, and that innovative research becomes a call to action. And when you hear that call to action, chat me (or my bot)!

Terra Graves
Terra Graves
Terra has been an educator for over twenty years. She is the Project Coordinator/Administrator for the 21st Century Learning Department in Washoe County School District, NV. Prior to this position, she taught elementary and middle school, supported novice teachers as a full-time mentor, served as an Ed Tech Specialist, and a Program Specialist in the 21st Century Learning Department. Terra is Flipped Learning 3.0 Level-II Certified and a founding member of the FLGI International Faculty.

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