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Thursday, November 1, 2018

AI and Education- Two Pieces of the Same Puzzle



Imagine, you’re dashing out of your living room tomorrow, running up your driveway, and sliding into your car. You’re late for office, you overslept. And you know your boss is sure to ream you in front of the entire staff if you don’t send this mail before you get there. You’re typing; your fingers are working as fast as they can. But you’re only human. You’re making mistakes, and you don’t have the time to rewrite the misspelled words. It’s not good; your boss will take one look at it, and you’ll be out of a job by lunch.

But that’s not going to happen, because while you're making mistakes, your mobile is correcting it as you type.

What is it?

Is it magic?

Is it a god sent blessing?


No. It’s your device’s inbuilt Artificial Intelligence which is so sophisticated that it can detect when you’re making a typing error and fix it on its own. And thanks to this AI, you can send the email and keep your job.

What about ecommerce websites like Amazon? Once you search for a particular item, it keeps bombarding you with suggestions of similar products for days after that. Even Google uses your search data to show you ads. All of it is possible because of AI. In the past decade, we have taken such giant leaps in the AI technology, that now we have highly advanced personal assistants like Siri and Alexa in our day-to-day lives. They are not only able to obey our audio commands, but learn things about us and our routines and do chores on their own. All of it to make our lives a little easier.

From companies combining AI with their analytics system to learn patterns of their sales to enterprises using AIs to assist their workers in the factories, the entire world is quickly becoming one with these AIs. They make our lives less stressful and reduce the potential of making a mistake by many folds.

Education is one of those realms which is greatly benefiting from modern-day AIs as well. As we see more and more advancements in the AI infrastructure, the education sector is finding more and more new ways to use these AIs and train, teach, and prepare better students. And today we will focus on some of the most prominent ways the education sector is benefiting from Artificial Intelligence.

So let’s dive in!

Reduces frivolous labor

A teacher’s life is not easy. From taking classes all day and dealing with hundreds of students, to taking attendance, preparing notes, schedules and grading and making papers late nights, she has to do it all. But because of AIs, these laborious tasks have been slashed significantly. New AIs are emerging which can grade papers on their own, without the slightest intervention being required from the teachers. AIs capable of assessing a multiple choice question test already exist and are used by many colleges. But industry leaders believe that soon, even better AIs will emerge which will be able to grade theory papers and essays as well.

AI is also set to reduce the amount of work that is required to be done in the administration wing of colleges and schools. Many colleges have already automated the admission process, which takes care of student paperwork on its own. Furthermore, using biometric systems combined with AI, some institutions are able to not only store the attendance of students and teachers but find patterns in their leaves if there are any.

Virtual Facilitators

From a student’s point of view, AIs can be of great help in increasing their learning efficiency. The problem with the classroom culture is that a teacher is available to her students only for a couple of minutes. In those minutes she has to take attendance, teach all she had planned to teach that day all the while dealing with chaotic renegade elements among the students. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for students to have a back and forth of ideas with her about that day’s lesson. So the confusions that they have, remain and they have to try and catch the teacher in hallways with their doubts or reach out to her on her email to make an appointment. But there is no way to guarantee that she’ll even reply.

This leaves gaping holes in a student's knowledge about a particular topic.

As a remedy to this issue, intelligent chatbots are now surfacing. The most popular among them these days is Georgia Tech's first AI teaching Assistant. Say hello to Jill Watson. Professor Ashok Goel and his team of Georgia Tech’s grad students developed Jill to respond to a large number of queries which are posted by the online students on a forum. Jill was developed using IBM Watson infrastructure which is also popular because of its victory over two Jeopardy champions.

The most interesting thing of the entire case, however, was that that none of the students who were interacting with Jill even knew that she was an AI. Such incredibly advanced computer programs can change the face of the education spectrum forever.

