Education

Can evidence-based chatbots prevent educator burnout?

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Burnout-In my conversations with educators, this is a word, but it is an unchanging theme. They feel more than ever this year by the ever-increasing workload and the pressures associated with the pandemic. Crushed.

A survey by RAND confirmed this trend. By 2021, one in four teachers said they might leave their jobs within a year, compared with one in six before the pandemic. But teachers are not the only ones feeling stressed. Another survey found that three-quarters of district governors are considering dropping out in the 2020/2021 school year.

How to reduce the burden on teachers and school leaders?

In response to burnout associated with the implementation of pandemic measures, RAND’s survey showed that regions “recruit more employees and deploy multiple communication mechanisms”. For most areas, as the pandemic has exacerbated school staff shortages, it is simply impossible to hire enough staff to support the thousands of families in the school. In this case, we must focus on innovative “communication mechanisms.”

Use behavioral intelligent chatbots to save employees time

In K-12 education, behavioral intelligent chatbots are becoming a key tool for improving how school districts support and communicate with families on a large scale. These new technologies combine the evidence base with automated messaging (usually via SMS) and personalized information to answer questions in real time.

In order to build their knowledge base, chatbots must first be associated with necessary data sources, such as the school’s information system. Then, because of machine learning, they will become smarter over time. As a result, chatbots can significantly improve the ability of the school team to handle the large amount of communication that must be carried out every day.

Schools can deploy a chat bot that can answer parents’ questions immediately or even with empathy, instead of having long-term overworked employees send messages to families and students. Any questions that the chatbot cannot answer will be reported to the appropriate staff.

When the Massena Central School District in New York launched a chatbot last year, they decided to name it Raider after their mascot. Introduce it to the community as the “Siri” of the school. When the pandemic forced them to switch to remote teaching, they began to use chatbots to send positive and positive messages and important messages. For example, they use Raider to ask their family members if they need support and let them know that school lunch and breakfast are free and can be picked up.

“When I asked my parents what they thought of Raider, they said that it was a bit weird to talk to the school on the chatbot at first, but they really like answering their questions 24/7,” said Kristin Colarusso-Martin, Community School director. “Soon, we have parents and other family members asking if they can join the chatbot. From the school district’s perspective, we recognize that the parent phone calls and emails that are usually handled by office workers can save time and cost.”

In the weeks after Raider was launched, Massena Central School District sent 13,105 text messages to parents and students. This saved 328 hours of staff time and tens of thousands of taxpayer funds that could have been used to hire more employees. Now that the school has returned to on-campus teaching, chat bots are promoting parent and student participation plans, one conversation at a time, allowing staff to focus on other support-focused tasks.


Look at the impact of Raider in numbers (Image source: AllHere)

A caring and helpful counselor when his family needs it most

Imagine if every student’s family had a personal adviser to guide them-someone who knew the answers to all common questions, spoke multiple languages ​​and answered questions immediately, even at night or on weekends. With the latest advancements in technology, behavioral intelligent chatbots can provide support for every family in a region.

Of course, the chatbot will not know all the answers. Many situations require deeper involvement that only staff can provide. But in most cases, chatbots can:

  • Improve student attendance by sending automatic messages to parents when children are absent from school.
  • Promote the family to complete important paperwork through timely and personalized reminders.
  • Help the family resolve issues related to the COVID-19 protocol and vaccine requirements.
  • Check mental health and highlight health resources.
  • Troubleshoot and answer common questions related to IT.
  • Provide timely support for families whose second language is English.
  • Help the family browse the new timetable and calendar updates.
  • Send surveys to capture parental emotions and collect community feedback.

Although these common tasks are absolutely necessary, they take up the precious time of school faculty and staff. Even if the chatbot only saves 60 minutes a week, otherwise these time will be used to reply to texts and leave voicemails. Now this whole hour can be used for the self-care of students or educators in need.


Warmly remind parents about pandemic safety precautions (picture source: AllHere)

Reduce the burden on teachers and school staff

Most educators will tell you that even before 2020, there is not enough time in a day to complete their work. Now, three-quarters of national committee-certified teachers report that they have worked longer hours since the pandemic began. This is a direct path to job burnout.

In order to retain educators, we must empower them to focus on what they do best. We need to be realistic about the tasks that take up their time and ultimately affect their desire to stay in this industry.

Advanced technology has changed the family’s expectations of where and how quickly communication takes place. Equipped with the right tools, school staff can meet these new expectations while freeing themselves from the constant overwhelming threat of workload.

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