Why AI in Education?
Artificial intelligence refers to a broad class of systems that enable machines to mimic advanced human capabilities. It allows people to take advantage of data and analytics to automate everyday tasks or enhance experiences. Today, AI is used across industries, including retail, banking, manufacturing, and more. You may not realize it, but you encounter AI systems whenever you interact with chatbots, click on recommendations on a website, or view spelling errors when writing an email or text. With AI prevalent in our everyday lives, a natural extension is to find ways to apply AI in education to benefit students, teachers, and staff.
Incorporating intelligent technology, like AI, into schools to take on repetitive or time-consuming tasks helps to make teachers and administrators more available and able to focus on the most human-centric aspect of their jobs, enabling students and staff to succeed.
How Can AI Be Used in Education?
AI in schools can create an opportunity to make teaching and administrative tasks easier so educators and admins can focus more on engaging directly with and supporting students, staff, and other stakeholders.
Administrators and office staff can use AI to help track student attendance, keep record of when parents report known absences, or notify parents about unplanned absences or tardiness. By automating attendance taking, admins and office staff can divert their attention to more important tasks such as providing necessary help for teachers and students throughout the day or for visitors or others who contact or visit the school.
Teachers can use AI systems to go through students’ essays and check for grammar, sentence structure, and plagiarism. AI can also see if students accurately understood their assignments and if they correctly wrote about the prompt that was given to them. Instead of countless hours meticulously going through pages and pages of essays, teachers can have an AI system take a first pass at each essay before doing their own review, giving them more free time to work one-on-one with students or on other necessary tasks.
Student and Class Comprehension
Teachers already have some options for automatically determining student scores on tests, depending on the test-taking method. AI systems can help teachers further identify general comprehension of certain subjects. For example, with AI-driven insights, teachers could quickly get a sense for how well students or a class understood topics based on individual and collective scores on assignments and tests. Teachers could then use this information to identify if they need to address those topics again in class or personalize student learning in some way based on individual knowledge gaps. Similarly, this information could help administrators and district employees determine if such topics are generally understood across classrooms and other schools, informing curriculum changes or identifying where enhancements are needed.
AI systems can also help students with visual or auditory impairments by recording lectures and using speech-to-text technology. Additionally, if students have trouble focusing in class because they’re busy trying to take notes, AI could be used to create a transcript synced with an audio recording of the class so students could go back and listen or read what a teacher said at a specific moment. This also frees up time for teachers, as they don’t have to provide students with their own lesson recaps and notes.
AI in Education Case Study: EnglishHelper
EnglishHelper, a language learning technology company and social enterprise headquartered in New Delhi, recognized challenges with teaching English literacy and proficiency in government-run schools across India. Partnered with Intel, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Schoolnet India, they developed an AI-based, text-to-speech, multisensory reading and comprehension tool, ReadToMe.
AWS used the built-in AI acceleration capabilities of Intel® Xeon® processors and tool libraries to accelerate ReadToMe’s machine learning algorithms and improve app performance for users. Results from using the software-based program have shown a 20 to 40 percent improvement in students’ English-based reading and comprehension. ReadToMe is used today by more than 10 million students in over 25,000 government-run schools across India.
Enabling Teachers and Staff with AI Systems
In an education setting, AI is not meant to replace teachers or administrators. Rather, AI in schools can help automate tasks that teachers and administrators find themselves spending too much time on. With all the responsibilities teachers and administrators have, AI can take over those time-consuming tasks so they can focus on enabling students to succeed in school and their futures.