What would happen if a student avatar joined a school class one day and tried to break the mold of everyday discussions or deliberately opposed the consensus reached and pushed by the classroom leader?

That is what is happening at some small schools in Japan where an avatar app is creating constructive conflict by playing the role of devil's advocate in discussions to deliver improved learning outcomes by challenging the status quo.

The Virtual Transfer Student app created in a collaborative effort among academics "can change the atmosphere of classrooms, where it is difficult to express diverse opinions and stimulate discussion," said Keita Kobayashi, an assistant professor of educational technology at the University of Fukui, the main developer of the software.