AI in Education
Meet MathGPT: a Chatbot Tutor Built Specific to a Math Textbook
- By Kristal Kuykendall
Micro-tutoring platform PhotoStudy has unveiled a new chatbot built on OpenAI’s ChatGPT APIs that can teach a complete elementary algebra textbook with “extremely high accuracy,” the company said.
PhotoStudy, an on-demand 1:1 tutoring solution developed by Hung Tran in 2015, said it can now transform any math textbook by any publisher into a “MathGPT” chatbot that works similarly to the groundbreaking ChatGPT tool making headlines in recent weeks.
“Textbook publishers and teachers can now transform their textbooks and teaching with a ChatGPT-like assistant that can teach all the material in a textbook, assess student progress, provide personalized help in weaker areas, generate quizzes with support for text, images, audio, and ultimately a student customized avatar for video interaction,” PhotoStudy said in its news release.
“We want everybody in the world to have access to a personalized math tutor. We also want to support teachers and schools with the content they are already teaching, yet transform textbook publishing: textbooks are not inexpensive,” said Tran.
The use of ChatGPT technology as a personalized math tutor specific to a student’s textbook could help address pandemic learning loss, he said.
PhotoStudy build MathGPT using the OpenStax online Elementary Algebra textbook that comes with over 10 chapters, 60 sections, and hundreds of learning outcomes. Some sample questions the MathGPT tool can answer:
- “I don’t know how to solve a linear equation…”
- “I have no idea what’s going on in class but we are doing Chapter 2. Can we start at the top?”
- “Can you help me understand how to solve this mixture of coins problem?”
- “I need to practice for my midterm tomorrow, through Chapter 6. Help.”
MathGPT can respond using text, audio, images, and (coming soon) an interactive video avatar, PhotoStudy said. MathGPT will be available both as a web app and as a mobile app.
The company plans to introduce MathGPT as a web app and a mobile app with “one or two of the most popular math textbooks” for fall 2023, working with the publishers. Publishers interested in learning more can contact the company at mathgpt.photostudy.co.
The lead data scientist behind the new MathGPT solution said the development required some altering of the formats available for questions and responses — and guardrails to prevent cheating.
"We know that ChatGPT-like experiences are challenged when it comes to math," said Raghav Rastogi, principal data scientist and AI lead for PhotoStudy. "Figuring out how to build a complete Elementary Algebra textbook chatbot took multiple revisions and training techniques, and now we have a complete textbook that is teachable. Additionally, we set a goal of making it very hard to just cheat with this, like some people do essay writing. We made sure that you cannot use our solution for just answers."
PhotoStudy, whose live, 1:1 on-demand short tutoring service is used by over 200 middle and high schools and colleges in several STEM subjects, said it used insights gained from its tutoring experience and “proprietary techniques for training Generative AI models” to start building MathGPT using GPT-3 APIs in 2021. PhotoStudy is owned by Got It! Inc. and based in Palo Alto, California.
“Rather than develop a general purpose AI tutor, the team chose to focus on the ‘gateway’ subject of elementary algebra in middle school, on a textbook by textbook basis,” the company said.
Learn more at PhotoStudy.co and mathgpt.photostudy.co.
Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can
be reached at [email protected].