Creating an inclusive education system using AI language tools:
AI technology like spf.io can help create an inclusive education system, which in turn allows for more open and personal connections between people of different cultures.
In Japan, Hiroyoshi Noro is using AI to solve the IT teacher shortage in his country. His organization, Dive into Code, helps people access a world-class technology education by bringing in skilled instructors from other countries. The language barrier means oral communication is difficult and frustrating. However, with AI translation of written communication, Hiro can bridge the gap between Japanese students and African instructors.
By creating a system that crosses language barriers and connects communities, we allow people worldwide to learn from each other. Together, we can solve issues like limits to economic development or lack of employment opportunities by improving global access to educational resources.
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- Including teachers abroad is a viable option to help address teacher shortages. Increasing access to education improves access to opportunities.
- Language barriers in education can be bridged through written AI-based translation.
- Implementing translation is a path towards inclusion: our cultures are transformed as we increase intercultural interaction.
- Progress is more important than perfection! It’s ok to start using a new technology even if it seems scary at first – that’s how you will learn how to make it work.
- Schools can use AI technology like spf.io to help with translation and subtitling in the classroom, making education inclusive and fun.
Hiroyoshi Noro with students in Rwanda
Interview Excerpts (click to expand):
My name is Chris Lim and I’m the founder of spf.io, a toolkit for inclusion, learning, and fun in the schools through technologies like real time translation.
Today’s world is increasingly connected and diverse, and advances in technologies – like real-time translation – allow us to communicate and share important ideas with each other.
As our translation tools improve, we can reach across language barriers, making translation accessible to workplaces and communities, schools, and individuals.
We’re delighted to be a sponsor of World Education Week, in support of giving people access to a world class education in any language.
I’m joined by my friend Hiroyoshi Noro, founder of DIVE INTO CODE, a code school that aims to deliver IT education and employment opportunities to all countries in the world.
He has built an international team that connects African teachers from Rwanda, Senegal, Burkina Faso and elsewhere with Japanese students to support their learning and help fill the shortage in IT talent.
As you can imagine, bridging the language barrier is one of the key elements that makes this collaboration possible and today we will discuss the ways AI is making a difference and what’s in store for the future.
[Case study: Hiro shares his experience using AI in his coding boot camp at Dive into Code]
Chris: Hiro, can you share more about the teacher shortage problem in your context?
Hiro: There is a shortage of IT personnel in Japan. There is a particular shortage of IT developers. To help alleviate this shortage, I am running a Coding Bootcamp in Japan.
One of the problems in running this business is the shortage of instructors to teach programming. IT instructors generally have fewer job opportunities and are paid less than IT developers. Therefore, it tends to be difficult to find good instructors when there is even a shortage of IT personnel.
Chris: What are the challenges of including many languages in your team and among your students?
How does AI help address these challenges and what needs remain?
Hiro: The challenge is that “oral communication is not smooth.”
Particularly for students, incomplete oral communication can cause dissatisfaction and significantly damage our reputation.
On the other hand, written communication can be handled with free machine translation tools such as Deepl.
At this point in time, we have an operation where questions from Japanese students are answered by Rwandan and Senegalese instructors.
Satisfaction is high, and there are no problems.
This is because a few errors in writing are acceptable as long as the technical context is conveyed to the customer by the other party.
What remains is real-time interpretation.
The last remaining frontier is to overcome language barriers in oral communication.
This is the last remaining frontier, and the most difficult challenge and formidable enemy that divides our world.
Chris: What’s your big dream for creating an inclusive education system with AI?
Hiro: There are two.
First, I would like to make it commonplace for people in developed countries to learn from people in emerging countries.
By creating a system that enables people in developed countries to learn from each other, overcoming barriers such as the level of economic development and language barriers, I would also like to solve the lack of employment opportunities.
Writing is a helpful medium.
Oral translation unlocks education globally, and then connecting people to each other to make this possible is my aim.
Second, transforming the culture of my home country, Japan, to be more open.
Japanese youth are less interested in going abroad, their cultural openness is declining.
To open Japanese society to people from all over the world is the dream, to change my home country to be more open.
A language barrier breakthrough is needed.
All Japanese people learn English for 10 years, but have little practical conversational experience.
Also, my staff didn’t even want to try to travel abroad when I went to Rwanda 5 years ago.
Now 5 years later, 20% of my staff have the passion and motivation to communicate daily with Rwandans and other countries’ staff.
[On AI in the classroom]
Chris: So what I’m seeing in your diagram is that you have a workflow where you use 2 different AI translation engines, Google Translate and DeepL.
You’re using that iterative loop of try it out, translate it back, translate it back, and verify that it’s saying what you want. That lets you change what you input.
We [at spf.io] obviously have a lot of experience doing machine translation. That’s our business. We know that sometimes even something simple like making a letter uppercase or lowercase can affect the output.
So, you learn with this process how to give the input that will give you the trustworthy output that you want on the other end.
It sounds like for your school because it’s online, it’s really nice because your remote teachers are able to do this.
To answer the question that we heard earlier, I think that what we need is for tools that teachers can use in their classroom if it’s in person or something, that don’t feel daunting or overwhelming.
I think these tools that you mentioned are really good because they’re free – they’re accessible. And just getting experience can help.
There’s things we’re doing at spf.io to try to simplify the use of that AI, so that you don’t have to go through the step by step flow that’s quite complex, but still have confidence in what you’re giving to your students.
[Free Teacher Resources]
In honor of World Education Week, like I mentioned, we at spf.io are creating a free, simple tool that lets you create a fill in the blank worksheet—also known as a cloze exercise—from any text.
We hope this tool will help teachers save time by enabling them to take content they want students to learn—whether it be in written form or oral form taken from an audio or video file—and quickly turn it into an assignment that can be easily graded.
We’re making this tool compatible with latin script languages to start, with more languages to follow.
To access this and many other resources, please go to spf.io/edu.