New technology is evolving every day in this fast-moving data-driven age. Even less than two decades ago, smartphones were just emerging and were capable of functioning the rudimentary phone operations only. Since then, technology has taken a huge leap – from shopping to watching a movie, everything can be possible on a smartphone. So, the traditional methods of functioning in our lives are changing and with that, one of the most important sector to consider – education sector, should also adapt to these changes.
Applying new evolving technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) can change the whole system and lead to the emergence of a more transparent and efficient education system. With world literacy rate as high as 86.3% and subsequent expansion in the field of education, the issue of implementation of AI in this sector becomes more important.
What is the need for AI in education?
While our way of living and daily operations has been rapidly altered, till date, traditional methods are practiced in the education sector. Kids today are mostly not engaged in traditional games and toys and coloring books. Most of their activities revolve around laptop screens, smartphones, and tablets. Moreover, today’s education system is still more static and traditional. So, a change in the paradigm of education is needed to keep up with the changing requirements and lifestyle of the students.
“India is still waking up to the new concepts of digitisation and the education industry being still untouched will not only benefit the student when it comes to harnessing their individualistic potential, but will also allow the trainers some space by letting go off some mundane tasks that they do in today’s traditional way of teaching”, said Mr. Abhishek Manjrekar, CMO – Marketing & Analytics at Foreign Academic Consultancy & Training (FACT).
Ways in which AI can improve education
There are various areas for application of AI in education, some of which are discussed as follows:
With the application of AI, basic activities in education, like grading, can be automated. Grading can be a tedious task and it takes up a lot of time of the professors. So, automated grading will save time for teachers so that they can use this significant amount of time to interact with students.
Learning can be individually customised for a student based on his or her needs, requirements and pace. Educational software can be used accordingly. With this system of adaptive learning, students will receive individual care which is not feasible in traditional educational processes. Moreover, each student can be guided by a virtual mentor in case of queries.
According to industry experts, education with AI can assist learners to gain and address the required skills of the 21st century like self-assessment, confidence, teamwork, and others more efficiently.
In most of the traditional teaching practices, teachers are often not aware of the shortcomings of their lectures and thus there is always a gap in courses and learning. AI can solve this problem. One of the biggest online course providers, Coursera is already starting to apply this technology for their courses. With a large number of students signing up for a course with various types of queries and submission of wrong assignments, it becomes humanly impossible for the mentor to address all queries. AI can also help to monitor the progress of the students and report professors if there is any issue with the student performances.
AI can change the role of teachers. With AI, teachers will have to adapt themselves to be concerned with learning issues only instead of manual tedious works like grading. AI can also create a platform for students to find information and address queries. One of the most common issue a teacher faces while teaching a batch of students is the pace of the course. With AI, this problem will be virtually solved as each learner can learn at their comfortable pace. So teachers will supplement the AI lessons to assist students and provide human interaction.
The technology will also provide opportunities for a global classroom with increased accessibility and participation of students worldwide. Without technology, it would be difficult to maintain a platform of this scale. It opens up educational possibilities to each part of the world and is a highly cost-saving procedure.
Concerns over the issue
It is anticipated that with more use of AI in education, the role of the teachers would become redundant. However, the advocates of this technology suggest that AI should be viewed as a technology to support teachers and not to replace them.
If AI benefits only to students with access to specific advanced technologies, then it may marginalize some groups. It is also debated that the students might become too dependent on the technology. These things have to be analyzed before implementing AI on a large scale.” AI being an automated and real-time system may threaten to cease the personal bond between a trainer and student when it would come to virtual classes or offshore assignments” adds Mr. Abhishek Manjrekar.
Any technology costs big money. Given the Indian scenario, where many institutions fail to meet even the basis educational standards amidst the mushroom of institutions, setting up an AI system will not only incur huge cost but it shall also need trained manpower who can understand it fully and implement it with effective use with the maximum effect, he further added.
Moreover, educators will also have to be careful in concern to the privacy and confidentiality of the data collected and its access.
Progress and implementation of AI in various sectors have been very impressive. However, in comparison to non-education sectors, AI application in the education sector has been very pale. However, the application of AI is spreading daily and so are e-learning platforms. According to EdTech Magazine, a research predicts that through 2021, the application of AI in the education sector will grow by 47.5%. So, the possibilities for AI to make significant contributions in education is tremendous. This huge potential shouldn’t be wasted.