Current education system is criticized for its inability to deliver tailor-made learning to all its learners. With the new technologies impacting our lives in improbable ways, education is no longer bereft of its advantages and actualizing models of learning hitherto only imaginable.
Artificial Intelligence and Vast Possibilities
The term artificial intelligence has been in vogue for some time in the field of computing technology. Oblivious of the word? Don’t worry! The word has moved beyond its literal senses and been actualized in many degrees in various avenues of sciences and life. It’s very much present in your life without your knowing it. What about those fingerprint and face-detection gadgets and apps which you see physically and on your smartphones!
Have you ever noticed those recurrent messages, especially advertisements, popping before you when you surf the Internet, chasing you from site to site? Do you know how these remarketing, i.e. strategically placing ads before a potential client uses the browsing history of a person to target him as a client? These all is possible because of artificial intelligence, where a machine resembles a human intelligence and initiates action based on the data gathered.
Sensors in your electrical appliances like ACs, digital cameras, Google’s digital assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa all have this unifying operating technology, i.e. artificial intelligence beneath them.
In 1955, John McCarthy, a computer scientist coined the term artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of machines and electrical devices to think intelligently like humans. Of course, the underlying principles of computer programming along with data and algorithms fed into computers make them do so. Although the concept came much before the term was coined, it was only after the launch of semantic web (web 2.0) that the possibility of machines behaving like humans in cognition became a reality.
Further, in 1959, another term machine learning (ML) was coined by Arthur Samuel. ML is based on the principles of deep learning to enable machines to learn through their experiences and observations. AI together with ML is creating disruption in previous technologies and making our devices smarter, from our smart phones and smart computers to smart TVs in our homes.
Artificial Intelligence and Education: Increasing Usage
The education sector, too, slowly but steadily, is moving away from the clutches of traditional systems towards a new digital and smarter transformation. The applications of AI and ML are tremendous in education. The following list provides 8 visible benefits of AI in education (AIED):
The ability of computers to compute and process fast has reduced a lot of physical labour involved in doing manual work, thereby increasing productivity. Consequently, with minimal human intervention, computers can substantially ease learners as well as teachers’ task. Searching books from e-library, locating relevant information from search engines, creating a document, bookmarking, and sharing and collaborating with peers were never as easy for the learners as it is today.
Teachers can easily check for plagiarism in the assignments submitted by students. Grading of students can also be done automatically by the computers on the basis of marks scored in tests, which in turn are auto checked too. Even test papers can be auto generated with the help of software programmed to do so.
Artificial intelligence can be used to adapt to the learning environment as per the needs of the learner. This could mean showing more references of the content, the learner hasn’t understood well or sensing the areas which the learner is weak at, to provide him/her with more practice of those areas.
In sync with the saying one size doesn’t fit all, AI enabled learning could be capable of providing personalised approach to learners on the basis of the learners’ characteristics. For instance, the pace of learning could be a bit slow for those who take a little more time to grasp things than others. Likewise, learning styles can be accommodated, by showing more of images, graphics, and videos to visual learners per se.
AI may also give provision to learners to customize their experiences by selecting the type of content or course they would like to undergo, the type of teacher who best suits them, or the level of difficulty in the question paper when they get evaluated.
5. Intelligent Tutoring
The tutors will be able to provide individualized and differentiated tutoring to different learners based on their level of understanding, pace of grasping, mood, nature, personality, and temperament. All this would be possible with the help of artificial intelligence. Further, tailor made responses and feedback to learners to improve could be achievable too.
6. Student Support
The component of student support is either missing or not so strong in the traditional education system. This problem can be categorically overcome with the help of artificial intelligence to guide and resolve the issues of students based on study of their individualized issue and preferences.
7. Reduction in Teachers’ Administrative Workload
One thing which is quiet apparent through the above discussion is the changing role of a teacher. Teacher-centric education is likely to vanish completely leading towards service-oriented approach for the learners who will be the drivers of their own learning. AI will take care of the menial administrative tasks that a regular teacher in a school system has to do so that complete focus can be laid solely on the teaching-learning process.
8. Universal Design of Ease and Access
Having said so much about automation, personalization, and customization, we wouldn’t overstating if we say that AI will standardize the quality of education by implementing unique approach based on user preferences, human-machine interaction, and web mining. This has positive implications for those who are differently-abled or are have learning disabilities, or even for those who are struggling with chronic ailments.
Indian Educational Start-up Companies: Experimenting With AI in a Big Way
It is an AI-enabled online consultation platform assisting students and professionals in overseas education, career guidance, and preparation of entrance tests in order to get into their desired universities world over. Founded in April 2017 by Akshay Chaturvedi and Rajiv Ganjoo, the platform provides unique personalization approach to help student achieve their life goals. It matches the students aspiring for higher education in a particular discipline with the colleges worldwide looking for such students.
The AI-enabled online platform matches the social-sector NGOs with the corporate companies looking for a right project for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) investment. It also provides requisite information to NGOs through their subject matter expert and assists in developing a proposal meeting the requirements of the corporate companies. This Gurugram-based company, founded by Joy Sharma and Sudeep Gupta, helps corporate in choosing from more than 2850 projects proposed by over 1000 NGOs listed on their platform.
While Embibe has already been employing AI programs to develop system of correcting the basic errors of individual students, Vedantu has recently launched an AI-based platform for personalised teaching and tailor-made learning content.
Founded in 2011 by four IITians, namely Vamsi Krishna, Pulkit Jain, Anand Prakash, and Saurabh Saxena, Vedantu provides interactive online tutoring to the students using real time virtual learning environment named WAVE (Whiteboard Audio Video Environment).
Embibe, founded by Aditi Avasthi in 2011, is an exciting artificial intelligence platform that is personalising the delivery of education to students in emerging markets. It’s a complete platform with a deep stack on content intelligence using computer vision, student intelligence built using custom neural networks, culminating in mentor intelligence which leverages the other two, as per Aditi Avasthi.
Hike is an indigenous mobile messaging platform which has recently partnered with IIT-Delhi to boost AI and ML ecosystem in India. This will facilitate research collaboration with stakeholders and academia to enable more deep rooted research in AI and ML. The area of research will also include natural language processing (NLP), speech, link prediction, deep learning, and computer vision. Hike is building one of the largest repositories of AI- and ML-enabled stickers for its local messaging platform.
The Way Forward
With so many developments in the field of technology and education, the prospects of artificial intelligence in education (AIED) are not only bright but is increasingly becoming the conspicuous. Chat bots and humanoid robots are still in the process of developing and may soon be introduced in education too. The day is not far when the traditional education will become a folk lore, if the concepts of AI and ML are judiciously leveraged.