AI and Education: Learning reinvented

Breeze - Education Uncontained

AI has long since served as the most fascinating realm of computer science and has been imagined, written about and debated in equal measure before even the more humble of the first PCs entered our homes. Yet whilst many consider AI to still be a space age away, where a future of robots are envisaged to reflect those seen in Ex-Machina and A.I., as well as written about in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy AI is, in actuality, already in action: within homes, within workplaces and within many realms of education.

So here we take a look at just what AI is already delivering within our world, as well as looking to the future of education and how learning will be even further reinvented in the decades to come.

Demystifying what AI is today, as opposed to what it may become tomorrow

The many subsections of AI are generally all lumped together and, for many, represent the fascinating idea that in the future, robots could be capable of being our mirror image. Yet it’s vital to differentiate between Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

The defining difference between the two comes down to this: the former is the science of much of the AI in action within classrooms and learning spaces around the world today, whilst the latter is very much still the stuff of science fiction.

Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) can be thought of the go-to guy for very specific problem solving, whilst Artificial General Intelligence (ANI) is a field that is still in progress as we move toward a robot that will accomplish any intellectual task that we can.

Sure, ANI may not be as glamourous as an android who completely reflects every human emotion, action and expression, but it is a whole lot more practical in today’s world, and it’s already achieving incredible things.

AI and education today

AI has been around for quite a while, yet students barely notice it

Technology such as Google already intelligently adapts to learners’ searches based upon location; software such as Siri learns about those using her – from names to voice patterns; and AI driven programs are feeding back to students upon the ways in which they can progress.

All of this will only become ever more advanced within education – evolving to suit the learner’s style, their academic level, their course goals and current learning weaknesses.

Smart data is already beavering away upon the uni student’s experience

Students within certain universities are experiencing much from AI: from being led to the best course choices, to tailored student support and even onto training delivered by AI that helps the student move from college to uni.

AI Educators are already in place

AI software is already in common usage within many countries of the world. Such systems are busy helping students learn through what is effectively gaming, with the software then adapting the forms of games that are shown, adapting to the topics students struggle with by focusing upon certain topics and repeating content that learners aren’t grasping.

This form of software is helping overcome one core classroom issue that is universal in every country where classes aren’t split by academic ability: they are allowing the advanced to move ahead, whilst granting the help and time needed for students who may be struggling.

And it’s not only just the students who are benefitting from AI

If you were to ask the average educator what they hate most about their job, the chances are that somewhere within their answer would be the task of grading. Luckily for the teachers of technology harnessing institutions, it seems that AI may well have at least a partial answer.

Today teachers can currently automate grading for both multiple choice, as well as fill-in-the-blank style testing, with researchers and developers currently working upon the grading of fully written answers. What’s more with essay grading in the not so distant future it seems that some educators are promised much more time teaching and interacting with students. The question is when it arrives, will the AGI Teacher Robot have already been given the job?

Let’s find out by looking toward the future..

AI and education of the future

Big data will revolutionise what it means to be an empathetic educator

Big data is on the verge of changing many industries – from banking to insurance, yet it could be within the educational realm that we see the most significant shifts.

Key to this will be the churning of vast amounts of data, that is then intelligently analysed and summarised; this could identify the ways in which mental health impacts students’ lives and their achievements; it could explain why some students succeed and others fail; and it could provide solid solutions to a whole load of complex behaviour – even helping educators overcome problematic and disruptive learners.

AI will make a powerful partner for institution software

Educator management software is already used within every level of education, yet these systems in the future will deliver far more advanced features – such as course planning software that goes on to become a platform where instant feedback is given from student to lecturer. This could identify which parts of a lecture are poorly understood and where wrong answers are given, helping the lecturer to address these issues immediately. This could lead to future courses that are always improving and where live, in-lecture aids are intelligently served up to those who need them, or materials that are presented in an individualised way based upon how a specific student learns.

The ultimate question: Will Miss Adams have been replaced by Mr Android?

The roles of both AI and the average teacher in the future remain uncertain – what is certain is that there will be a role for both, but exactly how they work with one another lies within the ways in which technology advances.

We also know that AI tutors are and will become only ever more sophisticated, eventually leading, if AGI delivers all that it promises to, to Android teachers that can interact with students on a human like level – just how Mr Android would cope with a class of unruly teenagers is anyone’s guess, however.

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