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AceTute Learning is an interactive education platform with innovative tutorials for CBSE, IGCSE, IA, and International Baccalaureate exams. Other than the normal curriculum, AceTute offers tutorials in Spoken English for Conversation and Business. They also offer Parent Tutorials, which are specially designed for strengthening the parent-child-teacher relationship, covering topics like, ‘Helping a child’s learning process at home’ and ‘Planning for their future’. Tutorial courses begin at £16 as part of AceTute’s extraordinary launch offer, with a whole range of other discounts for whole course tutorials or tutorials that support a section of the exam syllabus.

Dominic Shellard is the Founder of AceTute. In an interaction with The Tech Pod, Dominic speaks about fun learning experience with help of AI. Read more!    

Tell us something about yourself and what does your company do?

An expert on Shakespeare and British theatre and the author of 10 books, I have 26 years’ experience of working in British universities, starting as a Lecturer in English before becoming a Vice-Chancellor.

When I was appointed in 2010, I was the youngest Vice-Chancellor in the United Kingdom and I had a particular interest in engaging with India, receiving the Gandhi Global Seva Medal from the UN NGO, the Gandhi Global Family, in 2013 for my commitment to social good projects in Gujarat.

I founded my EdTech company, AceTute, in 2019 (before COVID), to offer one-to-one online tutorials delivered by the highest quality British academics  – 94% have postgraduate qualifications – to Indian school students. I teach tutorials myself on English Language and Literature, Spoken English for Business and Parent Tutorials (where we offer advice to parents on how to support their child’s learning, how to maximise exam success and how to plan for university admission, both at home and abroad).

Our main aim is maximising the exam success of our students, but we also want to emphasise positive mental health (a crucial focus in the ‘new normal’), social good and an international outlook, which is crucial for employability.

What’s your thought on including AI in education?

I am a great believer in blended delivery, which I define as the synthesis of traditional classroom based pedagogy and online learning. The raison d’etre of our company is intellectually stimulating interaction between an educationalist and a student and that, for me, is the cornerstone of our product. But developments such as AI tutors, capitalising on our much greater understanding of how the brain works, offer the future possibility of scaling up provision for very large populations, such as India.

AI can help to personalise the student’s learning journey and ever more realistic avatars will add to the fun of the learning experience. Augmented reality offers exciting possibilities, too. But for me, the area where AI will add the most is in the collection, analysis and utilisation of data.

What would be the fate of education in India in the post-COVID-19 time?

One of my friends in Mumbai has been in lockdown for over 100 days, so a period as long as this where children are unable to attend school is clearly going to impact on academic performance, exam success, personal confidence and mental health. Teachers are struggling to translate their teaching into online environments and many parents are struggling with home schooling, if that is even possible.

But I have great faith in the innovation and resilience of India. There is no country in the world that has a greater reverence for education and the eventual reopening of schools will go hand in hand with a new recognition of the contribution that EdTech can make to increasing educational attainment.

In what ways is online education different from traditional education?

There has been a recognition across the globe over the past 4 months that slightly different skill sets are required for online tutoring. Induction and training for tutors and students alike are crucial because it is necessary to adapt the classroom approach to the online environment. Whiteboards, chatrooms, breakout rooms etc are both familiar and new, so it is unrealistic to expect schoolteachers to make a quick and easy transition.

Interestingly, the UK government has just acknowledged the benefit of online tutorials by launching the £1bn National Tutoring Programme to introduce online tutorials into schools.

What is the scope of machine learning in India?

Enormous! Algorithms, data mining and analysis all offer the potential for huge scalability in learning. For a country where over 350 million people are of school age, this is crucial for social mobility and economic recovery post-COVID.

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