The term artificial intelligence usually conjures up images of giant robots taking over the earth. But the reality is that artificial intelligence is working steadily to improve essential services and shows great promise especially in the field of education. Far from making teachers obsolete, it provides them with tools that allow them to focus on building relationships with students and teaching. But more importantly, AI has the potential to dramatically reform the way we think about education, K-12 and beyond.
Automate basic tasks
In graduate school, most teachers find a large proportion of their time is spent in the collection and grading of homework assignments and tests, time which would be better spent interacting with students. AI is now effectively grading objective tests, like multiple choice and fill-in-the-blanks, which allows teachers to focus on students and class activities. Automated grading of essays which are much more subjective in nature is something that is already happening as natural language processing is progressing rapidly. The used cases are many.
Assist with administrative tasks
Enrollment procedures can be speeded up with automation. Chatbots can answer admissions FAQs that students may have, and paperwork for admissions can be reduced significantly with interactive websites.
The biggest influence of AI is in its ability to change the way we think about education. From the current top-down, one-size fits all approach, AI is leading the way to more personalized education that is customized to students’ needs. Adaptive learning systems can repeat exercises or explain concepts as per the student’s requirements without disrupting the class schedule. Teachers will no longer need to ‘teach to the middle or average’ as each students can step up or repeat exercises.
Blended learning which combines traditional classroom learning with digital media systems, is already a reality in educational institutes. Students in blended learning and MOOCs will benefit from getting individualized learning paths, thanks to AI.
AI-based learning systems can currently help students learn the fundamentals of subjects like mathematics. Adaptive learning systems use data to provide teach and students with details on which areas are of concern.
Identify gaps in the course
This is specially significant in online-learning courses. Professors are often unaware of gaps in their course materials, which could lead to many students not grasping the concepts. In online courses, for example, AI can alert teachers when a large number of students get the same answer wrong in a test, which allows them to pinpoint what is missing from their lectures.
Track areas of improvement
Every year, universities see their students dropping out due to unforeseen reasons. AI tools can track and monitor a student’s progress and alert teachers if the student is likely to drop out due to academic, financial or social factors.
Individualized learning paths, on-going interaction and engagement with teachers and personalized attention have proven to boost students’ confidence and academic performance. With AI, teachers can relegate the labor-intensive parts of their work to automated systems that are designed for this, while concentrating on nurturing and guiding students to their reach their potential.