Could A Chatbot Be Your Next Teaching Assistant?

With the biggest names in tech boarding the ‘Bot’ bandwagon faster than you can say “Hey Siri“, chatbots are destined to play an exciting and versatile role in our digital futures. As part of a fascinating five-part video series on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Richard Waters from the Financial Times delves into how these hi-tech ethereal characters will change our lives forever.

But what about in the classroom? How could ‘in-context’ artificial intelligence help students learn and teachers teach? It could be as simple as removing teacher overheads, like reducing your inbox and taking care of trivial communications. Or it could be as impactful and integrated as analysing huge sums of data to help curb curriculum and implement Just-in-Time Teaching.

Could we see classrooms outfitted with a friendly ‘Amazon Echo’ welcoming students to class? Or perhaps Facebook’s M helping our younger digital citizens avoid dangerous situations online?

We speak of the ‘sage on the stage‘ or the ‘guide on the side‘… How about the ‘Bot in the background‘ or the ‘AI in the AMO‘?

We speak of the ‘guide on the side’… How about the ‘Bot in the background’?

How could you see chatbots impacting learning? Let us know your ideas in the comments below. And if you want to find out more on where the tech is heading, check out the Financial Times – Artificial Intelligence and Robotics site.


Feature image courtesy of Flickr, izik.

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Are You Underestimating the Power of Search Engines?

Many businesses simply aren’t using search engine optimization… well, optimally! This seems to stem from a lack of understanding from how important search engines are when it comes to driving traffic to your website. Even some of the ones that do understand the importance don’t quite understand how exactly that traffic is going to be generated.

How a search engine doesn’t work

Many people think that search engines are a ubiquitous, ultra-dynamic technology. The likes of Google know exactly when a new website is created and adds it to some database. If a user enters the right term, that website will be among the search results, probably not too far from the front page.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite a simple as that. It’s true that companies like DuckDuckGo can return results from pretty much anywhere on the World Wide Web. But these companies don’t return comprehensive or neutral results.

The selectivity of search engines

Thousands of websites are being created every day. As a result, search engines have to show a degree of selectivity when it comes to the results of a searcher’s inquiry.

When you search for something, you’re not getting unfiltered results from a neutral source. Filters are in place that prevent business owners who are using unethical SEO tactics from appearing in search results.

There have been many times in which disputes between a website and a search engine have culminated in throttled search results. Remember the dispute between Genius and Google? This was the result of unhealthy SEO.

Understanding searcher psychology

When someone wants to find something, they’re going to use the search term they feel is most appropriate. Many companies assume that there can only be a limited number of obvious search terms that would lead to their company. But a user doesn’t always use the inquiries or search terms you might expect. Not everyone visits Google knowing exactly what they’re looking for!

You also need to understand that your average searcher is not going to look beyond the first two or three pages of search results. They’re likely to use one of the first few results or change their search term.

Getting to grips with the numbers

As you can see, the world of search engines is a complex one. It makes the workload of really good SEO absolutely tremendous. Understanding how the various algorithms of sites and psyches of users is no small task. It’s why many companies choose to use SEO consulting. It’s also why many companies simply don’t bother with SEO at all.

But when you see the numbers, your mind should be changed. The average number of Google searches per month hovers around the figure of six billion. And make no mistake: it’s search engines that are the most common gateway to any given business. It’s not television advertising or social media marketing. (Not that you should be ignoring the latter!) It’s organic search results.

You cannot afford to underestimate the power of search engines when it comes to your digital marketing. Don’t put your company at risk by ignoring it!

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