How Super Teacher works

Children speak, and Super Teacher listens, responds and adapts to the child's skills and abilities. But how does it work?

The basic idea

During each lesson, the teacher speaks while showing images that support the lesson. Throughout each lesson, the teacher asks questions to keep the child engaged and make sure they're following along. Depending on how the child answers each question, the teacher may respond one way or another.

Each lesson is tailored to the student, taking its direction from what the child says throughout the lesson. Depending on how things go during a lesson, the teacher may cover enrichment material at the end, or help the student review the basics.

Does it use Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Super Teacher only uses established technologies that are well understood to be safe for use with children. In particular, Super Teacher uses the following technologies, which some people would consider to be examples of “AI” because they use an underlying technology called “neural networks”.

  1. Speech transcription
    This is the same technology that is used when you dictate a message on your smartphone. We use it to convert the audio of children's spoken answers into words.
  2. Natural language processing
    This is the same technology that is used when you type a question into Google. We use it to understand what users are trying to say, for example understanding that “absolutely” and “you betcha” mean the same thing as “yes” in the context of responding to a yes/no question.
  3. Synthetic voice
    This is the same technology that is used when a smart speaker like Alexa tells you the weather. We use it to power the voice of the teacher, so that she can address children by name, which kids love and which keeps children engaged during lessons.

Does it use ChatGPT?

Yes, but not in the way that you might think. Everything that Super Teacher says and shows to children was crafted in advance by a real, human teacher. There is no risk that Super Teacher will ever start saying anything inaccurate or inappropriate. Your child is not "talking to ChatGPT".

The teachers that create the lessons in Super Teacher do use technology from OpenAI as part of their creative process. For the AI people out there: the way our teachers use GPT to help them create lessons is similar to the way that many programmers today use Github Copilot to help them write code. But nothing goes out to children before being explicitly approved by the teachers who work on Super Teacher.

We're excited to see each announcement out of OpenAI and other AI research labs, and we look forward to leveraging each advance in AI in ways that are safe for use with children.

Who made Super Teacher?

Super Teacher is a collaboration between teachers and technologists.

The lessons are written by teachers with classroom experience, including preschool through 2nd grade. We also have mathematicians on staff who help develop math content and make the app adaptive. The software is written by experienced software engineers who previously worked at companies such as Google. The CEO is Tim Novikoff, a teacher-turned-entrepreneur who sold his previous company to Google, specialized in applied AI at Google Photos, and later managed the AI developer tool Google Colab.

Many of us are parents of children aged 3–8 ourselves, and we all work together to make a product that we are proud to bring to the world.

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