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Emerging Ways that AI is Shaping the Future of Education

Jan 21, 2021 7:19:02 PM / by Ryan Cameron

The advent of artificial intelligence has increased conveniences and sped up an array of processes, affecting us in all aspects of life. And, with the ever-growing urge to make improvements in experiences, and also enhance methods and efficiencies, there is no sign of it stopping.

With this in mind, it is crucial that we resist the tendencies to reject the inevitable and risk missing out on a multitude of opportunities. Here are a few use cases for how AI is already impacting the future of education.

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Personalization Bridges the Gap

The use of artificial intelligence can help bridge this gap between teacher and student, designing a better experience for the remote learner. 

As institutions of higher education grapple with attracting students across the country, professors will have more pressure to deliver a personalized experience despite asynchronous learning. AI can help professors spot trends such as an increase in the number of questions on a given week to hint at whether he or she needs to spend more time reviewing the material or should extend office hours.

Imagine, if teachers had an assistant that would be available to send out information and reminders to students, or answer common questions regarding the course syllabus at all hours, day or night? Or, what about an assistant that posed questions to students that would spark a lively discussion during the next class session?  Such an assistant would not only reduce the teacher workload but would also make a positive impact on the experience of the student. 

AI can also make it easier for professors with large classes to find struggling students so they can provide the necessary support before it’s too late. While detractors may critique bringing this emerging technology to higher ed, it actually enables a higher level of personalization for larger classes than would otherwise be available.

When you consider how AI affects our lives on a daily basis, such as Netflix suggesting shows based on the history of what we have watched, we welcome that and perceive it as a convenience. Basically, Netflix personalized recommendations according to viewing habits, which reduces the amount of time spent searching for something to watch.  

Most of us view that as a positive experience. So, why not incorporate that technology into the educational system? By personalizing the learning journey of each student based on their needs and interests, educators can not only provide more value, but also prep them for a career with little, if any, time in a physical office. 

 

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Customer Service Enhancements

Artificial intelligence also helps streamline many processes that improve customer service.  From the teacher’s assistant being available to answer student questions 24/7, to the admissions process being simplified with other AI programs, response time is shortened, and questions are answered immediately; offering an optimal experience for students and parents. 

Educational institutions including private schools, primary schools, and colleges are frequently overburdened with immense administrative tasks.  Consider the number of students that may attend a single school and then account for the masses of paperwork required for each student from admission paperwork, applications for enrollment and the time-sensitivity involved. 

Whereas much of the work is performed by individuals, universities and other institutions have adopted an AI platform similar to what human resource departments use in managing job applications.  The system works by filtering through batches that meet certain criteria at which point, hired staff steps in to complete the process. 

Just as teachers are immersed in numerous responsibilities, administrative staff are also consumed with taskwork.  With the assistance of AI, some of this workload is reduced.

 

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ASU Taking the Next Step

The AI assistance present on college campuses is not limited to helping teachers and administrative staff. Some are also using it in a way that helps freshmen settle into the new life of attending a college. For example, Arizona State University is using AI-enabled Voice Assistants.  Students are equipped with their own Amazon Alexa device that uses an app specifically designed by the institution to address common questions and also provide information about events and other pertinent campus details. 

 

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Data Mining Works Towards Student Selection

Data mining is already used by companies that focus on retail, communication, marketing, etc. by compiling information about consumer purchases, pricing preferences, and product interests.  This process equips businesses with a way to target specific audiences and cater to their interests as a way of increasing sales and customer loyalty.

Now, it is also being used in the educational field as a way of selecting students for specific courses based on individual grades and academic goals.  Colleges are embracing this technique of smart-data gathering and using the information to target prospective students as well as help engage existing students. 

Additionally, these data mining systems are being used experimentally as a way to provide transitional training to students that will ease them away from the high school classroom environment to the college setting.  

Not only will artificial intelligence help students, but educators have access to courses directed towards personal development which can be attended via virtual global conferences. AI may not be as entangled into the educational sector as it is in other areas, but the adoption of it in several areas of the learning culture is well on the way. 

 

Ryan Cameron

Written by Ryan Cameron

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