Every year, education finds new ways to make learning more inclusive and diversified. The latest change agent is Artificial Intelligence (AI), now being used in classes to focus learning, simplify redundant tasks, and infuse lesson plans. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Kamy Anderson has eight practical ways to use AI in learning:
Artificial intelligence (AI) is disrupting the education industry. Traditional classrooms may not go extinct anytime soon, but edtech will certainly change the way we learn and think about learning. It’s already challenging us, as educators, to revisit our role as sole providers of formal knowledge and professional L&D. And we must admit, AI is making things better and easier.
These are the eight practical ways to use AI in learning:
1. Smarter Content
The primary ability of AI is to collect and analyze data. Not only is this technology designed to sift through massive amounts of information but it is also ingrained with powerful curation capabilities. As a result, AI helps create smart educational content that’s being used in both classrooms and online courses. Using AI, we can deliver textbooks, lesson summaries, and flashcards that are highly focused, relevant, and applicable. Moreover, AI-empowered edtech can keep updating content with the latest findings from leading academic researchers and scientists.
2. Videos and Tutorials
As an authoring tool, AI goes beyond textbooks and traditional studying guides. After all, this is the age of digital content and interactive mediums. It is only natural that this cutting-edge technology can create videos, infographics, and slideshows for learning purposes.
We’ve long struggled with ways to motivate students and keep them engaged during classroom lectures and online courses. Gamification seems to be one of the most effective approaches we could find, but it wasn’t until AI that we could unlock its full potential. Today, AI-based VR technology allows us to emulate real-life scenarios and create immersive learning experiences. As a part of experiential learning, gamification boosts not only engagement but also retention level of learners. Potential applications of AI are unlimited in this context.
4. Personalized Learning
Then again, not all students thrive on gamification. Learning styles, behaviors, and habits have become more diverse. The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t suffice anymore, with the eLearning environment growing more inclusive and capable of catering to different, highly specific needs of individual students. And thanks to AI, it’s all because of its ability to monitor and learn. Especially in terms of online courses, we can now speak of self-paced, personalized learning paths based on individual interests, ambitions, and requirements. Without AI, this level of individualization would hardly be achievable in learning environments.
5. Digital Mentorship
AI relies on machine learning (ML) algorithms and natural language processing (NLP). Taken together, these two capabilities enable chatbots and other digital assistants to communicate with students and provide real-time guidance and support 24/7 across all devices. Chatbots can answer students’ questions, provide explanations to abstract concepts, and forward learning materials on demand. This way, points of confusion can be addressed and resolved the moment they occur, enabling successful knowledge acquisition.
6. Continual L&D
Organizations can leverage AI for professional L&D too. In both on-boarding and employee training programs, edtech can help businesses reduce learning times and turnover rates. More importantly, AI enables continual learning and development based on role requirements as opposed to traditional training.
7. Automated Grading
AI helps automate administration across the industry beyond everyday routine tasks. We’ve already mentioned how this technology can optimize the content creation process by researching, curating, and updating learning materials, but that’s certainly not all. Let’s take online assessment tests as an example. Artificial intelligence can automate grading in online courses too, though this capability is currently limited to multiple-choice tests. Soon enough, AI will also be able to assess written responses. With that, assessments will be fully automated and error-free.
8. Real-Time Tracking
Many current benefits of educational AI would not be possible without this technology’s unique ability to track and analyze student progress in real time. This enables us to provide personalized guidance to students, as well as detect knowledge gaps. Consider the many implications of this functionality. By analyzing students’ key performance indicators, AI can give real-time recommendations of what needs to be improved and in which direction individual learning paths should develop. Using this insight, we can keep maximizing their performance indefinitely.
At the same time, we can gain a deeper understanding of the students’ needs and pain points and adjust our courses accordingly. It’s not hard to see how this capability can play a crucial role in the further development of teaching techniques and educational institutions.
Whether we like it or not, AI will transfor m the global learning environment as we know it. The only thing we can do about it is to embrace the change and reap the benefits. Luckily for our students, they will make education more personalized, engaging, and effective.
Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools – currently associated with ProProfs Training Maker.
More on education reform
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and TeachHUB, and author of two tech thrillers. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
I haven’t written much about IoT (the Internet of Things–see the end of this article for more resources on IoT) and education. I do talk about it in my Digital Citizenship grad school class (if you click the link, it’s MTI 557) but haven’t turned those ideas into blogs yet. Thank you, Jane, Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, for writing a quick overview of that topic’s intersection with education.
