We’re steaming ahead into the uncharted future of AI powered education. When we think of schools today, we think of brick and mortar buildings filled with human teachers. Or perhaps we think of zoom calls run by these same professors and educators. Either way, the concept of a teaching AI rarely comes to mind; however, AI teachers may just be imminent.
Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) Education Work?
Experts agree that AI will play a larger part in education in the future. We can look forward to the robust future of AI-powered education. This raises the question, can AI education be effective? Yes, it can. In fact, AI aided education may be better than the status quo. Current educational models were forged during the industrial revolution, and have changed surprisingly little since. It’s high time we modernize such an essential part of our societies.
When Will it Start?
The introduction of AI tools in education is already happening. Two hotspots for this innovation are China and Silicon Valley. In China, an AI company called Squirrel AI offered personal AI tutoring to middle school students in Hangzhou, China. Student Zhou Yi took part in this opportunity and saw his math test scores improve from 50% to 62.5% in a single semester. The previously weak math student scored 85% on his final middle school exam. Additionally, both the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have marked AI an educational tool deserving of investment.
What Will AI Education Look Like?
No-one really knows what AI education will look like. Experts hope that AI will better allow teachers to provide personalized education to their students and will not further push trends of standardized testing and ineffective learning practices.
AI education will most likely be administered through laptops, though personal smartphones may play a part. AI will not fully replace human experts as teachers. Rather, humans will oversee AI education courses like a driver who still has to pay attention in a self-driving car. Li, the founder of Squirrel AI, says that “human teachers will focus on emotional communication.” For example, they can counsel students on the best ways to learn and have interesting class discussions.
Additionally, adults will always be needed to address situations like lost students and cases of bullying. In the near term, AI will help give personal feedback. Like spellcheck, better AI can proofread essays and suggest corrections. The grammar checking company Grammarly can already read the tone of an article or paper. AI could be used to give feedback on speeches, for example, rating voice clarity and pacing.
On a larger scale, AI will be used to track student trends. This information will be used by teachers and administration to address problems early on and optimize learning. In the long term, AI will only play a larger role. Taking over administrative tasks, AI will leave teachers free to teach. AI-driven courses will be available to most individuals, and these courses will only improve due to the nature of machine learning.
Is This A Good Thing?
Only time will tell. The way things aren’t working as well as they should be. Students, teachers, and parents are frustrated with the current system. Post-secondary students are saddled with incredible amounts of debt and are leaving formal education to find fewer well-paying jobs available. The world is changing rapidly; our schools are not. AI can change this.
Cheap AI courses can be available to anyone who wants them. The courses themselves, if personalized and effective, will be a much better alternative to lecture halls packed with hundreds of students. Teachers will find their jobs far easier, relieving the problem of overworked educators. With AI, we can look forward to the possibility of a world where anyone can quickly attain the skills needed, both for themselves and for their society.