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AI in education – what the future holds

Artificial Intelligence is no longer a distant utopia. Many things have happened since John McCarthy coined the term at the 1956 Dartmouth Conference.

What was once just a dream is now a reality – smart virtual assistants, chatbots, smart home devices, self-driving cars, drones, and other intelligent systems have become commonplace.

AI technologies are now all around us, shaping every aspect of our lives and changing the world in the process. It’s a booming domain that brings us one step closer to the world of tomorrow.

It’s obvious that AI has had a tremendous impact on all industries in recent years. Manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, finance and e-commerce are just some of the industries taking advantage of AI systems.

But there’s one field that even though is not normally linked to AI, is taking big leaps towards embracing its applications. We’re talking about education.

Education systems all over the world are regarded as being somewhat rigid and reluctant to change.

However, educational institutions realized the great potential AI technology has and how it can empower both teachers and students, so they are now trying to catch up with the trends and join the AI movement.

Professionals in the domain agree that AI is essential for the future of learning and it will reshape the way we approach education. So let’s take a look at how AI will influence education in the years to come.

Learning as a personalised experience

We all know that people learn differently. Every person has personal preferences as well as strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning. Traditional teaching methods make no difference between students, having a one-size-fits-all approach.

As a result, some students fail to attain their full potential, while others struggle to keep up with the curriculum. AI helps correct these shortcomings and transform learning into a personalized experience.

Adaptive learning platforms are able to create learning profiles for students, based on their abilities, preferences, learning styles and the challenges they face. The curriculum and the teaching methods are adapted to students’ needs.

Teachers can give personalized counsel and adjust class-assignments so that each student can work on what he needs to improve.

Additionally, AI can help students receive extra support. Educational assistants enhance the learning process by answering questions from students, providing the information they need and helping with assignments, without the teacher’s intervention, so students can set their own pace and learn whenever it’s more convenient for them.

Helping teachers with administrative tasks

Besides teaching, tutors and educators have other tasks they need to fulfill that require just as much effort and commitment. They also have organizational and administrative responsibilities that can take up a lot of their time.

Teachers have to handle tasks such as organizing educational material, evaluating assignments, grading exams, managing paperwork, communicating with the parents etc.

Fortunately, AI can make their job easier and help with many of the above-mentioned activities. Let’s take grading for example. Automated grading is a life savior for teachers when they have to go through thousands of tests.

AI can take care of other tasks such as logistics issues, keeping the paperwork up to date, and providing feedback for students or serving as a communication channel for teacher-parent interactions.

Furthermore, education administrators can really benefit from integrating AI solutions into their activity. AI can help with a series of administrative duties from budget management to processing student application forms, procurement of materials or HR management.

The result will be higher administrative efficiency, lower costs and a clear overall view of the institution.

Education without boundaries

A traditional education system comes with many limitations. AI can help get rid of boundaries and make learning easily accessible for everyone.

There are students who can’t attend school in person or who, for various reasons, skipped school years. There’s also an increased interest in high-quality online courses for students all ages.

AI gives people the possibility to pursue their educational objectives, no matter where they are in the world. Those who want to further their education can forget about time and space restrictions, thanks to AI systems. They can learn anytime, anywhere and adjust the learning process to their needs and environment.

Customized textbooks

AI is slowly changing the way we use textbooks. Soon enough, thick old-school textbooks, packed with unnecessary information will be a thing of the past. New technologies are making way for customized study guides that cater to students’ needs.

Teachers will no longer waste their time going through manuals to extract the necessary information and put it in a form that makes it easier for students to understand and assimilate.

Digital textbooks created by AI systems will become commonplace in the educational environment. They put the spotlight on smart content, helping students learn in a more efficient manner.

Course creation

AI can do a lot more than providing support for courses. It can also be used as a tool for creating courses and bringing real-time improvements in the educational process. AI-powered courses come with many advantages.

For example, when attending an online class, students will receive suggestions and assistance as they progress, according to their personal evolution and they will receive support each time they struggle to complete a task.

Teachers will also be helped by receiving notifications when complicated issues arise, so they can offer further details and focus more on important aspects.

What AI means for teachers

Since intelligent systems will handle so many tasks that were once performed by teachers, some people got the idea that the rise of AI technologies in education might render teachers obsolete. But in reality, this is highly unlikely to happen.

A more realistic scenario would be a future in which AI becomes a reliable assistant for teachers, helping them fulfill their responsibilities with higher efficiency.

There’s a good reason why things will go in this direction. People will always require and respond better to human interaction.

While AI can be of great help, students still need a teacher to connect with, someone that can guide and inspire them in a way that no machine ever will.

Main image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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