Even though 86% of universities currently educate students with disabilities, only 24% of the schools say that they offer those students assistance “to a major extent.” The schools that do place emphasis on the needs of their students often have programs that encourage accessibility as well as accessible classrooms. Smart technology that is connected by the Internet of Things (IoT), however, is beginning to change all of this by making classrooms and campuses around the country more accessible while crafting a better learning environment for every student.
Crafting Smart, Accessible Learning Environments
Students with physical disabilities that affect their mobility can often find it hard to access learning spaces. Integrating smart, connected technology into college campuses is a way to prevent these issues from affecting disabled students or those with lower mobility. Mobility-friendly stairlifts and motion-sensitive doors, for example, are ways in which smart technology is used to allow students with disabilities to easily access buildings and classrooms. Using smart technology to accomplish this is nothing new. Other industries that cater to the elderly population, people with limited mobility due to obesity and the housing sector already utilizing technology to improve health and increase accessibility. All of these solutions have come to fruition based on, first, the concept of universal design and, second, the idea that technology can be used in innovative ways to enhance life in practically any way possible.
As one who manages way too many online accounts, I read this article from Ask a Tech Teacher contributor and CyberSecurity expert (retired), Sam Bocetta with interest. My checklist (green for good and red for ‘need help’):
- I’m paranoid about links and downloads
- I check for virus and malware regularly
- Ooops–don’t yet use a VPN
- I should pay more attention to my passwords
- I am religiously careful of email
- Yep–switched to HTTPS for my blogs and websites
- I update software when prompted (that’ll have to be black)
Read Sam’s article below. When you’re done, evaluate your cybersecurity safety.
The topic of cybersecurity is becoming something people of all ages worry about. This is largely due in part to the rise in malware, ransomware, and infections people have experienced over the last year.
As a parent, I fondly remember browsing bookstores with my children. We probably went there with a specific book in mind, one required for school, but ended up taking our time exploring all the tomes available. Though bookstores remain, too often, parents simply buy books online–digitally or print, doesn’t matter–and miss out on that opportunity to discover new worlds.
That’s why when Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Alex Mitchell, suggested this article–The Future of Physical Bookstores in The Digital Age–I said yes almost before reading it. You’ll find Alex has written a thoughtful analysis of what’s going on with physical bookstores in an ebook era:
The Future of Physical Bookstores in the Digital Age
Brick and mortar bookstores have been a dying breed in recent years. It seems every time we turn around another handful of locations are closing.
When Amazon released the Kindle in 2007 authors began to see the end of times. Worries about cheap, sometimes poorly edited, and often over-saturated eBook markets seemed like they would be the death of the printed word. Another supposed threat to the print book is torrenting and online downloads of materials.
However, in recent years it seems that print books have been selling better and better.
It is surprising, then, that many noted names in the book industry have been hit hard in recent years. People have noticed that there has been a slump in sales for Barnes and Noble, and the company has closed many locations. Additionally, the popular entertainment store Hasting’s was bought and liquidated in 2016 after failing to gain investors during their bankruptcy protection period.
Here’s an interesting piece from Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Jane Sandwood, on the explosion of wearable technology and its place in the education ecosystem:
As of 2015, 94% of K-12 students had a computer in their home, with 61% of the same demographic having internet access as well. With the rapid and constant growth of technology combined with the myriad of ways that it’s permeated the lives of all of society, especially youth, there’s no place where technology is wholly absent. As a result of this, wearable technology has advanced farther than phones in pockets and can include things as advanced as virtual reality headsets that allow students to experience a completely different atmosphere.
Though it can feel easy to become overwhelmed by technology, the reality is that technology of all sorts and types is here to help us, and nowhere is this more true than in the field of education. The vast majority of students are inseparable from the technology that they carry with them daily. Because of this, education must look at ways to coexist and thrive with the technology rather than shun it.
Helping to Hear
Education doesn’t stop outside of the classroom. Utilizing modern audio technology allows an incredible amount of versatility to when lectures can be accessed. Oftentimes, lectures will be entirely delivered in audio, causing there to be little to no loss in learning from the loss of the visual aspect.
Audio technology is especially portable and non-intrusive to in-classroom lessons as well. Headphones can be used to hear the lesson more clearly if students are far from the instructor or hard of hearing. There are also countless well-made translator apps that can help students that don’t natively speak the language of the lesson to understand what they’re being taught.
For a decade, when I thought of desktop publishing, I turned to Microsoft Publisher. I loved its flexibility, adaptability, and ease of use both for classroom projects and home. But then I moved on to other alternatives, like Lucid Press that were more flexible and affordable for educational purposes.
