The Education Secretary cited the Ada chatbot as an example of artificial intelligence at its most beneficial, freeing tutors to spend more time on teaching and less time on paperwork.
Addressing over 800 delegates at the education technology Bett Show in London, the Education Secretary said: “At Bolton College, for instance, they have used IBM Watson, an artificial intelligence programme, to build a virtual clerk they call ‘Ada’.
“Ada helps deliver personalised learning and assessment for 14,000 students [and] queries about attendance or curriculum content.
“It has saved Bolton’s staff hours and hours of time they would have spent on admin either at college or in their own spare time.
“This is showing tech at its most transformative and enabling.”
Ada has so far responded to over 70,000 student questions; learners access the chatbot in College and also at home, via an app on their mobile phone or by installing a skill on Amazon’s Alexa Echo.
Last September, Ada won the award for innovation at the Bolton Business Awards and in March, the College will learn the outcome of the AoC Beacon Awards; Ada has again been nominated in the innovation category.
Bill Webster, Interim Principal of Bolton College, said: “It is wonderful to be recognised for our work with artificial intelligence by the Education Secretary. Ada has enriched the college experience for our students, so we are delighted that Damian Hinds recognises the increasing importance of utilising innovative technology within further education.”
To see Ada in action, please click here.