AI in education: bringing schools into the digital age

AI in education

For the last decade, the education industry has dabbled with emerging technologies in the hopes of slowly integrating them within their educational models.

However, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic took the sector from carefully dipping their toes into the technological stream and threw it headfirst into an unplanned experiment of online education to hold the fort.

This disruption has been a bumpy ride for schools across the board but could prove to be a blessing in disguise for a sector that may benefit most from these technologies.

And one of the most prevailing techs is artificial intelligence (AI).

According to a report by Research and Markets, in 2019, the global AI in education market reached $1.1 billion in 2019 and is predicted to generate $25.7 billion in 2030, advancing at a 32.9 percent CAGR during the forecast period (2020-2030).

“The rapid growth of AI in education is mainly due to the ability of these solutions to enhance the learning experience is one of the key factors which is anticipated to propel its adoption across the globe for education purposes,” the report said.

Artificial intelligence majorly uses deep learning, machine learning, and advanced analytics especially for monitoring the learning process of the learner such as the marks obtained and speed of a particular individual among others.

The report highlights that the growth of the market is also anticipated to be driven by the growth in the use of multilingual translators which are integrated with AI technology.

What’s happening on the ground?

With any other emerging technologies, there are a few minor drawbacks.

Since AI is still within its infancy, a lack of skilled workforce, high investment costs coupled with the growth in the risk of data security on account of a surge in the number of cyberattacks, is one of the major factors which is anticipated to hamper the growth of artificial intelligence in the education market.

Be that as it may, these obstacles will eventually sort themselves out as the tech gets more and more sophisticated and integrated across the board. 

From there, AI is a major influence on the state of education today, as it carries huge implications on transforming how the overall educational system functions, while elevating the competitive spirit of institutions, and empower educators as well as their students.

The opportunities for AI to support education are so broad that recently Microsoft commissioned research on this topic from IDC to understand where the company can help. The findings illustrate the strategic nature of AI in education and highlight the need for technologies and skills to make the promise of AI a reality.

According to the results, educators were almost unanimous regarding their acceptance of AI integration, with 99.4 percent reporting that AI would be instrumental to their institution’s competitiveness within the next three years, with 15 percent calling it a “game-changer.”

Nearly all are trying to work with it too—92 percent reported that they have started to experiment with the technology.

“Yet on the other hand, most institutions still lack a formal data strategy or practical measures in place to advance AI capabilities, which remains a key inhibitor. The finding indicates that although the vast majority of leaders understand the need for an AI strategy, they may lack clarity on how to implement one. And it could be that they just don’t know where to start,” Dan Ayoub, general manager of education at Microsoft, was quoted as saying.

The benefits of AI

AI in education brings with it a myriad of opportunities that could greatly benefit the education industry; from heightening the student body’s learning experience, relieving the pressure on educators, to lowering an institution’s overall costs.

Let’s jump right in and start discussing them.

1- Easing administrative tasks

Artificial intelligence has the ability to carry the heavy load of dull admin duties for both teachers and their administrations.

The tech can handle anything from grading exams, correcting homework, all while providing analytics and feedback for students. This translates into teachers being freed up to spend more time and care on the kids.

2- Smart content

AI has ushered in a wave of new interactive learning content that help students understand their material in a more fun and engaging manner; the example of smart robots can be given, where algorithms can produce digital content, shying away from the dullness of old school textbooks.

AI systems are using traditional syllabuses to create customized textbooks for certain subjects. As a result, textbooks are being digitized, and new learning interfaces are being created to help students of all academic grades and ages.

Another useful AI interface is the Netex Learning, which enables professors to create electronic curriculums and educative information across a myriad of devices, while including online assistance programs, audios, and illustrative videos.

3- Tailored learning experiences

Similar to how platforms such as Netflix personalize their recommendations, AI in the education sector can do the same. This doesn’t imply that teachers will lose their place in the mix, but rather would allow them to better serve their pupils based off the recommendations given by the AI.

This gives educators a look inside a student’s mind, such as where they need help the most, how to approach the learning method, and magnifies a student’s weakness to better teach them, with the many technological advancements at their disposal.

AI customizes in-class assignments as well as final exams, ensuring that students get the best possible assistance.

Research indicates that instant feedback is one of the keys to successful tutoring. Through AI-powered apps, students get targeted and customized responses from their teachers. Teachers can condense lessons into smart study guides and flashcards.

4- Education beyond borders

Technology can break the physical restrictions of education by allowing students from all over the world to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of an institution miles away.

While the integration of technologies such as AI greatly enhances the state of learning, it also equips the student body with much needed IT skills, which would later unlock the availability of online courses on a vast array of topics.

It comes as no surprise that the education sector worldwide needed a shake up from its core; while the pandemic represented a difficult time for students, and schools across the world, the events of this year could be the spark that ignites this much needed change.

With that in mind, educational institutions cannot ignore the rise of eLearning, and must keep up with the winds of change ushered in by technology to decentralize the learning process, as it adapts to the needs of an ever-changing society.