Really, I didn’t see a lot of other alternatives until Sara Stringer, from the Ask a Tech Teacher, came up with this great article about desktop publishing options. Some of these–like Word–have changed so much over the years that they are now a provide reasonable alternatives to laying out an attractive professional design in a program everyone is familiar with:
Technology advanced drastically in the past few years, allowing people to create different products with the aid of a computer. One of the most popular products that were drastically improved by the presence of technology is printed materials, which were commercially printed from a single file that was created using desktop publishing software. Printing digital files can be performed in a short period of time, with the finished product being bound with the help of a strong type of glue or screw posts, which securely holds the pages together.
With the prevalence of digital computers, tablets, and smartphones nowadays, people could easily create their own digital files with the help of software programs. Publishers would have total control of the things that they wanted to do, and their ideas could produce high-end digital published materials such as brochures, menus, books, and magazines, among others. It is important to find out the best software program that will be used by a desktop publisher. Because there are many available software programs in the market today, the preference among publishers varies. The following software programs are the most common desktop publishing tools used by amateurs and professionals:
Virtual Reality–VR–is the 2018 buzzword among students, teachers, and even parents. And rightfully deserved, VR has the ability to recreate so many of the rules that used to shape education. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Sara Stringer, shares her opinion on the key factors that could affect the importance of VR to education:
Opinion: How VR Will Impact Student Education
Virtual reality (VR) is an exciting new concept that continues to shape how users see the world around them. It’s one of the few technologies that inspires students who have never known life without smartphones and the internet.
The learning potential of VR is incredible. It offers new ways to inspire and engage students and will undoubtedly have a greater presence in education as the technology becomes more available. In particular, students who are enrolled in online charter schools can greatly benefit from these technological advances. However, to really predict the prevalence of virtual reality in the future of education, we have to take a look at three key factors.
One of the things that makes VR so universal is its ease of use for students of all ages.
Younger students—preschool to early elementary—typically learn through experience. Putting them into immersive environments can complement the learning they’re doing at home or in the classroom and extend their understanding of new concepts and ideas. Through VR, they can visit far-off places, see dinosaurs walk the earth, and observe wildlife in their natural habitats.
VR gives students more contextual information to what they’re learning. Reading or watching videos about the tides is one thing; being submerged in the ocean to witness the influence they have on sea life is another. It can also unlock students’ potential and keep them engaged no matter what subject they’re learning. They can gain new perspectives on the people, places, cultures, and subjects they’re studying. More complex subjects, like anatomy, can come to life for older students. Not only can they virtually visit a lab, but they can hold a heart in their hand.
All around the country, schools are turning around education through the use of technology. Here are two, one in Hawaii and one in California that show you steps that might work for you:
[caption id="attachment_59609" align="alignright" width="300"] Kalakaua Middle School leadership team gets into the spirit to boost positive behavior.[/caption]
King David Kalakaua MS, Hawaii
When innovative school leaders decided to try a new technology program at King David Kalakaua Middle School this year, they hoped recognizing students’ good behavior would lessen their bad behavior. Their goal was to improve school climate and build positive relationships with everyone on campus by focusing on the positive. In less than six months, not only have they met that goal, but they also changed their peer’s perception of “trouble” students and helped boost grades.
“We feel like it’s had a major impact on students,” says MTSS Coordinator, Tiana Kamiko. She spearheaded the program with her fellow Behavioral Health Specialist Kristen Shimabukuro. “The campus itself feels happier. The kids are smiling more. Just the other day, we had a student telling Kristen that we’re part of the reason he likes to come to school now.”
The idea of rewarding students for positive behavior has a long history in schools, and numerous studies have shown the practice can improve student behavior, reduce suspensions, and even boost student achievement. It is, however, unusual for a school to see such a large jump in so many categories so quickly.
This topic that is close to my tech teacher soul. It has become a familiar argument between those who believe children intuitively learn to type (“see them on smartphones and iPads–they don’t need help”) and those of us who believe instruction makes them better, faster. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, James Lovelock, discusses this:
Explicit typing, simulated application and practical application – Why is this not a thing?
When it comes to education, there has always been a call for approaches that are more grounded in context. For example, you could just look at a map and do some measurements, or you can get out there with a trusty surveyor’s wheel and chart a space and learn real applications. It makes perfect sense to do this, practical application proves relevance and also allows for greater engagement.
Having said that, one would not do this without first explaining the concepts and practicing the basics of measurement. Yet all too often, when it comes to touch-typing that is exactly what occurs, students are expected to just ‘pick it up’ as they go along because the work required to develop the skill correctly can be viewed as “unnecessary,” “too time-consuming,” or “artificial learning.”