Artificial intelligence is coming to a classroom near you — and not as a replacement for teachers.
Recent research predicts that the use of AI in the education sector will grow 47.5 percent through 2021, eSchool News reports. Of all the areas where AI might work in K–12, the article indicates the potential to create adaptive learning features that personalize tools for each student’s learning experience is the biggest.
“With some simple input, AI mechanisms can assemble all sorts of narratives for students — about their future, job applications, and ways to make an impact down the road — to inform pursuits now that will lead to desired results,” says Ralph Lucci, co-founder of Behavior Design, in the article.
Some major ed tech providers have already brought AI into education by adding elements of machine learning into their tools.
IBM and Microsoft introduced tools with machine learning to aid students in complex tasks. IBM’s Watson Analytics can answer natural language questions about an uploaded data set, KDnuggets reports. Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning service uses drag-and-drop data. But both are quite complex for K–12 students.
The new smart search function in Google’s G Suite for Education apps is a bit more user-friendly. Students and educators can use the Explore function in Google Sheets to write complex formulas without needing to type them. The tool will translate a question into a spreadsheet formula using natural language processing.
The Next Web reports on a math-tutoring tool called Third Space Learning that has used its cache of student-teacher data to create an AI project to identify positive teaching patterns.
“The company’s goal is to create a platform that gives real-time feedback and helps online tutors become better at teaching. For instance, the system will detect if a student’s reaction to a concept follows a pattern of misunderstanding. By giving early warning to teachers, the platform can help prevent problems further down the road.”
Researchers across the globe are also looking at how AI-enabled robots can help teach basic skills so that educators can focus on more complex topics.
“These sentient tools will take over simple and social tasks that teachers and teaching aids provide today,” Brian David Johnson, a tech futurist, tells EdTech.
Blogger and educator Matthew Lynch writes that the biggest potential with AI is automating some of the menial tasks teachers have to do, like grading.
“With less work for teachers, artificial education can give them more time to create engaging and creative classroom activities, and work on their own professional development,” he writes.