Does the Education System need an intelligent assistant ?

Source: Deep Learning on Medium

As Malcom X said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”. In order to shape and design a good, well living future, we must plan the necessary steps today. The paramount act should be altering the education system because it does not answer today’s technological needs and for sure, it will not be sufficient in the future.

We are on the verge of the fourth industrial revolution but today’s education systems of the modern world was created for earlier industrial needs. The main progress and difference of industry 4.0 is we have more computing power, we have more technology and we can solve our problems with strong intelligent automation and decision algorithms called Artificial Intelligence. Do we need these computer systems to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence in our education systems? As every living creature evolves, this old school educational system needs a big change. Elementary schools, High Schools, Universities today all need to revise and adopt AI to their systems.

In classical education system, the only way to measure a student’s performance and skill is through tests, homework and assignments. Students have to prove themselves by getting good grades on these tests. Today with progress of Industry 4.0, new skills have to be developed. These are decision-making, social interaction, creative thinking, creativity, Emotional Intelligence and so on. However, this old education system cannot help students to improve their skill sets. There are two ways of merging AI into our education.

First way, as discussed by futurists, technology writers and modern education specialists AI can replace traditional, old school human teachers. An AI driven robot will monitor children’s development and cognitive skills, will teach children with a nice human tone for sympathy. With monitoring each student personally, the algorithm will learn and decide which talent is suitable for the specific student. AI can personalize the curriculum and teach according to the learning rate of the specific child. Some children learn very fast and some learn slowly, some learn with examples, some learn with theory. AI can analyze the way children learn and adopt the teaching methods accordingly.

Second way, the traditional system continues with the assist of an Artificial Intelligence application. AI system will observe and watch students, gather data during lectures.

The collected data will be modelled and analyzed and then AI will identify teaching patterns and create personalized learning plans and methods. The teacher then can focus on developing the weak skills of the student by using these plans. The focus of the teacher, new predictive analysis, reports and visualization tools will help students to succeed. It will be time-consuming because AI application will get all the unnecessary workload off teachers back like assignment grading, preparing curriculum, office hours etc. Teachers will have more free time to educate, improve themselves. People that are more qualified will want to be in this profession with the advancing of the standard.

I think AI-assisted system seems more applicable and more human friendly. Although it needs more time, some institutions starts use these systems and gets very well oriented results. Let us look at some examples of Artificial Intelligence used in Education.

First example, Content Technologies, Inc., an artificial intelligence development company specializing in automation of business processes and intelligent instruction design has created a suite of smart content services for secondary education and beyond. Cram101, for example, uses AI to help disseminate and breakdown textbook content into digestible “smart” study guide that includes chapter summaries, true false and multiple choice practice tests, and flashcards.

Second example, is Staffordshire University which developed Beacon with cloud service provider ANS and launched it in January this year. The chat bot, which can be downloaded in a mobile app, enhances the student experience by answering timetable questions and suggesting societies to join.

Last but not least, at the Montour School District in Pennsylvania, students use tablets and smart assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to explore the mechanisms of machine learning. AI-enabled teaching assistants and mobile applications help educators meet that challenge, using input from students to adjust course materials through educational apps, leaving teachers’ time to conduct the interpersonal aspects of their curricula.

In conclusion, with the new era of fourth Industrial Revolution, new technological developments emerges. This will affect every aspect of our daily lives. In order to get ready for the future, we must shape the future by changing our education system so that our children will be ready for the big change. As Justin Aglio, Pennsylvania Montour’s director of academic achievement and district innovation, says, “It’s the people who program artificial intelligence and technology, will change the future,”