Al & Machine learning

How Artificial Intelligence is Shaping the Future of Education

Artificial Intelligence (AI), a field in computer science that involves the creation of intelligent systems that behave like human beings, has seen major development in the recent past. There has been massive AI investment in the education field globally with the AI education market being currently valued at half a billion. That figure is set to rise to six billion by 2024. With the introduction of the new 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum, it would be interesting to take a step back and look at how artificial intelligence will affect its future.

Tailored Learning Experience for Students

For a very long time, the education system has treated all students as the same. However, the truth is that every student is unique. The future will see AI systems customize the learning experience for students based on their strengths and weaknesses. This will enable all students to enjoy the learning process.

Smart Algorithms to Determine Best Teaching Methods

Smart algorithms are able to determine the best teaching method for each student. Not all students learn well with a teacher speaking to them all the time. This will help in detecting students with learning disabilities and addressing them early in their education. This will, therefore, lead to better grades and students garnering skills that are applicable in the real world.

Career Path Prediction

After university selection, there are usually many complaints of students being called for courses they didn’t want. This is partly because most students will choose similar courses and our institutions do not enough capacity to admit each one for what they choose.  AI systems, with the assistance of teachers, will be able to gather student data and predict the best career path for each student. This will make the university course selection process simple and seamless.

Reduce Bias in Grading

AI systems will read students handwriting and grade their exams. This is achieved using a concept known as computer vision where computers are trained to read images. Some Chinese schools have already implemented such systems. These systems are able to read students handwritten papers and grade them. Apart from reducing bias, such systems will also fight cheating and plagiarism.

Predicting Students Future Performance

AI systems will predict the future performance of a student by looking at their performance over time.  This kind of intelligence will help the Ministry of Education know how many students are expected to join secondary school and university at a certain year. The ministry will, therefore, be in a position to make future budgetary plans for the construction of institutions and teacher training.

Uncovering Learning Gaps

Natural language processing, the ability of a computer to understand human language, can be used to analyze course content and uncover learning gaps in the curriculum. AI systems can also uncover a student’s areas of weakness and suggest content to help them improve. Another interesting thing these systems can do is discover the best delivery models for students.

Generating Customized Education Content

AI systems can now analyze the syllabus and course material and come up with new and customized content. These systems are also able to generate exams after analyzing this content. This would eventually free teachers to focus on more pressing issues such as student performance.

Collaborative Learning

By analyzing student data, AI systems can pair up students based on their personality, strengths and complementary skills. Grouping students who can work together will reduce conflict and make the learning process smooth and efficient.

Artificial Intelligence Tutors

With the increasing number of students in our learning institutions, AI tutors will come in handy in easing the burden on teachers. These tutors will provide additional support to students as well as give them feedback in their studies.  They will also make on-demand learning for students possible, in that students don’t have to be confined in a class setting to conduct their studies.

Smart Schools

Schools will be built based on the internet of things, a technology that involves connecting various devices to the internet. These devices will communicate with each other and monitor things such as alarms, lighting and even maintenance needs before they happen. Smart classrooms will invigilate exams and therefore curb cheating. These classrooms will be configured with facial recognition technology that will monitor student attendance and even tell how long a student spent in a particular class session.

With artificial intelligence set to disrupt the education sector globally, the biggest worry for most people has been whether it will replace teachers. Artificial intelligence systems are not as empathetic as human beings. These systems will work best with the help of human teachers. It is therefore highly unlikely that these systems will completely replace teachers in our classrooms. These systems are already operational in many parts of the world. It would be interesting to see how long Kenya takes to catch up with the rest of the world. However, for this to happen there has to be intentional strategies by stakeholders in the education sector. Some of these strategies include collecting the necessary data points that will power these intelligent systems, including data science and artificial intelligence courses in our curriculum and preparing the technology infrastructure that will enable the adoption of this technology. Until then, we can only sit on the side and watch as other countries reap the benefits of this technology.

Written by Derrick Mwiti

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