Artificial Intelligence is closer than you think.
Lots of us use (or at least heard about) smart appliances, chatbots, voice assistants, spelling checkers and so on. More advanced technologies include AI-powered autopilot or robotics. It is widely used in our houses and manufacturing, but its capabilities in education are not fully discovered yet. Let’s have a look at what AI technologies can offer to educators and what hidden dangers of implementing AI into education system are.
Artificial intelligence makes teacher’s dreams come true - more free time, automation of routine tasks, educational entertainment, personalized approach. Is it true?
1. Teaching Assistant
Modern teachers have really heavy workload and to cope with it they need to put in efforts. Preparing plans and searching for new materials take a lot of time. What can save an overworked teacher from exhaustion is artificial intelligence. AI-powered teaching assistants are able to provide time-saving solutions - students get information about required file formatting or teacher’s schedule with the very schedule prepared by AI using online planning tools.
A number of studies proves that a person cannot stay concentrated for more than 15 minutes. Other experiments show that speech speed of a teacher has a great impact on information processing - being both too slow and too fast makes new material “indigestible”. But mobile apps with speech recognition feature will send lecturers instant messages with tips and remarks.
2. Fair Grading System
Let’s face the truth, staying impartial is one of the hardest things in the teaching profession. If you have a favorite student, it disturbs your work with a class and even might trigger conflicts with the rest of students.
Despite the fact that the ultimate goal of AI scientists is to create an emotional human-like technology, on the current stage of development it doesn’t have such a feature; which plays for teacher’s benefit - AI is a 100% impartial and unbiased tool for giving grades. It saves time and nerves of educators decreasing the workload and giving them more time for self-development.
Such boring tasks as making tests can also be automated. Artificial intelligence will provide teachers with students progress reports and relevant plans for revising the most difficult materials.
3. Interesting Studying Process
Every modern teacher strives to make his/her class interesting, however not all education systems are aimed at being engaging - some still focus on stuffing students’ brains with unnecessary facts and figures that they can easily find in Google. Children see school as a place of torturing.
But AI breaks stereotypes. Technology takes into account the data on how human brain works and applies it to designing a curriculum. Since AI stores students progress, it can analyze the information to define the most efficient methods of conducting a class. The only thing teacher will have to do is to experiment with different approaches.
The era of common books is falling behind, and customization is gaining momentum. Personalization is one of the core features provided by AI technologies that will make education more efficient. This is a great chance for low-performing classes to concentrate more on their weak points and for advanced to delve deeper into details.
In future, the level of personalization might rocket to a stage when AI becomes a conflict-free fully-featured educator that meets particular needs of every student.
Despite enormous capabilities AI has, it puts at risks some important educational issues. What are these?
That’s probably the problem that disturbs educators the most. If AI is so good at education, there might be no need for hiring humans. True, but the current stage of AI development does not constitute any threat to workplaces. Both researchers and AI philosophers agree on the golden middle - AI should remain a tool helping teachers to make studying more productive, not a substitution.
The cost of software development depends on the popularity of programming language and number of specialists, and AI developers remain among the rare and expensive ones. What’s more, deploying, maintenance and further machine learning will demand more investments and only few education establishments can afford it now.
3. Hard to Control
A decade ago applications were much easier to check and control by only a few tests, but with the advent of more advanced digital technologies dealing with huge amounts of data, we have to trust machines. Self-studying software does provide us with solutions like lesson plan and curriculum but can we be sure about correctness? And should we take the suggestion for granted?
4. Technology Addiction
Everything in the world has two sides, and AI is not an exception. Being so convenient it may cause addiction and provoke laziness. It goes without saying that you can find the necessary facts and tips in search engines, but our brain also needs training. Memorizing and storing information are among the essential brain functions, and we cannot let it atrophy.
All the things considered, artificial intelligence is an ultimate dream of humanity has already come true. Gradually it is getting in all spheres of our lives including education. Despite AI capabilities are rather limited today in comparison with what it will be able to do in the future, they still constitute full proof of the need to further develop and integrate it in studying process. As well as the need to do it wisely and cautiously.
Image by Andrew Neel https://unsplash.com/@andrewtneel