Croatian High School Students Create Chatbot for School Work Help

Lauren Simmonds

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As Novac/Visnja Gotal writes, with their software, learning is being made that bit easier. Croatian high school students Karlo Kolac and Dorian Mikulan from Cakovec have jointly designed a personalised chatbot for the repetition of school work and material. They’ve tried it out and said it worked.

After managing to master Newton’s laws with the help of their invention, they confidently filled out the application form for the Student DIGI Award 2021. The duo’s mentors, Nikola Friscic and Nina Mikolaj Varga, helped them out a lot.

”We work on various projects in robotics, our mentors support us and they’re great. They’re young and approachable,” Dorian and Carlo agree.

The boys, Croatian high school students attending the Josip Slavenski High School in Cakovec, are both vastly talented across a variety of fields so it isn’t much of a surprise that they turned their hand to the development of a chatbot. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making its way more and more slowly into the Croatian sphere of learning. The job of the boys will be to enter new data into the chatbot after the class is over and thus create an extensive database of all of the information which might need to be repeated.

”It works just like a chat does, like you’re corresponding with a friend. It’s an easier way to find the information you need and there’s no wasting time flipping through a book,” Dorian explained.

The point of their innovation, the two talented Croatian high school students say, is to get accurate and verified information in a short amount of time.

”It’s an individualised bot with which we systematically repeat the learned material. By asking questions we get the answers we entered ourselves at some point in our schooling,” they explained, making it sounds simple, and perhaps it is easy for them.

Dorian and Carlo share common interests, they attend computer science classes and optional robotics classes together but they don’t hang out often outside of school.

”Robots have always interested me when you see them on TV series, lately I’ve started to follow what NASA is doing, I was very interested in the way robots are made. The perfect robot? A robot that cooks and does everything else we all need to spend a lot of time on every day. We could make better use of that time,” said Dorian, adding that his mum certainly wouldn’t be offended at the idea of a robot cooking for him instead of her, as she’d love a bit more free time.

He says of himself that he is quite serious and shy until he gets to know a person, and later on he is more relaxed and approachable.

His colleague Karlo Kolac is a third grade student and tere’s no special desire as far as the function of a future robot is concerned for him.

”My robot shouldn’t cook, I like to do that myself. These are the only moments when I have peace,” he said, adding that when it comes to certain subjects such as law, he can’t imagine studying for that.

”Just the very idea that I’d have to memorise entire books… I’m not feeling well now,” he said, adding that he can admit that he might be just a little lazy at times.

When the professors told the pair about the Student DIGI Award, they quickly remembered the chatbot idea and got to work.

”We used the free programme Microsoft Azur, we used it to develop a database. In fact, the database already existed, but we adapted it to be useful to us. Ideally, each student should have a personalised chatbot that would be supplemented with new information after a class is over. It would work as a great aid to them. Students could share data with each other. If everyone added something, it would be a serious knowledge base,” stated the Croatian high school students while wondering what direction to take their work in.

The next important step is to teach the robot to speak as well as recognise the language, store it in its memory, and give a voice response to a voice query.

”In this way, the chatbot would also help people with special needs. A visually impaired person could ask the chatbot something and it would answer it. It’s a programme that uses artificial intelligence and a database to help people out with learning,” the Croatian high school pupils explained.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.


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