Perspective: AI in Education
Perspective: AI in Education
Context: Technology is a key factor in education, and it has become more widespread than ever before due to easy access to smart devices and online learning materials. Another aspect that has emerged is the development of Artificial Intelligence.
- AI can revolutionize education by making it more productive, effective, and reachable to students across the globe. However, experts say it is essential to ensure that the use of AI in education is ethical and responsible and that it supports the work of human teachers rather than supplanting them.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education
- Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of machines to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as reasoning, learning, decision-making, and creativity.
- AI has been increasingly applied to various domains of human activity, including education.
- AI in education refers to the use of AI technologies and methods to enhance teaching and learning processes and outcomes.
Some of the features of AI in education are:
- AI can provide personalized and adaptive learning experiences for learners based on their preferences, needs, goals, and progress. For example, AI can recommend suitable learning materials, activities, and feedback for each learner, or adjust the difficulty level and pace of instruction according to the learner's performance and engagement.
Intelligent tutoring systems
- AI can simulate human tutors and provide one-on-one or group tutoring for learners on various subjects and skills. For example, AI can generate questions, hints, explanations, and feedback for learners, or scaffold their problem-solving and critical thinking processes.
- AI can collect, analyze and visualize large amounts of data from various sources related to teaching and learning processes and outcomes. For example, AI can monitor and measure learners' behaviors, emotions, motivations, and achievements, or provide insights and recommendations for teachers, learners, and administrators to improve teaching and learning effectiveness and efficiency.
- AI can create engaging and immersive learning environments for learners through games and simulations. For example, AI can design realistic scenarios, characters, and interactions for learners to explore experiment, and collaborate with others, or provide feedback and rewards for learners' actions and choices.
Significances of AI in Education
Enhancing teaching quality
- AI can support teachers' capabilities and capacities by providing them with tools and resources to support their instructional design, delivery, and evaluation. For example, AI can help teachers create personalized and adaptive learning plans for each learner, or provide them with real-time data and feedback on learners' progress and performance.
Improving learning outcomes
- AI can improve learners' cognitive, affective, and social outcomes by providing them with optimal learning experiences that suit their differences and needs. For example, AI can help learners acquire deeper knowledge, higher-order skills, and lifelong learning habits, or foster their motivation, engagement, and well-being.
Promoting educational equity
- AI can promote educational equity by providing access to quality education for all learners regardless of their backgrounds, abilities, and locations. For example, AI can help bridge the digital divide by offering low-cost and scalable solutions for remote and rural areas or address the learning gaps by offering personalized and adaptive support for diverse and disadvantaged learners
Advancing educational innovation
- AI can advance educational innovation by creating new possibilities and opportunities for teaching and learning that were not feasible before. For example, AI can enable new pedagogies such as flipped classrooms, blended learning, and project-based learning, or new modalities such as mobile learning, online learning, and virtual reality.
In India, the government has taken several steps to promote AI in education, to enhance access, quality, and equity of learning outcomes. Some of these steps are:
National Education Policy (NEP) 2020
- Launching the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 emphasizes the need to integrate AI and other emerging technologies in the curriculum at all levels of education, from school to higher education. The NEP also proposes to establish a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) to facilitate the adoption of technology-based innovations in education.
- As a step towards enhancing technology integration in schools, the CBSE introduced Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the school curriculum from classes VI to X.
National Artificial Intelligence Mission
- Setting up the National Artificial Intelligence Mission (NAIM) will focus on creating a conducive ecosystem for AI research and development, innovation, and adoption in various domains, including education.
- The NAIM will also establish Centres of Excellence (CoEs) for AI, which will conduct application-based research and provide training and skilling opportunities for students and teachers.
- Collaborating with international partners, such as the US and Japan, to foster AI innovation and cooperation in education and other sectors. For instance, the US-India Artificial Intelligence Initiative (USIAI) was launched in March 2021 to bring together key stakeholders from both countries to share ideas and experiences, identify new opportunities, and facilitate bilateral collaboration in AI.
Support for other initiatives
- Supporting various initiatives and projects that leverage AI for enhancing educational outcomes, such as digital platforms, adaptive learning systems, personalized tutoring, intelligent assessment tools, etc. For example, DIKSHA is a national digital infrastructure that provides access to high-quality e-content and learning resources for teachers and students.
- Encouraging the development of a vibrant AI start-up ecosystem in India, which can offer innovative solutions for addressing educational challenges and gaps. For example, NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) provides support and mentorship to young entrepreneurs and innovators who are working on AI and other technologies.
AI in education in India is expected to play a key role in achieving the country's 2030 goals, which are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. One of these goals is to significantly increase the number of qualified teachers and improve their professional development. AI can help in this regard by providing teachers with data-driven insights, feedback, and guidance for improving their pedagogical skills and practices.
AI also poses some challenges and risks for education, such as:
- AI involves the collection, processing, and use of large amounts of personal data from learners and teachers, which raises concerns about privacy, security, consent, ownership, and accountability. AI also involves the use of algorithms that may be biased, unfair, opaque, or unexplainable, which may affect the quality and validity of educational decisions and outcomes. Moreover, AI may have social and moral implications for human dignity, autonomy, agency, identity, and values.
- AI may not be able to capture the complexity and diversity of human learning processes and outcomes. AI may also not be able to account for the contextual factors that influence learning, such as motivation, emotion, culture, and social interaction. Moreover, AI may not be able to foster some essential human skills and competencies that are not easily measurable or quantifiable by machines.
- AI requires adequate infrastructure and resources to function effectively and efficiently. This includes reliable internet connectivity, hardware devices, software platforms, data sources, and human expertise. However, many educational settings lack these prerequisites, especially in low- and middle-income countries, which may widen the digital divide and exacerbate educational inequalities.
- AI involves the use of intellectual property rights and contractual agreements that may affect the ownership, access, and distribution of educational content and data. AI also involves compliance with various laws and regulations that may differ across countries and regions, such as those related to data protection, Privacy, education, and consumer rights.
Therefore, to harness the benefits and mitigate the risks of AI in education, a holistic and collaborative approach is needed, involving various stakeholders, such as policymakers, educators, learners, parents,
Researchers, developers, and civil society.
Some possible actions to foster a responsible and ethical use of AI in education are:
- Developing a shared vision and framework for AI in education that aligns with the national goals and values of education, such as quality, equity, inclusion, diversity, and sustainability.
- Establishing ethical principles and guidelines for AI in education that respect human rights and dignity, promote fairness and transparency, ensure accountability and explainability, and protect privacy and security.
- Building capacity and awareness for AI in education among all stakeholders, especially educators, and learners, by providing training, resources, tools, and support to develop their digital literacy and 21st-century skills.
- Fostering innovation and research for AI in education by creating an enabling environment and ecosystem that supports the development, testing, evaluation, and scaling of AI solutions that are relevant, effective, and inclusive.
- Strengthening governance and regulation for AI in education by establishing clear roles and responsibilities, standards and criteria, policies and laws, and mechanisms and processes to monitor and evaluate the impact and outcomes of AI in education.
- AI is a powerful tool that can enhance and transform education in many ways. However, it is not a panacea or a substitute for human intelligence, creativity, and interaction. Rather, it is a complement and a catalyst that can augment and empower human potential. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that AI in education is human-centered, learner-oriented, and pedagogically sound. Only then can we realize the vision of quality education for all.