AI, NLG, and Machine Learning

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Education

Artificial intelligence (AI) has penetrated business, healthcare, and social media, and now it might be the next big thing in the field of education.

By Akshat Gupta
June 2, 2020

Every time we open our Facebook newsfeed, do a Google search, get a product recommendation from Amazon, or book a trip online, artificial intelligence (AI) is working in the background. It has penetrated business, healthcare, and social media, and now it’s going to be the next big thing in the field of education. Education is the catalytic tool that has the strength to transform the future of a country.

Efficient and effective administration

Teachers spend a lot of time grading assessments and providing valuable responses to students. This cumbersome process can be reduced. Software providers are coming up with better ways of grading written answers and essays. This will improve teacher-student interaction. Hence, AI will not eliminate human resources but assist them.

Smart content

AI systems are using traditional syllabi to create customized textbooks for certain subjects. As a result, textbooks are being digitized and new learning interfaces are being created to help students of all academic grades and ages. An example of such mechanisms is Cram101, which uses AI to make textbook content more comprehensible and easier to navigate, with summaries of chapters, in addition to flashcards and practical tests. Another useful AI interface is Netex Learning, which enables professors to create electronic curriculums and educational information across a myriad of devices. Netex includes online assistance programs, audio, and illustrative videos.

Personalized learning

As was rightly said by Einstein, “Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” This is what currently prevails in the education system of the country, too. The educational framework of a country should cater to the needs of the individuals according to their aptitudes and abilities. AI is helping students with independent study through more customizable tutoring and studying support applications. Software is now able to go beyond merely reciting facts that need to be memorized for standardized tests, by providing a catered experience that matches the level, comfort, and emotional state of the student. Different learning styles and mindsets can be taken into account in real time, drastically improving results and helping students be successful.

Global learning

Education has no limits, and AI can help to eliminate boundaries. Technology brings drastic transitions by facilitating the learning of any course from anywhere across the globe and at any time. AI-powered education equips students with fundamental IT skills. With more inventions, there will be a wider range of courses available online. And, with the help of AI, students will be learning from wherever they are.

Data analytics in education management information systems (EMISs) and the evolution to learning management systems (LMSs)

An EMIS is an organised group of information and documentation services that collects, stores, processes, analyses, and disseminates information for educational planning and management. It is widely used for education leaders, decision-makers, and managers at the regional, local, and school levels and for the generation of national statistics. Data-driven decision making (DDDM) applied to student achievement testing data is a central focus of many school and district reform efforts, in part because of federal and state test-based accountability policies. With massive data collected from EMISs, AI algorithms are able to make data-driven decisions to improve school education.

Stakeholders of the AI-based placement sector: Students/Candidates

AI and intelligent learning systems (ILSs) technology

From the endless benefits of AI, one of the most amazing is the invention of the intelligent tutoring system (ITS) and the ILS in the field of education. Many countries have already started investing in these fields. AI can substantially improve current conditions and students’ skills, ultimately upscaling candidates’ quality.

ITS and ILS can act as:

Coach. AI-powered platforms can help students to initiate or pose a question. The main aim would be to assist students in discovering information or laws for themselves—rather than being a teacher, being a coach that assists students in discovering relevant skills/research similar to their course.

Expert diagnosis. Another vital aspect of teaching is the ability to investigate and diagnose a student’s overall performance—whether it be strengths, weaknesses, or misconceptions. This means AI should be developed enough to maintain an accurate and current model of the student’s knowledge, skills, errors, and misconceptions and to provide admissible solutions to upscale the overall.

Suppose a student is weak at a specific subject—for example, a particular algorithm in coding language. AI should be able to automatically record and produce a solution which may contain information on the internet, online courses available, counseling, expert help, books available in libraries, etc. This will help students to access their stats and become better candidates.

