Tech

“AI can play a very useful and supportive role in teaching and learning”

AI may conjure up images of the renegade computer Hal 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but technology is now quietly fueling many areas of our lives.

Many industries, especially online research but also logistics, e-commerce and banking, have adopted AI, at least in part. But there is currently little focus on the practical potential of technology in the world of education.

At first glance, there may be some distrust of this advanced technology in a world that relies on human relationships, even as learning technology is playing an increasingly important role in students’ lives. But AI can play a very useful and supportive role in teaching and learning.

Before we get into why AI should play a bigger role in education, we should separate fact from fiction. AI programs have no intention of developing sensitivity, despite recent claims from a Google engineer, let alone the decision to act against our interests. Artificial intelligence is a code, a set of algorithms built in such a way as to make it possible, in a certain sense, to “learn” from experience, derive insights from this information and then make rational and informed decisions. In our case, this involves presenting our AI algorithms with a large amount of data – drawn from over 2 million hours of online classes that have taken place on our platform since 2016 – which they can then use to make informed decisions.

If AI algorithms have been exposed to a sufficient number of data points, they can develop finely tuned knowledge of the difference between academic subject areas and the topics and subtopics within each subject.

This mass of information – which includes transcribed recordings of the spoken word, shared resources and notes and annotations made on our platform’s whiteboard – is made up of tens of millions of data points which are then “learned” by our algorithms. The insights derived from this information can be used to support teaching and learning in various ways.

For example, technology can provide educators with information about their online teaching and mentoring that can then be used to refine and reshape future sessions with their students. By combining student feedback and assessments with AI insights into the composition of lessons or teaching sessions, such as the amount of time they spend on particular topics and the amount of time they talk to their students, they can change their approach for the future Lessons.

In addition to enabling more focused teaching, AI can also help students get more value from their classes or online teaching. If AI algorithms have been exposed to a sufficient number of data points, they can develop finely tuned knowledge of the difference between academic subject areas and the topics and subtopics within each subject. Insights like this now allow us to provide features that allow students not only to create their own personal review library, but also to automatically tag and classify it. When the student is reviewing this resource to review their understanding of a particular topic, this AI technology can suggest related topics and concepts, giving students the means to easily connect learning concepts without a teacher or tutor being there. to guide them.

The ability of AI to understand images is a nascent but rapidly evolving technology. Advances in this area have major implications for teaching and learning. AI can help here by learning to recognize different types of images and accurately archive them so that when it comes to the tutor or teacher preparing a lesson, they will be able to access those resources much more efficiently. The algorithms will do their job under the hood and recommend the diagram or resource they need.

Looking ahead, we are moving towards a situation where AI will be able to produce new original assets based on other similar assets it has already “learned”. It is a development that could potentially save educators many hours of preparation time.

We are seeing the beginning of the practical application of AI technology in teaching and learning and I believe it will ultimately have a profoundly positive impact as educators begin to discover and understand the true potential of the technology. Hal 9000 and his malicious intent can remain firmly in the realm of science fiction: we can make AI work in reality for the benefit of students, teachers and tutors.

Will Chambers is co-founder of Bramble Technologies.


Read more: Finnish education company launches an online AI quiz tool

“AI can play a very useful and supportive role in teaching and learning”

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