Council Post: AI’s Potential In Education

Council Post: AI's Potential In Education

Council Post: AI’s Potential In Education


AI is changing lives in a multitude of ways, and one of the most important is how we learn. Numerous barriers prevent education from reaching its full potential: money, space, accessibility, etc. This accessibility crisis is no secret. AI offers a promising solution by solving some of these issues: It provides personalized education on an unmatched scale. However, it’s only available to a fortunate few.

How is AI shaking up education? With tools such as AI tutors and smart content ranging from mathematics to writing, AI systems can address students’ specific learning needs and provide individualized and efficient feedback. Stanford’s 100 Year Study on Artificial Intelligence reports: “This development will facilitate more customizable approaches to learning, in which students can learn at their own pace using educational techniques that work best for them.”

As the founder of an organization that helps businesses build out AI solutions, I believe that AI and learning analytics can help create a more personalized education and a more positive and data-driven learning experience.

Changing The Learning Process

Until now, this level of personalization has been limited to small classrooms, though AI makes every classroom feel like a small one. AI systems analyze students’ progress on a scale that teachers alone cannot, effectively minimizing the student-teacher ratio problem. AI systems also erase distance. Learning happens anywhere at any time.

Another benefit of AI-augmented education is that it isn’t judgemental. Constructive criticism from an AI tutor can feel less intimidating than a fellow human. Students, especially the underserved, who may not be accustomed to such feedback, are likely to respond more positively to this feedback and are thus more likely to seek it out in the future. Feedback from AI systems is instantaneous and thereby extremely effective and can be acted on immediately.

AI may make the classroom feel small, but virtual reality is making it feel otherworldly. ClassVR offers technology allowing students to interact with historical landmarks and other visual learning aids all from their desks. ClassVR also leverages products that change the way those with autism spectrum disorder navigate the world, including programs that use machine learning to help them identify emotions.

Understanding The Learning Process 

In addition to changing it, AI has the potential to enhance our understanding of the learning process. AI systems can collect data in massive quantities from their students (i.e., their learning patterns, pace, knowledge gaps, etc.). Using this data, they will then be able to identify the teaching methods that work most effectively and those that leave students confused. Other systems can read facial cues to assess how students may be feeling during a lesson (e.g., stressed, calm, etc.). As these systems collect data about students, we collect data about the learning process, allowing us to build more complex and accurate systems.

AI for education benefits teachers and administrators as well. Teachers spend hours grading. AI can automate the grading process, allowing teachers to spend more time with their students. On a larger level, AI systems can augment recruitment practices allowing schools to target the students most likely to attend, boosting yield. AI systems can also help with retention by identifying early warning signs of dropout. AI tutors might help alleviate problems of completion and retention by providing personal attention to all students. The market for AI tutoring has been projected to reach nearly $120 billion by 2021.

The Need For AI In Education

Research at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education shows that leveraging technology education for remedial purposes can aggravate existing problems. When underserved students are given simple practice and drill problems and privileged students more advanced problems, the skill gap widens. I believe all students would gain from working on problems that foster dynamic thinking and synthesizing of real-world problems or even working on projects of their own.

It’s important to note at this point that AI technology will never replace an in-person instructor with a full spectrum of emotions. We need to be cognizant of how far AI can aid education without the input of a human teacher and support a balance between the two.

The power of AI is growing exponentially. As it does, it’s important to leverage it for good, not just efficiency and production. AI has the ability to revolutionize education, learning and accessibility. Education has and will continue to benefit from AI in ways we can and cannot yet imagine.


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