Artificial Intelligence will give the scale to provide good quality education across the country at low cost and without the need for equivalent manpower.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) today has occupied centre stage, we hear about it all the time and here’s what it is all about. It has been an intriguing topic since the late 90s for the common man, but only in the context of sci-fi Hollywood movies like Star Trek or Star Wars. Thanks to the immense progress in technology, AI is now being used by many of us in our day to day life. For example, today many homes are using Amazon’s Alexa, an AI-based assistant. In fact, many of the support queries by airlines, banks, food delivery apps, etc., are being handled by smart AI is driven chatbots. This proves that AI is quickly making deep inroads in many walks of life, thanks to the rapid technological advancements in the last decade which allow huge storage of data and high computational ability.
The industry where AI can possibly make the biggest impact is education. So, before we delve more into it, let us, first understand what AI is in simple terms. AI is the ability of machines or computer programs to think and learn. The idea is to use the huge computing power of machines and make them think, learn and make decisions like humans.
Below are a few ways in which AI could effectively be used in the Indian education system:
1) Adapting to the Needs of the Student
For years, child psychologists and educators have been constantly talking about the fact that each child is special, with a unique combination of abilities and needs that affect learning. And all children deserve the opportunity to learn in a way that utilises their strengths and helps them overcome their weaknesses. But in a regular school system, with large classrooms, limited time and resources, adapting the teaching style for each student is not possible. This is where AI can make a huge difference, it can understand the strengths and learning gaps of each child and adjust the pace of learning to suit their needs.
2) Delivering Personalised Content to the Student
AI has the potential to change the present single uniform content delivery mechanism. It can personalize the learning experience of the child to suit his/her learning style. So, in an AI based system, a child who is a visual learner will get an animated video, an auditory learner will get an audio of a teacher explaining the concept and a child who loves to read, would get a book or an article for the same lesson. Similarly, the questions that the child solves moves from easy to difficult as the child’s learning progresses.
3) Automated Grading
Grading tests and exam papers are tedious and time-consuming, an AI-enabled system can auto-grade different types of questions such as essays, long-form and not just the multiple-choice questions. This would allow teachers to save a lot of time and use it to interact with students.
4) Providing Actionable Feedback to the Teachers
In a regular, pen and paper test, it is not possible for a teacher to analyse the child’s learning gaps. The teacher can only say whether the child understood the tested concept or not. But the child may have existing learning gaps in related concepts which may be hampering his/her ability to learn a new concept. With AI, teachers can get precise actionable data on student performance and hence can provide students with the help they need to succeed.
5) Changing the Role of Teachers
One key aspect of education that will not change is the teacher. AI-based tools will never replace the teacher but their role will evolve. The teacher would become a facilitator of learning, assisting students, providing human interaction and more hands-on experience in the classrooms. Students will become owners of their own learning process and this will significantly improve learning outcomes and quality of education.
Artificial Intelligence is soon going to be the wind of change that would impact the education industry. Artificial Intelligence will give the scale to provide good quality education across the country at low cost and without the need for equivalent manpower. So, all stakeholders should welcome this as it would have a long term positive impact for our country’s place in the digital and globalized world.
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