How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Education?

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With schools facing increasing budget cuts while teachers are expected to do more and more with nights spent grading, lesson planning and filling out paper work it is no wonder that teachers are becoming burnt out and leaving the profession. So it begs the question how can technology help bridge the gaps between teachers’ current professions and the future?

Uses of AI Systems in Education

Teachers are working an average of fifty hours a week, which has increased by 3 percent over the past five years. While many teachers enjoy their work, nonetheless, the burnout rate is high. Some education professors have even suggested the science fiction-like notion that teachers can be replaced by strong AI, robots and computers.

AI and Automation

Yet, as the world becomes more technologically connected, this all spells good news for teachers. Just as the roles of some workers are starting to change because of the influence of technology, teachers too may see their roles similarly enhanced. And rather than replacing teachers, emerging technologies will help them be more efficient and ultimately do their jobs better.

Currently, 20 to 40 percent of current teacher eyes are spent on activities that could be automated. Once those activities are automated, teachers can reallocate that time to activities that lead to higher student outcomes and higher teacher satisfaction. While there may be fears that an intelligent system like AI technology could potentially replace teachers, let us not forget the fact that AI simply cannot replicate the many functions teachers perform on a daily basis: inspiring students, building positive school and class climates, resolving conflicts, creating connection and belonging, helping students learn different perspectives and mentoring and coaching students. These aspects, combined with AI research, can lead to an education that is impactful in its early stages and lasts a lifetime.

Ways Technology Can Aid Teachers

Weak AI offers a simulation of human intelligence that automates time-consuming tasks. After evaluating how teachers spend their time, McKinsey examined automation potential across each activity. Their conclusion found that the areas with the biggest potential for automation are preparation, administration, evaluation and feedback. On the other hand, activities like actual instruction, advising, coaching and engagement resist automation. To lessen this gap between teachers and student learning, technology can help teachers reallocate 20 to 30 percent of their time toward activities that support student learning.

Where Technology Can Help Save Time

Preparation is one of the biggest drains on a teacher’s time. Across the four countries are teachers spend an average of 11 hours a week outside the classroom in preparation activities. However, technology could potentially be used to reduce that time to just six hours by making the time spent prepping more effective, helping teachers craft better lesson plans and teaching approaches. For instance, some software providers offer mathematics packages that help teachers understand where their students’ learning levels currently are at, group students according to their learning needs, and suggest problem solving sets, materials and lesson plans for each group. In subjects besides math, such as English, collaboration platforms allow teachers to seek out relevant materials posted by other teachers or administrators which can only serve to enrich their own teaching.

when teachers directly engage with students, technology has the least potential to improve those interactions. As discussed before, teachers offer emotional intelligence that technology simply hasn’t developed yet.

Optimistically, controlled pilot studies have shown improvements in student learning from technology-rich, personalized blended learning. Yet, these improvements have not yet been realized on a large scale. The newest Program for International Student Assessment scores show that, globally, students who use e-readers, tablets, and laptops in the classroom perform worse than those who do not. What could explain such a discrepancy? Integrating effective software that connects to student-learning goals within the curriculum as well as training teachers on how to adapt to it, is difficult. This is why classroom technology will not save much direct instructional time. For instance, some teachers are using a technique called flipped learning, where they assign self-paced videos as homework, which give basic instruction. The students then practice what they learn in the classroom and the teacher, in return, provides support and fills gaps in understanding.

Uses of AI Systems in Education. According to EdTech, there are currently five ways that AI development is being used in education:

Automation Currently, the technology exists to allow teachers to automate specific tasks like timetable scheduling, grading or digital asset categorization. As a result of automation, teachers are able to increase the amount of time they spend actively engaging with students.

Integration Personalized learning algorithms for students can result from AI solutions integrating with other initiatives like neural networks and smart technology.

Acclimation 95 percent of teens can access to a smart phone and 45 percent are online “almost constantly.” By having AI in schools, students will acclimate to the pace of technological change.

Delineation Students’ curriculum and needs are constantly changing, which makes it difficult for educators to make sure the content they deliver remains actionable and relevant. When it comes to education, AI-driven analytics can assist in identifying important trends and pinpoint key markers to help teachers drive digital transformation by designing the most efficient classroom experience.

Identification Adaptive AI solutions can be use data analytics to identify critical areas for student and teacher performance. And when it is combined with robust security and access controls AI can assist with spotting and fixing potential problems in their formative stages.

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