Psychometric assessment

Unlike the customary evaluation methods, like analysis of résumés for the selection process, psychometric tests are found to make better decisions in hiring a candidate. A psychometric test is a type of assessment which is used to measure an individual’s skills, excellence, mental capability, and behavioral style. Psychometric assessments help to determine the appropriateness of the candidate for said post. As of today, companies worldwide are applying psychometrics tests in the selection process. Powerhouse companies like Intel, Unilever, and L’Oréal have been using this AI-based psychometric test technology to screen entry-level employees.

AI-based psychometric assessment is largely convenient and better than manual. AI can test diagnoses from an almost limitless number of databases. It could also consider additional factors, like delays in responding to a question, your mouse hovering over a particular answer before selecting another, or even a background check by cross-checking your social profile. AI could add some IQ assessments and throw in some technical questions. The platform can record in detail all the onscreen activity, providing a whole new level of statistics and candidate screening.

Projects with AI elements in education also come from philanthropic initiatives that work in the developing world.

- IBM is using technology to make an impact on eradicating poverty through the “Simpler Voice: Overcoming Illiteracy” project. This project uses AI to help adult learners who are illiterate or have low literacy skills navigate texts with more confidence by translating texts and presenting the basic meaning through visuals or simple spoken words.

- In Guayaquil, Ecuador, the project “Más Tecnología” introduced computers for students with software that personalised curriculums based on the results of assessments in language and mathematics. The project was accompanied by a teacher training plan to implement computer-based lessons three hours per week.

- Learning Equality is a nonprofit initiative that started as an extension of the Khan Academy to use the contents of the platform in developing countries. Learning Equality launched Kolibri, an open-source educational platform and toolkit designed for low-resource communities.

- Other philanthropic international initiatives use prizes as a way to innovate. The $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE (XPRIZE Foundation, 2019) challenges teams from around the world to develop open-source, scalable software that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing, and arithmetic within 15 months. One of the solutions, RoboTutor (XPRIZE Foundation, 2019) was developed by Carnegie Mellon specialists to create a learning machine based on AI with robot tutors, voice recognition, and data-driven algorithms to personalise learning at a large scale.

- Many of these first-generation AI initiatives in education in developing countries come from the private sector, with a lucrative perspective or in partnership with public authorities. In Brazil, an edtech company known as Geekie—the adaptive learning platform in Brazil accredited by the country’s Ministry of Education—is used by over 5,000 schools across the country to provide customised learning experiences for students. Through machine learning, the software provides more personalised content as the student uses it more often. It also becomes better at flagging learning difficulties encountered by students, which human educators can then use to determine the necessary interventions.

- Daptio is a South African solution that uses deep analytics and provides personalised learning to teachers, students, and content creators in Africa and other emerging markets through its online software service. Founded in 2013 and based in Cape Town, Daptio uses artificial intelligence to help students, mentors, and teachers to understand the proficiency level of each student and then matches the relevant content. Daptio’s key local competitors are Get Smarter, Funda, and ReThink Education.

- M-Shule was launched in Kenya in 2016 as a mobile platform filled with lessons based on national curriculum standards delivered via SMS that adapt to each student’s skills and abilities using AI technology.

Remote proctoring

Remote proctoring is a new technology that can help to simplify the exam invigilation process. Students can appear for the exam from any location (like a classroom or home). The system is able to invigilate such exams remotely using remote proctoring. It uses a web camera attached to the computer system to authorize remote students. Many educational institutions, corporations, and universities have started using this technology to simplify the examination process with the artificial intelligence of remote proctoring.

In conclusion

If we talk about education, the Chinese have been working on creating intelligent education. The Chinese government’s ambitious plan would require huge amounts of research in AI, supported by professionals trained in the technology. The Chinese government has set 2030 as the deadline to integrate AI with the Chinese infrastructure. In this regard, huge strides are already being made when it comes to educating the populace using AI. This way, China is not only working to make its young population familiar with the technology, but it is also revolutionising how education is being imparted. According to an estimate, China led the way, with over $1 billion invested globally last year in AI education.

There should be a focused effort on discovering and nurturing the talent of a country’s next generation. Currently, the world is battling a pandemic and such a technology can be optimally utilized in such situations. Classrooms can be shut, but classes cannot.

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