Smart Content

In the past few years, computers have taken another step forward and have started to create digital content on their own which is error free, both knowledge and grammar wise. It is called smart content, and it is growing more popular with each new advancement in the AI domain. Solutions like Cram101 are capable of turning a book’s worth of data into small packets of information. This platform takes a book and then breaks it down into notes, chapter summaries, practice tests, and flashcards. Many students find it rather tedious to sift through thousand pages long books; it eats up a lot of there time, especially during exam times. So digital solutions such as Cram101 come in very handy because they break down these bulky books into a more condensed form so that students can handle it.


Teachers nowadays are also able to create digital contents using platforms like Nexttex Learning. It allows users to create digital curriculums, audio and video content for students to better help them understand complicated topics.

Personalization

Not every student is the same. Some are brighter than others. Some have better-grasping capabilities, and some learn slowly. Furthermore, some students prefer a more practical way of learning things, and some like to spend their days in libraries, going through books. It is not possible to say which method is better. Each one of them works for a different type of student. But a teacher doesn’t have the luxury to treat every student differently. She has to follow a generalized form of teaching because she has some fifty students in her classroom to teach.

With the coming of AI in the education sector, possibilities have risen for a more personalized approach to teaching. These AIs are quickly transforming into digital professors who can help students by devising a study regime which is best suitable for a certain type of student. This way, a student can learn all he can in the class from his actual professor and at home from his digital professor in ways which is optimal for him.

Adaptive Learning

It is in an AI’s job description, that it learns from its environment, on its own. That is what makes it intelligent. It adapts according to the situations. This adaptive nature of AIs, adds more flair to its allure, especially for the education domain. The best thing about AIs is that one AI can look after many users and yet provide personalized services. Every user that has this AI has a personal version of it. This AI can evaluate every student’s growth and the pace at which it is happening. Then it can tweak its current method of tutoring just for that student to achieve better results. Based on its learning, AI can then also suggest revisions on particular topics so that a student's learning and knowledge is always complete.

AIs as Exam-Proctors
Distant learning leads to distant examinations. And the fundamental trouble with distant exams is that there is no way to make sure that an exam-taker is not cheating. But new AIs are now being developed which can work as proctors at these distant examination centers. Thus using these AIs, runners of distant learning programs can improve the authenticity of their exams and make sure that the students don’t cheat their way through.

Data gathering

Data gathering is one of the founding pillars of any AI system. It notices something new, and then it learns it. This can be of great value to teachers and students alike. Using AI, students can grade their teachers based on their knowledge, class control, and other such metrics. These student feedbacks can be vital in improving a teacher's technique.

On the other hand, AIs are now capable of evaluating an individual student's growth and use that personal data to form a bigger picture. If the data gathered from all the students shows that alterations should be made in the curriculum or that some topic needs revisiting or that students are not responding well to a particular teacher or her technique, then actions can be taken.

Conclusion

From robot professors who will make actual biological professors obsolete to AI companions which will assist students from their birth and throughout their education, helping them in learning things in a way which is tailored just for them, possibilities are infinite. The way AI works, learning and then executing it, if you think about it, is very close to what teachers do with their students. We learn, and then we implement.

This paints a scenario where AI and other automation have merged with the education spectrum so intricately that we can create a genius out of every child. No one will be left behind. There are even AIs who are helping ASD inflicted kids in learning social behavior. Now naysayers are many; some say that machines are replacing one sector at a time and some say that they will one day dominate us. But to expostulate them, I would say that computers are not here to take over, AI is not here to outsmart humans but to make humans smarter and better educated. We need to find a way to work with this technology rather than going against it. AI and education are basically two pieces of the same puzzle. And it would do all of us a lot of good if we just stopped fighting this fact and accepted it.


Author Bio: Arpita is an SEO expert providing her services to one of the most highly acclaimed software studios- Matellio LLC. Her passion resides in sharing knowledge with the world and grow by keeping abreast of the latest industry facets. She has crafted some well-crafted and incredibly informative write-ups that have received great commendation from her readers.