The Obvious Match: Artificial Intelligence and Education by Lora Young

What Is AI
The Obvious Match: Artificial Intelligence and Education by Lora Young posits the idea that it’s just a matter of time until artificial intelligence takes its place alongside teachers in the classroom. Her insightful post should be able to stimulate student thinking and be the basis for an engaging classroom conversation.

Introduction

  • With each year, technology seems to just keep getting better and better. As a species, we’ve always been able to survive and thrive in our environment because of our ability to innovate, create, and improve. There isn’t a single day in our lives that we aren’t using some form of technology for our benefit. There was a time when the Wright brothers were seen as crazy for thinking that it’s possible to create flying machines. Today, millions of people travel by air on a daily basis.
  • Modern technology has seen an increased rate of development in the past ten years. Kickstarters are popping up all around like mushrooms in a rainforest, each with their own ideas on how to make our lives much more convenient. One of these technologies is Artificial Intelligence. But…

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

  • Artificial Intelligence is a branch of Computer Science that aims to create machines that are able to process information and react to these pieces of information in a manner that humans would. Now you’re probably thinking: “Why would we want that?” The answer lies in one of the principles of psychology — learning.
  • Learning is defined as the process by which experiences are able to permanently alter behavior. Now, if you really think about it, every living organism on Earth survives through the process of learning. Lions aren’t born as killing machines, nor are newborns able to speak coherently from the get-go.

Enter Learning

  • This is where learning comes in. Through experiences, which also include a wide variety of interactions, organisms are able to store information that would, in turn, alter their behavior toward a certain scenario. We know that we shouldn’t touch hot stove tops because we remember that one time we did and we ended up getting burned. Now, while a modern computer is great at performing complex calculations, it cannot alter its behavior. It is limited to user input. And while complex conditions can, in a way, simulate behavior or decision making, the computer itself cannot make sense of the experiences it encounters because these have to be manually entered by someone else.
  • Now, Artificial Intelligence seeks to give computers the capability to not only gather and process information but to assimilate and to act upon that information autonomously. This opens up a wide variety of possibilities. Because AI enables machines to adapt to situations and grow smarter over time, these machines can only become better the more that they are put to use. It is, in a metaphorical sense, the maturation of machines. Machines will soon be able to account for their experiences and future decisions will be derived from that particular experience.

How Exactly Can AI Be Used in Education?

  • Now, because AI is able to adapt to its environment through the experiences it encounters and takes account of, AI will eventually become smart enough to determine the best course of action. Say, you’re in a Safety Training Scotland course. There are a wide variety of topics to discuss and each student has his or her own unique set of strengths and weaknesses, learning methods, language fluency levels, and cultural backgrounds. Artificial Intelligence, given enough experience, will be able to determine the best approach to each student to ensure that optimal learning is met.

Adapting to Each Learner

  • Let’s say that your main language has always been Japanese. AI will easily be able to speak and translate concepts for you because it has been exposed to different cultures. Not only that, but AI will be able to tailor your course material to match your background and your learning preferences and capabilities. It will even create meaningful representations of concepts for you and will also be able to avoid topics that may offend you in any way.
  • AI can also be used in the assessment of each student’s performance, and by doing so it can alter the teaching material into something that helps students who are lagging behind catch up, and students who are performing, perform even better. There are a plethora of teaching methods that a single teacher can use, but a single teacher simply cannot teach each student according to each student’s preferred learning method.

Final Thoughts

  • AI can do that for each student because it is capable of processing large amounts of information and determining actionable plans for each situation. An even greater example of AI application in education that benefits students as much as teachers is when it is used in actual classroom discussions. Regardless of what your subject matter is, classroom discussions will always have a few questions thrown about. Now, every once in a while, a student asks a question that an instructor cannot answer, or explain in a manner that students are able to digest.
  • This is where AI comes in. Say, the exact scenario happened to a learning-disabled child. AI will be able to process, interpret, and present the information to the child in a manner that’s appropriate for his learning capacity, without hindering the pace of the discussion. And yes, there are always naysayers when it comes to innovation. Some people may even go as far as to say that if we decide to integrate artificial intelligence into our education systems, then what’s the point of having teachers around? There are even those who are extremely paranoid about technology (or they may simply have watched too many Terminator movies as a child). And while it’s uncertain when artificial intelligence will be integrated into the educational system, what’s certain is that history, especially when it concerns new technology, will always repeat itself.
  • And whenever we see someone trying to create something new, we should always remember: There was a time that people thought the Wright brothers were crazy for thinking that they could create flying machines. Today, they are commonplace.

Lora Young

  • Lora was born in January 1992. Today, she is a digital marketer who has several years of experience in working with non-profit organizations. She has extensive knowledge in the fields of Education, Computer Science, and Psychology. When she isn’t helping build brands, she practices Muay Thai and runs marathons. If you are looking for someone that can write high quality copy you can contact her at . You can follow her on Twitter at @TheamazingLORA.
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