The Role of AI in Shaping Education in 2021

Considering the modern arch of history and how technology has evolved in the last 50 years, we have seen rapid growth in AI technologies that are increasingly becoming part of our daily routines/activities oftentimes without us even knowing it, or at least consciously knowing it at the time.

Current Applications of AI

Let’s take a look at marketing; for instance: AI will study the different leads/potential customers you may have, and it will design and customize the content that they see on any given business’s website. AI can even write little news stories or other bits of content on any given website that will keep users engaged.

Media Outlets like Bloomberg, The Associated Press, and the Washington post have used AI many times to generate shorts media bursts to go on their websites without involving a human being. For example, AI was used effectively during the last Olympics to produce small news stories about different sports that are all going on simultaneously, saving some of the news networks the expense of having a human reporter at every single live event.

We’ve talked about automated and customized content for users and businesses. Now, AI utilization varies from sector to sector; some industries rely more heavily on automation and the utilization of AI while others do not.

The Role of AI in Education

So with that in mind, let’s ask the question, “what role does AI play in education?” When it comes to the adoption of AI, education as an industry has been slow to adopt various AI tools that are out there today, and teachers also still play a vital role in educating young people. AI (at least for right now) does not have a collection of fancy robots that replace teachers and teach children.

Rather, AI has been used in Education as an assistant, who helps to free up time for teachers to teach instead of spending so much time grading and doing administrative tasks. So let’s take a look at some of the ways that AI is currently working to help students learn better while at the same time helping teachers too:

Automation of Tasks and Grading

In a recent survey, teachers reported that they spend 43% of their time actually teaching, which’s less than 50%. A lot of time spent on administration is because of exam preparation and then grading exams. Today, grading of multiple-choice exams is possible using current technology, and this technology is developing so fast that it will soon be able to grade more long answer/written responses.

Websites like ProProfs make it easy to prepare customized exams and quizzes that the platform grades and then submit to you the results saving you a ton of time!

With that time, teachers can spend more time teaching, including spending more time on one on one sessions. So contrary to what many may have been lead to believe, AI helps teachers be better teachers. It does not threaten to replace teachers with automated robots any time soon.

Access to Education 24/7

Ever been to a website only to be greeted by a little person (sometimes an animal) in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, just eagerly sitting there awaiting your every query? Well, that is what is known as a “chatbot.” And while these bots cannot answer every question you may have, they can certainly answer a lot of them!

Well, that technology is now being used in Education. What normally happens as a student is that you are doing readings or homework at home, and you have a question or two that just hasn’t been answered so far in your readings. You may circle it or underline it or create some way for you to remember to ask the teacher about your question when you are in class next. The good news is that students can get a lot of important questions answered by the chatbot, which leaves more time for the teacher to teach and have one-on-one sessions with students.

Smart Content and Personalization

Students learn in a variety of different ways, and AI can recognize those different ways and adapt. When we hear the term “Smart Content” we are referring to the way AI can take digital guides of textbooks, video lectures and lessons, and other digital content and turn it into a smart interface and smart content that can organize the material to be taught into bite-sized segments that a student will be able to process. The AI then looks to see how students respond to content and which parts of lectures they are having trouble learning.

Companies like Carnegie Learning take and compile data to create profiles of students that allow teachers to see their strengths and weaknesses and look at all students together and come up with more and better engaging content.

Also, companies like Netex allow teachers and professors to manage all of their digital content in one place, break the material down, make content recommendations, and allow for skills mapping and more targeted microlearning. Companies like Content Technologies and Carnegie have been studying how to deliver content, exams, and feedback all together as one and how to identify gaps in knowledge and create re-directions to other related content.

AI as an Assistant to Teachers. Not a Replacement

If we had to sum up everything here, it’s that teachers still occupy a prominent role in education, and AI should be seen as a tool that allows teachers to spend more time teaching and less time on grading exams, creating and curating content, and taking care of other related administrative tasks.

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