Artificial intelligence (AI) is a major influence on the state of education today, and the implications are huge. AI has the potential to transform how our education system operates, heighten the competitiveness of institutions, and empower teachers and learners of all abilities.
The opportunities for AI to support education are so broad that recently Microsoft commissioned research on this topic from IDC to understand where the company can help. The findings illustrate the strategic nature of AI in education and highlight the need for technologies and skills to make the promise of AI a reality.
The results showed almost universal acceptance among educators that AI is important for their future—99.4% said AI would be instrumental to their institution’s competitiveness within the next three years, with 15% calling it a “game-changer.” Nearly all are trying to work with it too—92% said they have started to experiment with the technology.
Furthermore, McKinsey‘s recent research suggests that 20 to 40 percent of current teacher hours are spent on activities that could be automated using existing technology. That translates into approximately 13 hours per week that teachers could redirect toward activities that lead to higher student outcomes and higher teacher satisfaction. In short, the research suggests that existing technology can help teachers reallocate 20 to 40 percent of their time to activities that support student learning.
Further advances in technology could push this number higher and result in changes to classroom structure and learning modalities, but are unlikely to displace teachers in the foreseeable future. According to McKinsey, the areas with the biggest potential for automation are preparation, administration, evaluation, and feedback.
Let’s explore other ways in which AI can transform the education system.
AI-powered online assessment tools are now being used by many universities to conduct online exams. These systems set the question papers themselves, from a pre-existing question bank. Such question banks are designed by subject matter experts and they can be updated and edited as per the need and convenience of the institute. All that teachers need to do for an online examination system is to design an online question bank, and moderate the question paper generated by the system. After this is done, all tasks right up to calculating the result will be done by the online examination system.
AI can monitor the batch’s performance in a quiz or test and give detailed analytics to the batch’s performance for various subjects and topics. With the help of this feedback, teachers know exactly how students respond to a particular technique.
AI-powered personal assistants are being used on a daily basis and for personal tasks like making a reservation at a restaurant, booking flight tickets, ordering something from Amazon with a mere voice command, making an appointment with your dentist, and so on. This principle of personalizing technology can be used in education as well! AI can understand and adapt to a student’s learning abilities and it can come up with personalized teaching techniques to help students understand concepts more easily. AI can also help students understand the practical implementation of theory, and go beyond rote learning.
AI-driven systems like biometric attendance systems and online grading tools can be used to reduce the burden of administrative tasks on teachers. Teachers can use this time to focus on children and help children with special needs.