In the past 10 five years, the applications of artificial intelligence in business, finance, healthcare, manufacturing and data security have become so widespread that experts are talking about a new era of automation whose impact can equal that of the industrial revolution.
But these aren’t the only fields where AI has left its mark. In education, AI and machine learning are also making headlines. As the collaboration between teachers and machines is growing, ResearchAndMarkets.com estimates that the Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector will grow at a CAGR of 47.77% between 2018-2022. These growing numbers are often perceived with caution and concern, because many people imagine that the growing influence of AI leads to a lack of human connection and minimizes the role of the teacher in the classroom, but the role of AI isn’t to replace humans. The classroom of the future is unlikely to be led by a robot, just how human resources companies are unlikely to rely only on machines to hire personnel.
Based on current trends, AI is used in the classroom not to replace, but to empower educators, helping them spend less time on tasks that can be automated and allowing them to focus on what truly matters: connecting with students and making them feel inspired by what they learn.
Innovations such as deep learning, natural language processing and machine learning now allow teachers and educational institutions to redefine the learning experience and overcome many challenges.
No two students are alike. Everyone learns things at their own pace and the teaching methods that help one student perform might not work on another. Before the advent of AI, personalizing and adapting the learning experience and the student curriculum was simply unfeasible, but today, thanks to software that detects learning patterns, teachers can pinpoint the challenges that each student is facing and adapt their teaching style. By leveraging the power of big data, platforms like Third Space Learning or Netex Learning analyze student-teacher interactions, detect patterns of misunderstanding and preemptively inform teachers what topics can become problematic. Researchers at Stanford University and University of Washington are currently developing an AI-powered system that analyzes the efficiency of the current curriculum and detects flaws in its structure.
Normally, making changes to the curriculum would involve an extensive trial and error process that could very well take years and prevent entire classes from getting the best education possible, but thanks to AI, faults in the curriculum can be detected and solved ahead of time.
Teachers can spend up to 10 hours a week grading tests and checking homework, but one day this repetitive and time-consuming task could be left to AI systems and teachers could instead focus on students individually. At present, some schools have already implemented automated grading systems for multiple choice tests, but in the future, thanks to developments in natural language recognition, these systems could also be used to grade English papers.
Online tutoring platforms are already popular among students who need additional help outside the classroom. There are several types of services available on these platforms, such as the option of finding a personal tutor for video classes or someone to quickly help them with homework. For the future, experts estimate that artificial intelligence will propel online tutoring platforms in a new era and help students more than ever before.
Brainly, for instance, is a social media platform that students can join to ask and answer homework-related questions. How can you be sure it sticks to this purpose and how can you tell if the people answering the questions are competent when this requires a huge team of moderators? Well, not anymore, because now, thanks to AI, the platform can detect spam and filter out low quality questions and answers.
But the rise of AI-powered tutoring platforms doesn’t mean that teaching jobs will become obsolete. On the contrary, the very purpose of AI is to empower teachers by taking away time consuming admin tasks and offer them valuable insights on how to enhance the teaching process. From customized textbooks and predictive systems to next generation online tutoring, AI could help students learn at a faster rate. As is the case with every disruptive technology, there will be implementation challenges, such as lack of computing power and building trust at a large scale, but solutions do exist and educational institutions can work together with Governments and parents to work out the most balanced approach to modern education.