AI In Education: Creating The next Generation of Children Super Learners

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There’s lots of buzz about 21st-century learning and how artificial intelligence or AI could disrupt the education sector. Technological innovations have streamlined many areas of our lives, from the way we work to how we look after our health. Is AI in Education the education sector next to receive an AI upgrade? Could AI transform the educational system and how children learn?

Artificial intelligence can improve students’ learning and optimize teachers’ performance through developments such as personalized learning experiences, tools to assist students with learning barriers, on-demand tutor support, and automated administrative tasks. 

AI technology is making us more efficient and effective in our everyday lives, including the ways we learn. Let’s explore AI in the education sector. 

Could AI Change Education?

AI absolutely has the potential to change education. It already is. 

Right now, schools worldwide are using AI to boost students’ learning and teachers’ performance. 

How AI Is Shaping Education Today

young boy on laptop demonstrating AI in education
Image credit by Ars Electronica via Flickr

Here’s a glance at how AI is shaking things up in classrooms. 

AI Helps Teachers With Their Admin

AI technology frees up much-needed hours for overworked teachers by assisting with some of their time-consuming administrative tasks, such as grading assessments and completing paperwork. 

In fact, management consulting company McKinsey & Company found that between 20 and 40% of teacher hours are taken up by tasks that could be automated by current technology. 

AI Meets The Needs Of Individual Students

With the help of AI software, tests are devised for individual students based on their needs. The software then provides personalized feedback on performance with guidelines for improvement. 

AI Helps Support Students With Barriers To Learning 

A young boy on a laptop next to his teacher
Image credit by Ars Electronica via Flickr

AI technology makes learning easier for students with unique needs; for example, apps featuring audio recordings of lesson content can assist students with hearing impairments. 

AI Makes Learning More Engaging 

Thanks to AI, gamification has slipped into learning activities, helping to catch and keep students’ attention. Play-based learning is especially valuable for teaching younger students who are easily distracted. 

AI Helps Teachers Prepare Better Learning Resources 

Busy teachers sometimes overlook potentially confusing sections of learning materials. AI tools can review the materials and help teachers identify errors and missing information. The tools can even suggest improvements, assisting teachers in creating more effective learning resources.

How AI Could Shape Education In The Future 

two men standing next to a robot
Image credit by IBM Research via Flickr

AI technologies are set to get smarter, more intuitive, and increasingly accurate as greater attention and funds are dedicated to their development. 

We’ll also see new technologies entering the classroom. And there will be a lot more AI around. A recent study in the journal Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence says AI’s application in education will soar in the coming years. 

AI will become increasingly helpful in the following areas: automating basic administrative tasks, analyzing students’ performance and providing solutions to make learning more effective, creating personalized learning experiences, and offering ways to support students with learning barriers. 

Virtual reality games and software will also become increasingly common in 21st-century classrooms. These technologies allow students to have interactive learning experiences that would otherwise be impractical or dangerous, like performing hazardous science experiments. 

Predictions that AI will either revolutionize or destroy our lives are both wrong, says a 2021 study in the journal London Review of Education. The study suggests a more realistic expectation is for AI to enrich learning and complement teachers’ work in the near- to medium-term future. And then to possibly have transformative power over the education sector further ahead. 

How AI Could Change How Children Learn

young girl using a laptop
Image credit by Fabrice Florin via Flickr

AI could make learning easier and more enjoyable for young students. It could also help end the one-size-fits-all approach to education. 

Future school kids could benefit from AI learning technologies in the following ways.

AI Creates Personalized Learning Experiences

One of the most attractive applications of AI in education is its potential to create learning experiences that meet individual children’s specific needs. 

AI can take a student’s learning style and pace, existing knowledge, background, interests, and goals into account to devise learning programs that are spot-on for the student’s needs and preferences. 

AI can also track and analyze individual students’ progress and then create customized opportunities for growth and development. 

AI Gives Tutor Support To Students Who Need Extra Guidance 

Students who’re struggling to grasp concepts in class can get one-on-one support from AI tutors in their time, at their pace. 

AI tutors can’t compete with humans, but they can allow students to practice skills, often using fun activities. 

A benefit of AI tutors is that they can be less intimidating than their human counterparts. 

Kids who’ve fallen behind in class might feel insecure about their ability to learn and worry that they’ll embarrass themselves during test situations. Learning with AI tutors can put children at ease, encouraging them to try instead of being inhibited by fear of failure. 

AI Makes Learning Available Worldwide 24/7

With AI, students can learn when it suits them best, from wherever they happen to be. 

The Drawbacks Of AI In Education 

aichildren04
Image credit by Ars Electronica via Flickr

AI can open up a new world of learning. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing.

A big concern is that AI could widen technological divides between people and countries. If not carefully managed, AI technologies could be accessible to only the wealthy, increasing inequalities and disadvantaging already vulnerable groups. 

Another worry focuses on privacy. Will student data be protected or shared with researchers? 

Something else to guard against is believing that AI technologies are failsafe. AI can and does make mistakes. 

To minimize the potential risks of AI in the education sector, we need to be critical of AI innovations. We need to ask questions about the technologies’ reliability, validity, privacy, and fairness toward people from all groups. And we need to protect human rights above everything else. 

Will AI Replace Teachers? 

office workers in an office looking at a monitor
Image credit by Teaching and Learning with Technology via Flickr

Whenever people discuss AI in the education sector, one question is sure to be debated: “Will AI replace teachers?”

At this point, it looks like AI technologies aren’t quite ready to take over the role of teacher. And if institutions that take a human-centered approach to AI have their way, robots will never replace teachers. 

AI can’t teach students social skills or train students in emotional intelligence. And these competencies are essential to success in both work and play. 

Learning exclusively through AI technology can also be isolating. As a 2021 study in the Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology points out, learning tends to be a social thing, and we crave real-world interactions with people. 

Although AI probably won’t snatch teachers’ jobs, it will change the way teachers work. Teachers who invite AI into their classrooms will need to study the technologies to figure out the best ways to use them to achieve learning goals. 

Conclusion

From personalized learning and task automation to educational virtual reality experiences and 24/7 tutor support, AI is already shaping how we learn – and it will become increasingly influential in the education sector in the coming years. 

No matter how promising advances in AI appear, we must be critical of all innovations and teach starry-eyed, gadget-loving future generations to stay watchful too. 

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