Technology in the classroom is an often talked about goal that has shown few results to date. But that may change as certain high school students in Houston begin receiving artificially intelligent digital textbooks. Initially programmed to instruct mathematics and physics lessons, the books measure a student's progress and respond accordingly, providing further explanation for problem areas and emphasizing related material that might otherwise trip students up. 

"The adaptive textbooks also incorporate a learning method called retrieval practice, in which material that students have already learned pops up again in occasional quizzes. This method has been shown to enhance students' ability to retain material, and the algorithmic textbooks will be able to decide when to ask questions based on past exercises."

The books are not meant to replace the human element in teaching: teachers remain essential for establishing bonds with the students and stoking their curiosity in ways that technology cannot. The books will also help teachers identify patterns, pointing out whether a particular lesson has been difficult for the entire class and therefore merits reviewing.

Creator of the One Laptop Per Child initiative, Nicholas Negroponte discussed why teachers must learn to use digital teaching tools to augment their efforts:

Read more at New Scientist

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