Back to School with Artificial Intelligence

Technology is rapidly becoming an integral part of the classroom and our children’s education. Children are increasingly using tablets and other digital appliances and coding is becoming part of the national curricula around the world.

“Human plus machine isn’t the future, it’s the present.”

Garry Kasparov, TED talk

Right as we speak Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) are positively transforming education not only regarding how children learn but also how teachers teach.

With the use of AI and VR experiential or hands-on learning has acquired a completely new meaning. Students are no longer simply engaging or learning. Instead, they’re actually exploring, experiencing, being involved and participating in the educational experience. For instance, Publisto is creating a student-teacher-expert collaboration platform; Stories of Tomorrow will generate deep learning analytics and will streamline student visions on the future of space exploration. Platforms like this offer students full experiences of what they’re actually learning about and make them feel part of the subject they’re reading. “We’re moving away from simply ‘learning’ a subject or topic to ‘feeling’ the content.” (Graham Lawrie, Director of Innovation and Outreach at the UK based Sevenoaks School).

Software companies have realized the need for the digitization of education and have introduced various innovative tools. Content Technologies Inc. is leveraging deep learning to deliver customized books. It uses technology to turn decade-old textbooks into smart and relevant learning guides that will make study time more efficient. Meanwhile, programs like Oculus Rift and Google Expedition are translating traditional lessons into meaningful real-world experiences. Similarly, programs like Khan Academy, Coursera and Publisto’s game Story Chaser allow students to strengthen their skills and learning.

Artificial Intelligence is not only changing how children learn but it also brings innovative solutions to shortcomings in teaching. Carnegie Learning and Third Space Learning leverage big data and analytics to provide tutors with real-time feedback about their students strengths and weakness helping them assess the learning needs of their students. In a foreseeable future, time consuming activities such as grading will be automated saving educators time and energy.

Technology can enhance educators work and ultimately ensure that all students have access to high quality teaching. According to Thomas Arnett, technology will contribute in raising the effectiveness of non-experts and expert teachers. It will help them adapt to the demands of an increasingly digitized world and education system benefiting school leaders. In fact, high quality curriculum and online-learning resources can improve the educational outcomes offered by less effective teachers. Moreover computers can provide many aspects of basic content and skills instruction to empower teachers with better assessment data, provide learning resource recommendations and allow teachers more time and energy to devote to their students. Innovations commoditizing teacher expertise offer teachers greater capacity to focus on helping students develop deeper learning and non-cognitive skills.

In other words, Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIEd) will provide intelligent personal tutors for every learner and intelligent support for collaborative learning while intelligent virtual reality will support learning in authentic environments. While AI develops and grows AIEd will have to follow in order to help learners gain 21stcentury skills; contribute to the improvement of assessment and, embody insights from the learning sciences.