How Can AI Be Used in Schools?
We take a look at how AI is being used for educational purposes and where it may be heading in the coming years.
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It's perhaps fair to suggest that much of the discussion to date around artificial intelligence and education has revolved around the impact AI will have on jobs, and the changes in skills required to work effectively with and alongside the new technology. It's been much less common to explore how AI might impact the act of education itself, so a recently published report from the innovation group, NESTA, makes timely reading.
The report first looks at the way AI is being used in workplaces today, before then exploring possible changes in the future. NESTA identified three main uses of AI in education today:
- Learner-facing AI, which consists of tools that help to curate learning materials, diagnose strengths, and provide automated feedback. It's important to point out that few of the tools on the market today are utilizing advanced AI in any way, shape or form, with any more sophisticated use cases confined to the future.
- Teacher-facing AI, which consist of tools designed to help teachers reduce their workload, gain insights about students and generally innovate in the classroom. Many of these tools aim to automate mundane, yet crucial tasks, such as assessment and administration, thus freeing up time for the teacher to spend on more important tasks.
- Systems-facing AI, which aims to help those managing schools, or indeed an education system as a whole, better manage their resources. The authors believe this is by far the least populated category in terms of innovation, but they could nonetheless be hugely valuable in supporting the work of education.
"Certainly, AIEd can accelerate and amplify characteristics of our education system," NESTA said. "However, some argue that it may also bring opportunities for a more radical restructuring of education provision — bringing on a Fourth Education Revolution."
NESTA believes that there are several key challenges that AI is well positioned to tackle. Foremost among these is the tremendous workload teachers suffer under, which is harming the recruitment, retention, and well-being of staff. They also believe that AI can help to broaden the means of assessing students, and therefore empower the education system to better reflect the growing complexity of the working world.
For this to happen, however, a number of changes need to be made to help the AIEd sector to grow and for the education sector to integrate these new technologies. NESTA concluded with a number of recommendations for both sectors:
- Support growth in AIEd by providing upstream public funding for R&D in the sector, with priority given to teacher-facing and system-facing tools.
- Develop better AI tools by providing test-bed sites within the education system to allow companies to test their wares in real settings.
- Develop robust governance both of the data that inevitably underpins modern AI, and the way AI is used in the education system.
- Develop a learning system so that the education sector is better equipped to learn from each experience, with a particular emphasis given to spreading best practice throughout the system.
"Given AI's ability to accelerate, exaggerate, and amplify, we must be careful that we do not just use AIEd to reaffirm the priorities of our schools today," the authors conclude. " Instead, AIEd can serve as a platform that enables us to re-imagine the design of our education system so that it is fit for the future."
Published at DZone with permission of Adi Gaskell, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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