Sparki: An Interactive Learning Companion for AI Education

Randi Williams

S.P.A.R.K.I. (Students' Personal Assistant for Reinforcing Knowledge and Innovation) is a GPT-powered chatbot that scaffolds children's work on AI projects. Sparki provides programming assistance, gives students feedback on their ideas, and socially mediates creative thinking.

What can Sparki do?

Creative Companion: We position Sparki as a collaborator with students rather than a mentor or tutor. It promotes creative thinking by providing feedback on students’ work and showing interest in students’ ideas.

Coding Assistant: Sparki uses GPT3 to deliver personalized tutorials and discuss example programs in the Scratch programming language.

AI Design Feedback: It can discuss design goals, potential impacts, and the relevant stakeholders of AI projects – encouraging students’ critical thinking.

Design and Safety Considerations

We took several considerations into account to ensure the well-being of the intended children users of Sparki.

  1. Avoiding overreliance. Relies on a vetted knowledge base. Warns users when answers are totally generated (and potentially inaccurate).
  2. Avoiding misuse. The functionality of GPT is limited to short discourses about programming and AI.
  3. Inclusivity for kids. GPT is very sensitive to spelling and grammar mistakes. Use spell-check tools to clean up their text.
  4. Protecting privacy. Warns users not to input personal information that may be collected by GPT.

Sparki is still in beta, but the repository is open source (MIT License) and if you have an OpenAI API key you can test the live version of the tool.