Hira Laghari   November 14, 2018

Blackboards and Androids: Is AI the Future of Education?

It is a universally known fact that technology is developing at a breathtaking pace. Education has to adapt to technology to enhance the overall learning experience for students while continuing to tackle the regular workload of teachers.

AI has been a topic of research and investment since the 1980s, and only in recent years have we begun to witness the application of AI in industry. Implementing AI in the field of education is the next logical step as teaching methods have been subject to scrutiny and subsequent evolvement over the years since education has been formally instituted. In 2016, Pearson, one of the world’s largest education publishing and assessment organization, issued a pamphlet titled ‘Intelligence Unleashed: an Argument for AI in Education’ which outlines the future of education that relies on AI-driven learning systems. This report helped to put AI into the educational domain’s spotlight.

Automatic Grading

On average, a teacher’s job involves the preparation of teaching materials, grading papers, reviewing assignments, and teaching in class. These tasks are repeated on an almost daily basis and can tend to stack up. If AI could be implemented to assist teachers with grading, the quality of teaching can drastically improve as teachers can assign more time to the preparation of their materials as well as refine their teaching methods. It would be an exceptionally useful tool as it will help speed up one of the most tedious tasks that teachers have to deal with. AI can grade any type of standardized assessment. This will result in greater accuracy and consistency in the assessment of work and will also help eliminate any bias, intentional or unintentional, on the teacher’s side.

Virtual-TA in Support of TAs and Teachers

Online education has become more widespread and popular in recent years, with the process improving over time as more and more students enroll in online programs. A major issue that professors face with teaching classes is online is answering the hundreds of questions they are faced with after each session. Even with the help of TAs, to answer every one of the questions with satisfying responses can become a complicated matter. This is where a virtual TA can be introduced. A virtual TA picks up the questions and responds to them just like any other TA. This is, of course, to break the traditional model of one-size-fits-all teaching, and works more with individual learning assistance. It turns out that this is very much needed in the 21st Century for preparing students to join or rejoin the competitive global market.

Supporting Students

As students tend to have different learning styles and paces, it would probably be helpful to have an AI program or device that could keep track of a student’s learning progress and school history. In addition, it would provide an ongoing analysis of a student’s strengths and weaknesses, while offering accurate feedback for improvements. It’s an efficient and accurate way for students to know how they can improve. Students will also appreciate the application of such sophisticated technology in their daily lives at school, creating a healthier learning pattern through the physical environment.

AI in education is an excellent way to enhance the learning and teaching efficiency of educational institutions that are slow to change; a change which is needed once you gauge student performance in the workforce after studies are over, frequently the investment of money and time does not match the outcome. With the assistance of AI, we could bridge this gap in a very short period, with a cost-effective ratio of time, money, effort, and positive results.

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