“Stretch”: A Specialized Chatbot for Educators

“Stretch” is the latest chatbot in development, tailored explicitly for K-12 educators. Born from the collaboration between the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and ASCD’s merged mega-organization, the chatbot project has tapped into the expertise of Google and Open AI, the minds behind ChatGPT.

Currently in its prototype stage and undergoing selective testing, Stretch distinguishes itself from other chatbots in a significant way: its knowledge base. Instead of sourcing data from the vast expanse of the internet, Stretch is designed to rely solely on materials approved by ISTE and ASCD. In time, it might also incorporate resources from other education and tech entities affiliated with ISTE.

Richard Culatta, ISTE’s CEO, emphasizes that this selective approach ensures Stretch doesn’t fall into the traps other chatbots like ChatGPT sometimes do—dispensing inaccurate or outdated information. For instance, a bot that once attempted to mimic President Barack Obama gave out skewed opinions, wrongly attributing his administration’s criticisms as his own beliefs about K-12 education.

Stretch comes with another advantage: it attributes its sources, providing users a level of transparency and trust. If ever posed with questions outside its expertise, it would openly admit its limitations, a stark contrast to most generalist chatbots.

Joseph South, ISTE’s Chief Innovation Officer, highlights Stretch’s primary ambition: offering utterly reliable information. As its development continues, the vision for Stretch includes assisting educators in research and professional growth. Culatta identifies Stretch as one of the pioneering “walled garden AI” tools, focusing on a precise, curated knowledge reservoir. He anticipates that this approach will shape the AI’s future, with more sectors adopting specialized tools where content is meticulously controlled.

Source: Klein, A. (2023, June 26). Meet “Stretch,” a New Chatbot Just for Schools. Education Week.