It’s 2020 and yes we’re long past the days back when we used to line up inside the vicinity of the school library to get to photocopy a couple of Encyclopedia pages, to use as a reference for our school projects.
With this generation having grown up with the privilege of having access to technology at their fingertips, the arena of education has massively revolutionized and overturned in this digitally driven world. Don't have an Encyclopedia? All you need is an Internet connection! Don't have a chalkboard? Interactive whiteboards are in! In the times of the COVID19 crisis, quarantined to your home and not able to physically attend classes? Enters online classes and tutorials!
(Speaking of Quarantine, you can also spare a glance at our blog on 10 Productive Things To Do In Quarantine)
One such technology that has slowly paved its way inside the world of education is Artificial Intelligence. Who said this technology still belongs merely in the sphere of science fiction? Artificial intelligence is all set to sink its paws into any sector dealing with large portions of data, so why should Education get left out? While the Academic sector is still assumed to be a largely human sector, more human than most, yet that doesn’t really reduce the involvement of AI in this sphere. There are still a multitude of ways that teachers and educational staff can gain from employing this technology.
Slowly yet consistently seeping into this sphere AI has slowly begun making its place in the academic sphere, making it more accessible and personalized. The technology has overturned the world of learning as educational materials become more accessible to all with the use of smart devices and computers while also automating all complicated administrative tasks, allowing faculties to invest more time in focusing on their students.
Although it's too early to expect our fantasies of getting to see humanoid robots serving the role of teachers anytime soon, there are a whole plethora of projects being introduced or worked on which are employing Artificial Intelligence for aiding the educational faculty as well as the students to get the most out of the educational experience. Below are a handful of applications of AI which are helping in shaping and defining the educational experience of the present and the future.
Artificial Intelligence is being employed for personalizing learning for each student. With the employment of the hyper-personalization concept which is enabled through machine learning, the AI technology is incorporated to design a customized learning profile for each individual student and to tailor-make their training materials, taking into consideration the mode of learning preferred by the student, the student's ability and experience on an individual basis.
(Now that I mentioned Machine Learning, you might also like to take a look at our blog on Learn Everything About Machine Learning Chatbot(s))
Teachers can break down their lessons into smaller study guides, smart notes or flashcards in order to help the student in comprehending. With AI assisting in generating digital content, learning is proposed to become more digital and less reliant on paperbacks and hard copies.
Various AI-powered apps and systems help the students in accessing instant and customized responses as well as in getting their doubts cleared from their teachers. AI is also playing a role in augmenting tutoring and designing personal conversational, education assistants who can offer them aid in education or assignment tasks. For instance smart tutoring systems such as Carnegie Learning offers instant feedback and works directly with students. These education assistants are also attempting to improve their feature of adaptive learning so that all the students are allowed to learn at their own pace and at their own suitable time.
Yet another AI component being fruitfully employed by educators in learning is voice assistants. These include Amazon’s Alexa, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, etc. These voice assistants allow the students to converse with educational materials without the involvement of the teacher. They can be employed in home and non-educational environments for facilitating interaction with educational material or to access any extra learning assistance.
Traditional methods of learning are slowly being discarded in the case of higher education environments, with various universities and colleges offering students voice assistants rather than the traditionally printed student handbooks or complicated websites for assistance with their campus-related informational needs. For instance, as per a podcast by Cognilytica the Arizona State University is offering various incoming college freshmen of the institution an Amazon Alexa as an attempt to provide them much more regular and concise information regarding their campus needs.
The aim behind these voice assistants is to supply answers for all common questions regarding campus needs as well as for it to be customized for the particular schedule and courses of each student. This helps in reducing the requirement for internal support as well as cuts down the expense of printing college handbooks which are only temporarily used.
The employment of these voice assistant systems breaks the monotony and fetches an exciting prospect for the students. The employment of this technology is expected to escalate in the coming years.
Teachers don't just battle the work of education-oriented duties but are also handed the responsibility of handling the classroom environment and dealing with a variety of organizational tasks. They are handed a variety of non-teaching duties which include evaluation of essays, exam papers grading, dealing with the necessary paperwork, handling HR and personnel-related issues, arranging and managing classroom materials, handling the duties relating to booking and managing of field trips, interacting and responding with parents, aiding with interaction and issues relating to the second language, keeping track of sick or absentees, as well as providing a learning environment.
Since half the time of the educators is invested in non-educational activities, AI systems have been a crucial aid at dealing with back-office and task-related duties such as grading tasks as well as facilitating personalized responses for students. Alongside they can also deal with the routine and monotonous paperwork, matters related to logistics as well as personnel issues.
These AI systems can also arrange personal interactions with guardians and parents, facilitate feedback relating to routine issues as well as resource access thus offering more time to teachers to invest in students.
Alongside educators, the administrations have also been enjoying the AI benefits by employing intelligent assistants to aid in various complicated admin tasks such as budgeting, arranging student applications and enrollments, managing courses, HR-related topics, expenses as well as facilities.
The AI-powered systems add to the efficiency of educational institutes, reducing their operating costs and offer, and facilities management. Using intelligent AI-powered systems can greatly improve the efficiency of many educational institutions, lower their operating costs, give them greater visibility into income and expenses, and improve the overall responsiveness of the educational institutions.
In the case of higher education, AI-powered systems are being used to reduce human bias during the process of admission and enhance the credibility of the process since these systems use given specific criteria to select applications in admissions. Hence these systems have helped enhance oversight in the process of admissions.
Artificial intelligence tools and devices have been aiding in making global classrooms accessible to all irrespective of their language or disabilities. These programs are all-inclusive.
For instance Presentation Translator is a free PowerPoint plug-in that develops subtitles in real-time of what the teacher is saying. This also helps aid the sick absentees as well as students requiring a different pace or level when it comes to learning or even in case they wish to understand a particular subject that is unavailable in their own school. Barriers are being torn down like never before.
Not so far in the future, we can expect Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to occupy an integral place in all educational experiences. AI has started to prove its advantages and power in a wide range of educational areas, and it remains to be seen how the technology will empower and enhance overall learning outcomes for all.
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