Artificial intelligence (AI) is a central part of technology today. It guides subtle things like your Netflix recommendations and more complex systems like business prediction software. As AI influences technology across numerous industries, schools have started to adapt too. AI in education — specifically, AI in K-12 education — will bring about benefits for students and teachers alike.
Two common examples of artificial intelligence in education are assistants and automation, but schools can take these tools even further. With the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic still altering how schools operate, remote learning tools like AI are now more important than ever.
Examples of Artificial Intelligence in Education
As the world creates new technology, schools must adapt. AI for teachers and students provides new opportunities and resources, bringing education to a powerful, accessible level. Here are five ways this is happening in the current school system:
AI in K-12 education can start by making tedious, repetitive tasks easier. Administrative tasks like organizing digital files and transferring documents back and forth can be time-consuming. Similarly, grading and scheduling can take away from teachers’ time with students.
Various types of software will easily automate these tasks. IntelliMetric and Project Essay Grade are two prominent resources that use AI to automatically grade all kinds of assignments, from tests to essays. Tools like these make it easier for teachers to focus on engaging with students. Teachers can assist learners closely without worrying about when they’ll grade papers or check tests.
Florida has taken advantage of AI and integrated an automated checking system into its Putnam County School District. GoGuardian monitors and flags any sites or platforms on the internet that are potentially sensitive, inappropriate or harmful, keeping students safe.
These examples show how automating mundane tasks can go a long way. AI can keep things running smoothly for administrators, teachers and the school as a whole.
When teaching any age group, educators have a lot to focus on. They must balance working with each student and understanding their needs. Depending on the class and school size, teachers may have a lot of students to work with.
An AI assistant for students can go a long way to help everyone in the classroom. These AI assistants could be something as simple as Google Classroom, which can check the originality of a student’s work so the teacher doesn’t have to. Some classrooms may work with home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa. However, since privacy is a main concern for schools and students, some schools are not allowing voice assistants in classrooms.
AI assistants come in all shapes and sizes, though. In December of 2020, the Denver Public Schools district announced its plan to integrate AI assistants for younger students. The tech will help kids engage and participate more frequently in conversations and class activities.
While robot assistants are also possibilities that can engage students, this kind of AI assistance is versatile and could be something as simple as a computer program.
An AI assistant for students opens up a bigger conversation about classroom dynamics. All students are different. They have different needs, preferences and learning styles — and they face various challenges. Personalizing their education is the solution for providing them with the best experience possible.
AI can analyze a student’s progress and see what level they’re at. Based on that information, the teacher can then give them more assistance or resources to keep learning. For instance, personalization of AI in K-12 education could assist in improving students’ reading abilities. Amira is one program that provides feedback while a student reads and can report on errors and progress for each session.
Elsewhere, the Slackwood Elementary School in New Jersey has been using the teaching assistant Happy Numbers. This system analyzes students’ work in math courses and shows teachers who in the classroom is struggling the most. It can offer personalized suggestions on how to help them improve.
Personalization is the gateway to success for students of all ages. AI for teachers and schools helps provide that experience.
Though schools are abundant in the United States and across the world, not every student has access to education. Factors like socioeconomic status, transportation and disabilities may change how much access a student has to the classroom. However, learning can happen anywhere with the help of AI.
AI tutors can integrate with schools or families can access them on their own. These tutors combine the personalization, automation and assistance that AI brings to the classroom. They provide one-on-one guidance in a range of subjects for a range of ages.
University Tutor and Thinkster are two of many examples of AI guides that can help students from any location. Similarly, chatbots use artificial intelligence to answer questions or provide assistance to those who need it. They adapt to the students’ needs as the session continues.
This kind of AI brings better access to students who may not be able to attend school in the traditional sense. This conversation around access has also increased significantly during the pandemic.
5. Accommodations for COVID-19
COVID-19 has made everyone shift to virtual dynamics. From holding fundraising events to listening to lectures, you most likely attend many events virtually from home. School is no different. Though some states and districts have shifted back and forth between in-person and virtual learning, tech reliance has been growing regardless. AI is part of this new movement.
Teachers are now using AI for grading, communicating and assisting students like never before. As educators remain at home and can’t help students in person, tech has been a guiding force throughout the pandemic. For instance, participation may be harder through platforms like Zoom. Instead, teachers may need to use grading automation to get a more accurate representation of the students’ progress.
To properly personalize education from a distance, teachers can also turn to platforms like Brightspace Insights. It collects information in numerous ways to report on what can help students grow. Presentation Translator, a plugin for PowerPoint, can translate slides into different languages in real-time, which is ideal for remote teaching.
The Future of AI in Schools
The main focus for AI in the coming months and years will be to overcome the obstacles it currently faces. Schools will need to ensure the best privacy and security measures when using tech systems that gather so much information and data. The growing distrust of big tech companies will no doubt influence how students, teachers and parents view tech in the classroom.
Once schools ensure their AI is private and secure, they’ll need to find the funding and staff to start making these changes. New systems and software require an IT team for providing training and constant monitoring. Teachers will need to know how to work the AI systems. Schools may even need to soothe fears of losing jobs to technology, too.
However, AI is promising for the future. It shows what’s possible for the classroom — helping students thrive and learn is the ultimate goal. The recurring theme that AI tech shows is that students learn at different paces. The future of education will need to reflect this fluidity.
In 2021, you will see more analytics-based progress. Schools and administrators will take the data that AI systems produce and use that to create and mold courses, lessons and grading systems. This trend will continue past this year, too, and influence the overall personalization and customization of education.
Privacy-Based AI in Education
These examples of artificial intelligence in education are just the beginning. Schools are slowly testing the waters to see how AI in education can work. With the right funding, knowledge and privacy protocols, students and parents can agree that AI for teachers or an AI assistant for students is the right path forward.
How do you think AI will evolve from here? Is it something that will take time to build, or will there be a sudden burst in AI personalization for students?