Artificial Intelligence and the Transformation of Education

22/07/2020 43

The transition of education to online models due to COVID-19 has highlighted the large digital deficiencies that exist in the educational system in many countries, universities and primary and secondary schools throughout the world.

Although we all recognize the technological advances of the last 20 years and their impact on almost all sectors of the economy, the education sector has been one of the slowest to transform into more digital and innovative models. The reasons are multiple, but professors and teachers have to do an exercise of humility and reflection to recognize that we could have been able to do much more than we have done so far.

In a recent article entitled “Disruption in Education: Let’s not waste this crisis“, Professor Tina Seelig from Stanford University suggests to us the urgent need to take advantage of the current opportunity to think, redesign and implement significant improvements in educational methods, beyond what we have done (or not) in the last hundred years.

COVID-19 has highlighted the major shortcomings in the education system.

In this context, artificial intelligence is one of the key technological levers that is expected to support the transformation of education. In the United States of America, artificial intelligence in education is expected to grow 47.77% between 2018 and 2022.

Below, I would like to briefly describe some of the opportunities where AI is already supporting educators globally.

Personalized learning: algorithms that process the large volume of data from the user’s online activity, learning how the user learns, and exploiting that data in applications for personalized learning: learning graphs, itineraries and tailored rhythms. In this way, it is intended to encourage and guide both autonomous study and guided or collaborative work. The technologies and models of Artificial Intelligence in Education developed in the AFEL project (Analytics for Everyday Learning) have been integrated into Didactalia as an educational platform supported by GNOSS technology that is used in a real-world setting.

Reduce teacher administrative burden and test assessment: Artificial intelligence can be used in processes where teachers have time constraints. Machine learning applications process information faster and in greater quantities than humans by taking advantage of algorithms that learn from data. These algorithms can provide suggestions that are relevant to the teacher, such as determining the subjects in which their students have had historical difficulties or in which they have excelled so that they can be redesigned effectively.

Artificial Intelligence is presented as one of the key technological levers in the transformation of education.

It is also important to recognize that many teachers are stuck on many administrative tasks, limiting the time they spend with their students. AI can perform these tasks and complete them at a much faster rate than a teacher. According to a UNESCO report, approximately 60,000 schools in China have implemented a written essay evaluation machine that matches the teachers’ response 92% of the time.

Online student authentication and facial recognition: SMOWL is a continuous online student identity authentication system that uses an Artificial Intelligence algorithm to verify user identity and monitor activity during assessment throughout the entire learning process with in order to ensure academic integrity. Automatic validation and manual monitoring are combined to guarantee all results.

Universal and inclusive access: Presentation Translator is a free PowerPoint plugin that creates real-time captions of what the teacher is talking about, displaying the texts below in the presentation. With the use of the translator and voice recognition, students can listen or read in their native language. Even if it is in the same language, hearing impaired people can follow the class in real time through reading the transcript.

While we don’t expect artificial intelligence to replace human teachers anytime soon, technology will play a critical role in classroom-based and online classrooms in the future. Collaborative intelligence between technologies and teachers can create a model where students learn faster and better.