In this day and age, almost every aspect of our lives is influenced in some way by artificial intelligence. AI powers everything from which video plays next when you’re watching YouTube to whether your job application is accepted or your insurance claim is approved.
Whether we like it or not, our fate is often determined by algorithms that see us as a cloud of data points, not as humans. So, when we apply this technology to a space as fundamental to our society as education, we must make sure that our approach is responsible and equitable—treating the people affected by our tools as human beings.
AI Meets Edu
Whether we like it or not, our fate is often determined by algorithms that see us as a cloud of data points, not as humans.
One of the primary applications of AI is to massively increase an organization’s capacity to do tasks that require some form of reasoning. In education, this increase in capacity is already showing up in numerous forms. At its most basic, grading of multiple choice quizzes and tests is now essentially instantaneous. But machine learning can do much more with that data. For example, it can show where students are thriving and where they need more academic support or even dynamically personalize instructional content to help a child learn effectively.
However, today’s students interact with data in very different ways than we may be used to. Children who have only known a world in which AI-based systems are widespread often turn to search engines to find answers to questions before going to their own parents and teachers. This trend shouldn’t be news to anyone; in fact, evidence of this has been shown more than a decade ago. And as one-to-one device programs gain traction (hitting over 50 percent in 2017, and climbing into the 80 and 90 percent range during the pandemic), it’s safe to assume that more students will be asking their questions to Google before their instructors.
It’s not difficult to see a child’s reasoning behind this. With the wealth of different sources of knowledge available on the internet, why ask a single teacher? Also, asking a search engine avoids awkward or difficult conversations behind more serious questions. And this simple fact highlights both the benefits and obstacles involved with implementing AI in education.
Asking the Difficult Questions
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