Whether we discuss K-12 or academic students, the role of education is to prepare young minds for future development as best as possible. With the continued rise of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, being familiar with emerging new tech has become a necessity for students across the globe. According to Adobe, AI has become a norm due to its application in data processing, with worldwide data growth projected to increase by 61 percent by 2025. Additionally, demand for AI-enabled talent has increased twofold in the past years, with tech and financial service companies absorbing 60 percent of young graduates.
This data paints a clear image of the world we live in, as we move away from manual labor and into automation and machine learning. However, simply plugging AI technologies into a classroom without rhyme or reason won’t help students reach their zenith—quite the opposite in fact.
Let’s take a look at what role teachers of today have in the world of tomorrow, as well as the benefits of AI in classrooms.
Role of Teachers in the Digital Age
Before we discuss the net positives of AI in student learning, we should evaluate the position of teachers in the process. According to Upskilled, 48 percent of educators have a strong interest in professional development using digital learning technologies to increase their students’ engagement and achievements. However, around 75 percent of teachers find their workloads unmanageable, as student personalization and curation demands increase each year.
When we discuss AI in education, our first thought goes to the ethical question of using digital technologies with minors who are unfamiliar with it. However, with the internet and social media at their fingertips, children of today are far more tech-savvy than previous generations, making them fit for AI-enabled education. Brian Sinclair, Academic Advisor at Trust My Paper, spoke on the matter recently: “The future is already here. Conservatism and hesitation in terms of active involvement of AI and digital technologies in classrooms can severely handicap students in regards to future career prospects. It falls on the shoulders of teachers and academia to bite the proverbial bullet and offer new learning opportunities to their student bodies.”
In such an environment, the role of teachers is to act as supervisors, intermediaries, mentors, and advisors—not as de facto sources of knowledge. Thus, teachers’ workload becomes more manageable; while each student receives the attention they require in developing much-needed future-proof skillsets.
So, what are the concrete ways in which classrooms benefit from AI integration in 2020 and beyond?
As with any aspect of personal development, every student requires a certain degree of personalization when it comes to his or her education. While some students may excel in STEM fields, others might lean toward arts and crafts, which pose a problem for teachers in regards to curation.
Luckily, by integrating AI technologies as a means to automate mundane tasks related to data processing, teachers can spend more time with their students. Thus, every student can receive more attention, guidance, and mentorship than they otherwise would thanks to newly-implemented AI-based assistance. It’s worth noting, however, that teachers still have the final say in all AI findings and conclusions, relying on the technology only as a tool. This can help keep education grounded firmly in human relations and avoid dystopian situations where AI is solely responsible for the wellbeing of young minds.
Streamlined Student Assessment
Grading is an important yet taxing process that requires teachers, especially in K-12, to assess each student’s body of work with great care and consideration. However, this is sometimes impossible due to the simple fact that teachers are human beings with limited time and energy.
AI technologies can thus find their place in the classroom environment as student assessment algorithms which can help in grading individual projects, papers, and tests. Such assessment can be especially useful in STEM subjects where solutions are somewhat predictable (not in academic levels, however). Again, using AI in such a way can further elevate teachers’ attention toward students themselves rather than paperwork, the bane of formal education.
There are a plethora of benefits to be found in distance-enabled learning, not the least of which is the ability to facilitate a global classroom. Students from across the world can collaborate via AI-enabled platforms with the supervision and guidance of their teachers developing a variety of soft and hard skills.
Mathew Riley, Education Specialist at Top Essay Writing and Content Writer at Best Essay Education spoke briefly: “The world has become smaller. Those of us that belong in the millennial and older generations don’t have the perspective of today’s youth when it comes to digital technologies. That being said, today’s K-12 students are far more apt and welcoming of distance-learning platforms than any of those which preceded them.”
Future Career Enablement
As we’ve touched on previously, integrating AI into classrooms during K-12 education can drastically improve students’ aptitude in IT and tech-related fields. This is further bolstered by the fact that today’s employers already favor candidates with technological literacy far more than their peers.
Further study by Adobe shows that only 17 percent of adults are confident in their ability to use digital tools to pursue further career development. Additionally, 57 percent of employers reinforce the value of soft digital skills in addition to hard skills like programming in terms of digital employee literacy. Thus, students who come into contact with meaningful AI-based learning at an early age won’t have issues with grasping more advanced technological concepts more quickly.
Two-Way Curriculum Feedback
While one-way feedback from a teacher to student isn’t anything new, the opposite can become a revolutionary educational change thanks to AI-based algorithms. Gathering student feedback in regards to AI implementation and subsequent reevaluation of curriculum content can become a reality.
Teachers can use the opportunity to enable chatbots or similar AI algorithms to engage students after each study session and gather comments and suggestions frequently. Thus, students become active participants in how and what they will learn going forward. This can result in much higher student interest in the learning process, as their voices will start to matter more than ever before.
The Future is Now
The prospect of integrating artificial intelligence into classrooms around the world is as wonderful as it is demanding for teachers and students alike. Like any change, the transition toward digital technologies and away from analogue will take years until it functions as intended. However, pioneering an innovative way of teaching, and learning, should be enough to get anyone excited about AI in education.
Author Bio: Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Now she works as a freelance writer at Supremedissertations and ClassyEssay, Kristin also does some editing work at GrabMyEssay. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors.