Classroom Revolution: AI and Education
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all around us and is frequently used on a daily basis, from Siri to Alexa, to things we might not think about, like how emails are filtered into primary, social, and promotions. But right now, we are in the midst of a revolution in a place we would have never expected: our classrooms. AI and technology is already revolutionizing our classrooms and education. Thousands of students are attending school online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teachers are bombarded with questions everyday, ranging from general ones about things like due dates to very personal and specific ones. Some teachers also teach large classes or classes that are online with students from all around the world that speak different languages or log on to class at different times. There’s no way that a teacher would be able to get to all of these students, even with the help of human aides. Ashok Goel, a teacher at Georgia Tech, was in this kind of situation. He taught both small, in-person classes and large online classes with students from all over the world. To help him with this, he designed an AI Assistant, who he named Jill Scott. Jill lives on the Piazza, which is a message board similar to Microsoft Outlook that is used by Georgia Tech. She answers the routine questions, which are a majority of the questions, like things regarding file type and office hours, while the human TAs answer the more personal and specific questions. Jill was found to be highly successful with students, as a lot of them got the help that they needed and also didn’t realize that they were talking to an AI!
AI can also help with grading. The simple things, like multiple choice tests, are already really easy to grade. Students fill out a scantron, and it is scanned by a camera which sees which bubbles are filled out and compares it to the answer key. AI can do this faster and can also be expanded to grade things like short answer questions, which are already done on many online institutions such as Khan Academy.
In the near future as more and more teachers get AI teaching assistants, they can focus more on student-teacher relationship and making sure that the students understand the concepts while the AI focuses on menial things like grading and answering routine questions.
It’s a fact: Not everyone learns the same way. From the different learning styles to different learning speeds, not everyone will fit the mold of what is used in schools. This can cause a lot of students to have worse grades than their peers, especially in more advanced classes. AI can solve this with personalized learning. The AI can analyze a student’s data and personalize the course to them, handing over more control to the student rather than predetermined pathways. This will also allow the students to figure more out for themselves, which means that there will be less students that are spoon fed their material. This has already been implemented in many schools in China. Students put on a headband that tracks their brain waves during a lesson. The teacher can then see which students were paying attention, which weren’t, and which were having a hard time. They can then give each student extra material to work on depending on the
data. The data is also sent to their parents so that they can review it with the child and help them. While this technology is still a bit primitive, it has already seen a lot of success in China.
Humans have unconscious bias everyday. While some of it is harmless, a lot of it can lead to prejudice in various circumstances. In the education world, bias can cause a lot of harm to a student. AI can reduce a lot of bias when it comes to things like grading. Because AI looks explicitly at data and not anything else, it can give accurate grades and accurate information on how a student can improve, without any bias coming in the way. If, for example, a group of teachers are selecting which students will get into an AP class, they can use the AI to make a prediction as to which students will have the highest likelihood of succeeding in the class. Plus, the results can be tested and validated. Furthermore, AI can be programmed to ignore demographic information about a candidate so that each student can be looked at objectively.
In conclusion, our classrooms are being revolutionized everyday with new technology, and AI is just one of them. AI can help reduce bias, personalize learning for each student, and assist teachers in their instruction. The very education system itself could change depending on how successful AI is implemented into our classrooms, which is why it is so important to implement AI.
Gomez, Diego. “How AI Can Stop Unconscious Bias In Recruiting.” Ideal, 18 June 2020, ideal.com/unconscious-bias/.
Mauri, Jacopo. “4 Benefits Of AI In Personalized Learning.” ELearning Industry, 6 May 2020, elearningindustry.com/benefits-of-artifcial-intelligence-in-personalized-learning.
Leopold, Todd. “A Professor Built an AI Teaching Assistant for His Courses - and It Could Shape the Future of Education.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 22 Mar. 2017, www.businessinsider.com/a-professor-built-an-ai-teaching-assistant-for-his-courses-and-it-could-shape-the-future-of-education-2017-3.
Written by Yash Pachori, a Siliconvalley4u's coding academy student