The primary purpose of Bots is often outlined as productivity. They exist to help us get tasks done, to assist us with making food orders, booking tickets, receiving news, finding music and various other other activities that we would have previously used search engines and swathes of apps to complete. Each of the major platforms, including Kik, Facebook Messenger, Line, Telegram, Slack and Skype have outlined more or less the same thing; it’s about improving user experiences on their programs and providing a clean and efficient point of contact between companies and customers. One ability they have, which is popular but often underrepresented in overall strategies is their ability to educate us and help us study.
Sure, a Bot can’t provide you with a college education (yet – cue ominous music and flashing images of a robot apocalypse) but they can help us fine tune our brains on a few key subjects. Like all categories in the Bot world, educational Bots are changing and improving with time as developers realise the popularity and potential success of the subject. If you already happen to be in college, or to just enjoy reading and immersing yourself in the academic world, there are also Bots to help you with it.
Probably the most prominent educational Bots are the language/translation based group and the quiz group. A range of language Bots from the very interactive Andy Learn English to straightforward, word-for-word translation Bots, if you’re learning a new language and trying to immerse yourself in it, or just pick up new words and phrases on a daily basis, it’s definitely something Bots can help you with. None of the Bots are at a level that can replace attending an actual language class or immersing yourself in your language of choice, but almost anyone apt at picking up languages will tell you that it’s all about using as many sources and as much stimulus as possible. If you’re trying to learn French then a good plan of action would be to listen to French music, watch the French news, attend classes, read literature, change your phone and internet browser to French, download language learning apps and now, interact with a Bot. The best way to learn a language is to start using it, and Bot technology is certainly one way that this could develop quite nicely. Imagine having the ability to engage in the language you’re trying to learn every day, or to ask questions about grammatical issues. Total game changer. Some Bots worth checking out in this category at the moment are: Andy Learn English (Facebook Messenger and Telegram), Lang Learn Bot (Facebook Messenger), Lingio Translate (Facebook Messenger and Telegram), Translator (Telegram), Pronunciation Bot (Telegram), Shiny Language Learner (Telegram), Translation Bot (Kik) and all of the translator Bot-like accounts available on Line.
The next great category in the educational category are the quizzing bots. Apps like Quizup are massively popular because they combine knowledge with fun. People intrinsically like learning new things, and even more than that they like to compete against others. Combine those two things and you’ve got a winning formular. The super enthralling element of Quizup, for example, is that you can choose a category to specialise in. That might simply be General Knowledge, or it might be something extremely specific like European Flags or Game of Thrones Quotes. Bots have the capacity to offer both experiences and for you to compete simply against a database, or against a broader range of people also using that Bot, where the Bot acts as the moderator, as we’ve already seen in several game based Bots like Zombie Invasion, for example. Much like with language learning Bots, there’s still a long way to go until quiz/trivia Bots are at their full potential but as it currently stads there are already some really fun options to help you sharpen up your fast thinking abilities. Top Quiz (Facebook Messenger), J-14 Celeb Quizzes (Kik), Trivia Blast (Facebook), Quizarium (Telegram), Whatson (Facebook Messenger), Game Monk (Slack), Country Quiz (Kik), Flag Quiz (Telegram), Logo Quiz Game (Telegram), Games Quiz (Telegram) and Quiz Master Bot (Telegram) are among the many, many quizzing Bots worth starting a conversation with.
Aside from language and quiz Bots, there is no other distinct category that sticks out from the pack, but there are some very interesting Bots that garner plenty of attention in their own right. Take Quartz (for iPhone) for example, you interact with this Bot in a kind of ongoing conversation where you discuss the news. You receive photos, messages, GIFs and links and you’re always on the front foot regarding when you want to receive and read more. Sessions last only a few minutes so are good for transit and on-the-go scenarios. Game Monk for Slack is also pretty awesome. With fun and fast 90 second games designed to “stir your creative juices a bit and bring your team closer” (Slack is team based, after all) you can play across categories, where you name as many things as you can in that category over 60 seconds. The first person to say each word/category term gets a point. There’s also a trivia option, where the first person to choose the correct answer (A, B, C or D) gets the point. Business owners might also be interested in Brin, which is an “artificially intelligent business adviser” who can “provide education and human-like support to millions of business owners.” For those looking for bursts of knowledge, Crynet (Telegram) offers educational videos up to 60 seconds long. Telegram’s Learning Bot works the other way around, encouraging us to teach it things, as an experiment to see how smart it can get. Get into your Bot store of choice and check out what’s available on your platform, you might just learn a thing or two.
Summary: There is huge potential in the way of educational Bots. At this stage the most prominent categories are quiz/trivia and language learning, but new Bots are constantly emerging with new approaches to providing information and helping us interact with it. The coming months are sure to show a whole lot of exciting new Bots to help us learn.