It’s now quite apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic has globally accelerated the adoption of technology and even more so in the education industry where the digitalization has been rapid. Technology is transforming the fundamental ways of teaching and learning. AI is the disruptive technology that is democratizing access to education and infusing great experiences for all the stake holders ie tutors, students and institutions. But is there more to AI’s role in education than to simply automate a few laborious tasks?
In this blog, we will examine the role of AI in education and find out whether AI is a threat to tutors or if it will augment the current teaching capacity?
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
As a broad definition, AI is a term for machines that can sense their environment, think, learn and respond to their senses to get to their objectives. AI, by definition, is a branch of science making and studying machines intended to stimulate the process of human intelligence. The main objective of AI is to optimize routine procedures, improve their speed and efficiency.
Over Burdened Teachers!
Teaching profession is getting more complex by the day. Teachers are burdened with more complicated administrative and paperwork tasks. According to a recent Microsoft and McKinsey survey, teachers are working an average of over 50 hours a week. While there is further discouragement for the teaching profession with talk by some of the industry leaders that emerging technologies such as AI can replace teachers, the good news is that teachers are not going away any time soon. The report suggests that the demand for teachers will grow moderately in advanced economies and by as much as 100 percent in economies such as India.
AI - A Hero in Augmenting teaching
The real potential of AI coming to fruition will depend on how educators leverage the power of AI to augment teachers in their everyday work by ensuring that they are less consumed by the routine and repetitive tasks. The adoption of AI with the idea of augmentation can help solve the administrative problems, including curriculum adherence and also automate tasks such as formative assessments. This in turn will help teachers spend more meaningful time with their students and develop new learning opportunities.
Role of AI in Education
While in theory, the applicability of AI seems limitless, here are a few real world use cases of where is AI being used for education and delivering transformative outcomes.
Role of AI in Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) for Immersive Learning
While VR & AR are still nascent technologies and do have a few challenges to overcome before they get to be mainstream. Despite the challenges, these technologies are already being embraced by many educators, and the demand is expected to grow in the coming years.
In addition to students being able to gain immersive learning experiences, AR & VR in education can spark creativity and imagination to explore new avenues. These technologies can aid students when they find certain academic concepts difficult to understand in a theoretical form.
Some of the other benefits that we are already seeing today is in providing students with social and cultural experiences which probably would not be possible for all students to experience. For example, a VR trip to Peru or Congo basin, can help students gain exposure to cultures and regional nuances that are other than their own. In todays interconnected world, the ability to understand and look at people from different perspectives is an important skill.
Learning by Doing
When teaching, for few of the experiments to be conducted in real-world maybe dangerous or even very expensive. By simulating real-world environments, AR & VR can aid students in practical learning. This also applies for some of the professions where many hours of training is required to gain proficiency. For example surgeons or pilots. Using AR & VR students gain knowledge without having to worry about any operational limits. AR, VR and AI are distinct technologies, and AI helps create dynamic Unser interfaces and helps
Personalize each user’s experience. For example in AR, 3D representation of real world is constructed so that the digital objects can co-exist with real world objects. AI models are then used to build a map of the world and track motion within it. Realistic occlusion and inference of 3D objects in real-time is now possible, thanks to the incredibly powerful deep neural nets.
Concerns about application of AI in Education
AI is a fast developing technology and is outpacing policy and oversight. This in turn raises a many questions for educators and technology leaders to consider. Lets look at a few examples.
1.How can students privacy and data be protected?
Most of the existing off-the shelf AI tools have been built for commercial purposes and not specifically designed for educational environment. Which means, they have not been designed to support school system compliances nor with any student privacy laws. Without adequate data protection, the use of AI driven applications may put students at risk for future discrimination.
2.Will AI exacerbate the digital divide in society with biases and unequal impact?
AI is a technology that learns by applying algorithms to large data sets. Many a time the data itself has flaws with prevalence of gender, racial, religious and regional biases. AI algorithms that leverage these data sets or data from books, news articles and other forms of media can further perpetuate this bias. These biases could manifest in many forms, including how a platform teaches certain skills or grades answers etc and could even wrongfully label a student, simply because the algorithm is biased and does not recognize their behaviour.
While traditional education has many boundaries, such as AI can help erase the boundaries by making learning accessible to one and all. Additionally AI will make education more personalized and flexible. Today one doesn’t need to travel to a physical location to learn. Anyone can learn at any point in their lives and get a 24/7 support. Students will need to work alongside AI to be better prepared to face the unknown challenges in the workplace of the future.
It is evident that AI is already transforming education and is dramatically changing the way we learn and teach. These were just a few examples of how AI is shaping the industry. We believe the power and capabilities of AI in education are not fully explored. The best of AI is yet to come!
You can now leverage the power of AI to drive your next innovation. Clairvoyant is a global technology consulting and services company. We help organizations build innovative products and solutions using AI, ML, Big data, Analytics, and the Cloud.
Our deep knowledge of education industry, combined with expertise on multiple, enteprise-grade big data platforms helps support purpose-built solutions to meet our client’s business needs.
Our global team consists of experienced professionals, with backgrounds in design, software engineering, analytics, and data science. Each member of our team is highly energetic and committed to helping our clients achieve their goals.