Benefits of AI in Education – Will It Enhance Human Efforts?

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 Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.”

– Ginni Rometty, current CEO of IBM 

Imagine a machine that dispenses candy when the user displays the requested image in front of the trained image model. It can be easily labeled as a real-life experiment of operant conditioning powered by Artificial Intelligence. NeuralCandy, an Android Things project, combines image classifier and sugar highs in one delicious blend. The application asks for a random image to be placed in front of the camera module and if it matches the request, the motor of the candy dispenser is then activated to release the reward. NeuralCandy is a very useful tool that can be used to enhance children’s ability of cognitive image processing. (If this doesn’t convince you, then there are always candies you can look forward to!). This is just one of the endless examples of how AI will be influencing the education sector of the world in the coming years.

As cited in our recent blog, Education Technology is a field of study that signifies the need for technological devices to help students acquire creative thinking skills. While EdTech can be counted as the skeleton of technologically advanced learning methods, AI yields the brains. With the help of AI, mankind can depend upon machines to complete the tasks that would normally require human intelligence. Trusting AI to assist educators does not only buy them more time to innovate but also enhance the cognitive and critical thinking abilities of the students. In this blog post, we will take a look at the different ways in which AI can help shape the education sector for a better future.

Related: The Future of Education – Do We Need Help?

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  • Handle Repetitive Tasks

We often hear this public outcry – “I don’t have time”. Every time we talk about giving time to ourselves or our hobbies, one thing or the other always blocks our way. Members of the education sector are no exception to this. Most of the time that teachers have left after their lectures, it goes into grading assignments, tests, and homework. This period of time, instead, could be used to interact with students, come up with new and creative methods of teaching and basically, think outside of the box. Let us look at the possibility of using AI operated grading machines that can evaluate the objective answers. This is something that is gradually being implemented in the field. According to this article by VentureBeat, some schools in China (of course) have incorporated paper-grading artificial intelligence into their classrooms. About 60,000 institutions are quietly testing a machine learning-powered system that can score students’ work automatically, and even offer suggestions where appropriate.

  • Individualized Education

India is number one in inhabiting the highest amount of youth population. The government tries to do its best to provide education to every child. It comes up with schemes that allow children to get free of cost primary education. However, due to the excessive amount of students allocated to one teacher, it becomes increasingly difficult to pay attention to every child and hence, the quality of education decreases. AI, our technological superhero, swoops in to save the day here as well. Up until now, all the students have had to fit into one concrete education system. The one tiny problem in that ideology is, well, the human mind. Every mind is different and possesses divergent levels of intelligence. One teacher can not possibly reach out to every level. While AI can surely provide a personalized education that helps each and every student.

  • Assistant To The Educator

Let us focus on the difference between Assistant Educator and Assistant To The Educator for a moment. The role of AI is often feared amongst the professors. They are afraid of AI taking over their place. What we want to clear up here is that AI may acquire human intelligence but that does not rule out the importance of actual human presence. What AI does is finish up minimal tasks and make teaching easier in general. Education still requires a human presence. According to The Hechinger Report, “Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, teams of education researchers and computer scientists are experimenting with how to build systems that can “see” into and “listen” in on classrooms and instantly analyze the quality of classroom instruction.

  • Room For Improvement

To err is human

– Alexander Pope

With the extensive amount of knowledge that is available in the universe, it wouldn’t be a surprise if humans made some errors in the crafting of syllabus/courses. Artificial Intelligence can point out the areas in which there might be an inconsistency. Additionally, as discussed earlier in this blog, the cognitive ability of every mind is different. Not every student can understand a particular concept in one particular way. Artificial Intelligence can help in analyzing the outcomes of each and every student and provide help to the ones that seem to be struggling.

Risks Involved

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According to Elon Musk, a lead entrepreneur and the founder of technologically advanced companies like SpaceX and Tesla.Inc, “The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast.” Other technological experts like Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking have also stated that AI could be dangerous. So it is fair of common people to take the concept of AI with a grain of salt. But the expected problems of AI, such as autonomous weapons, social manipulation – these are miles away from the education sector. If used properly and in moderation, AI could be extremely beneficial as we’ve discussed in this blog today.

Related: AR and VR – the Next BIG Thing in STEM?

In a Nutshell

Artificial Intelligence, as scary as it might seem, can be a huge help in the education sector. It can help with various areas of teaching: 1) Take care of basic tedious tasks like grading the tests/assignments 2) It can provide personalized education 3) It can prove to be a handy assistant to the educator 4) Procure accurate analysis of individualized student performances and help the ones who are struggling.

Feature image taken from rawpixel.com

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