How AI Has Changed the Landscape of Education

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How AI Has Changed the Landscape of Education

AI is rapidly changing the education sector with applications based on machine learning and NLP. We have to adapt ourselves accordingly.

· AI Zone ·
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Technology has revolutionized the education sector, especially in the current pandemic scenario, wherein remote communication and collaboration software emerged as the key enabler for learning. 

However, even before the coronavirus shifted the whole gamut of student-teacher interactions online, students were using artificial intelligence (AI) based tools like the Grammarly platform or the Hemingway Editor to improve their writing and eliminate plagiarized text. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Today, AI is finding its way into the core of the education system through apps and software aimed at personalized learning, impartial grading systems, and more. 

The Future of AI in Education

According to a report, the use of AI in U.S. education will grow by 47.7% between 2018 and 2022. The report has identified two key trends driving growth in the sector. One is the increased use of chatbots using AI-based technologies to store, process, and communicate data with students. The other is the growing emphasis on personalized learning paths. Teachers can gain actionable insights into student's performance to curate customized study plans for better learning outcomes. Overall, AI is expected to work in sync with the teachers to reduce their burden and improve efficiency through automation and data insights.

Below, we have identified some critical areas in which AI is rapidly changing the education landscape:

1. Personalized Learning

The regular classroom model has a student to teacher ratio of at least 10:1 in most cases. However, all students have different learning capacities, and teachers may not be aware of the problems faced by individual students at all times. Besides, teachers can't always assess their lectures' efficacy, and AI can provide actionable feedback to improve the areas where children are facing maximum issues. For example, if many students submit the wrong answer to an assignment on the Coursera platform, the system alerts the teacher. Also, it offers hints to future students, leading to the correct answer. Such feedback helps teachers customize the educational material and improve instruction for students struggling with certain concepts. At the same time, future students receive a targeted response when attempting such a question, enabling them to understand the concept better and apply it correctly.

Some firms are also working on systems that customize in-class assignments and examinations according to a student's progress. Another exciting application is the development of systems that will help students choose subjects for higher studies based on their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Reduced Administrative Hassles

Chatbots have transformed the customer support industry, handling a majority of straightforward or repetitive queries on their own. In schools, chatbots can be rolled out to handle general questions, as well as streamline the admissions process. For example, parents and students can have all their general queries answered quickly, in real-time, by chatbots, freeing up the admissions staff to focus on other areas. 

It is also possible to employ chatbots for personalized learning. With AI, chatbots can assess each pupil's knowledge and learning ability and modify the curriculum to suit their needs. A pioneering example is Jill Watson, a virtual teaching assistant employed by the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2016 to answer questions in a class chatroom. The continuation of virtual teaching assistants in the course is a testimony to this model's success that will open up several more opportunities in the future.

3. AI-Based Tools for Writing in the English Language

Research indicates that assisted writing feedback boosts writing outcomes. For example, a popular assisted writing tool, uses AI-based algorithms to automatically detect grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors in your writing. Grammarly also explains every suggestion or correction to help users improve and make informed corrections in their writing. Another popular tool is the Hemingway Editor that checks your style, helping you deliver your message clearly, without unnecessary prose.

While these are some common examples known to most of us, several other assisted writing tools can be used by teachers to give students instant feedback on their writing skills and identify the areas of concern for specialized focus.

4. Automated Grading Systems

Grading homework and tests for both lower and higher classes can be tedious, eating away a significant amount of time that teachers can use for interacting with students. Of course, at present, AI cannot wholly replace human grading, but it can impartially assess multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank kinds of tests. Even essay-grading software focussed on spelling, structure, and style is available but needs some more refinement before it can be used at a mass scale.  

5. Real-Time Homework Assessments for Instant Feedback

All students learn differently and often have doubts about one concept or the other, especially in subjects like Mathematics and Science. However, teachers only discover such gaps when evaluating the answer sheets filled by students during their annual exams – which is too late to do anything. An AI-based homework system can solve this challenge by providing actionable insights to teachers, enabling them to help individual students by focussing on their weak areas.

Final Thoughts

Artificial intelligence-based software is making the education system much more efficient and effective by introducing a higher degree of personalization for students and automating time-consuming tasks to increase focus on student-teacher interactions. It is an accepted fact that the chalk and talk approach doesn't work for everybody. While most of the average students are comfortable with this approach, the top 10% often get bored, while the weaker students struggle to keep up. With AI, schools would soon be able to introduce adaptive learning to allow students to learn at a pace best suited to them. Besides, the increasing use of AR-VR technologies with AI will create more immersive experiences, leading to better learning outcomes in the future.

ai in education, artificial intelligence, automated grading systems, chatbot, personalized learning

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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