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Artificial Intelligence and Education

The development of artificial intelligence (AI) has had a huge influence on today’s society, as ongoing discussions evaluate the impacts of creating machines and computer systems that can react and perform like humans. These systems can process information in a more cognitive way, making them capable of more human-like functions like learning, decision-making, and visual perception.

Hollywood portrayals of hyper-intelligent robots taking over the planet might make artificial intelligence seem intimidating, but there is a lot that can be gained by through these advanced computer systems. Without the element of human error, intelligent machines are capable of unmatched precision and accuracy, and since they don’t require fundamental human needs like oxygen or food, they can perform tasks with far fewer limitations.

In fact, AI is already popping up everywhere in our daily lives – through social media recommendations, virtual assistants on our smartphones, and even self-driving cars. However, there is a 

distinct lack of artificial intelligence in the education industry, despite the many benefits it could provide both students and teachers.

Personal mentoring

An “intelligent tutor” can efficiently cater to the needs of individual learners, providing appropriate learning opportunities for students at any level. With AI, students can be in control of their own learning, ensuring effective and efficient delivery of course materials.

According to a research paper called Intelligence Unleashed, while one-on-one tutoring is regarded as the most effective method of both teaching and learning, this is “untenable” for all students. “Not only will there never be enough human tutors; it would also never be affordable,” the essay states. This problem could be resolved through the implementation of AI technology.

Automated basic processes

With intelligent machines that can perform tasks like grading, instructors will have significantly more time to spend on other activities – things like engaging with their students or investing in their own professional development. As more technological advancements are made, AI software can take over even more of the time-consuming responsibilities teachers have, freeing them up to provide a higher-quality education to students.

Effective and efficient data analysis

AI is capable of gathering and structuring information to provide easily deliverable content – benefitting both teachers and students. Similar to the way essay writing services structure information into a clear, understandable format, AI can process data in a way that could be used to help teachers create custom textbooks and course materials.

This informational analysis could also be applied to current curriculum materials, providing educators with an unbiased evaluation of course content and recommendations for how this content could be improved.

Communication and collaboration

Using intelligent machines, teachers can open up opportunities for global networking – making classrooms accessible for students around the world. This means students who may not be able to access physical classrooms could still participate in a virtual learning environment to benefit from a good education.

AI can also provide a collaborative approach to learning by using technology to separate students into appropriate groups and moderate collaborative activity. This method of learning has proven to be effective, as it gives students more opportunities to express and justify their own thoughts and opinions – and reflect on the explanations given by their peers. Collaborative learning is also a great way to prepare students for life after graduation when they will depend on these skills to further their careers.

Learning outside of the classroom

AI gives students more opportunities to access educational materials even when they’re not in school via personal portable devices. Learning on the go is a fun, effective way for students to not only gain knowledge, but also valuable experience – and they can benefit from receiving ongoing feedback and support through AI.

Intelligent machines can promote skill-building in areas like self-direction, self-monitoring, self-assessment and teamwork – helping students learn how to be responsible, ethical members of today’s society. These skills are difficult to teach in a classroom setting, but the use of AI has proven to be an effective way to address some of these challenges.

With all of the opportunities that artificial intelligence could provide in the classroom setting, educational institutions should be taking advantage of this rapidly growing technology to benefit individual learners around the world. Despite the concern that AI will take over the role of teachers completely, the introduction of this technology could give educators an opportunity to shift their focus – moving from the teaching of basic academic capabilities to instructing students in areas of social and emotional development.

Advancing technology will profoundly change the nature of high-value human skills and that is threatening, but we aren’t doomed,” stated Fortune magazine editor Geoff Colvin in a piece he wrote for the New York Times . “The skills of deep human interaction, the abilities to manage the exchanges that occur only between people, will only become more valuable.” 

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Comment by Anthony Barnes on February 3, 2017 at 3:55am

I think the concept of an ai tutor is ok, but the concept of an external device choosing what is the "right" lesson to learn is dangerous. Humans learn by being taught analogies that can imply proper actions in given situations. This choice must be made by a teacher that has a view on morality and a view on what is best for the person, not for what is best for the teacher. Our universities, for instance, have lost a broad view of morality and now seem to be teaching students only one side of the argument. This danger will be increased if ai devices are left to choose what lessons to teach.

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