Opinion

Does AI in classrooms represent Ďfriendí or Ďfoe?í

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

When it comes to technological advancements, the speed of change sometimes feels lightning fast. Most of us have clear memories of what life was like before Google and smartphones. Some may argue it was better/easier then, but we can agree that things that once seemed out of reach are now normal parts of life. Using phones as an example, technology has taken them from rotary to tiny computers and so much more.

With artificial intelligence, or AI, we again engage in another change in how we interact with technology, and we may all have feelings about what is to come. After all, AI is capable of simulating human intelligence, mimicking our problem-solving skills, artistic talents and even our emotions. Itís exciting, but it also brings a degree of anxiety and discomfort over the unknown.

When parents and educators talk to me about the advancement of AI and its influence in education, most are unsure how to feel. If we talk about it as a tool to improve life-saving medical procedures or to further our knowledge of space, many feel secure in its role as a tool for good. But, when we talk about AIís presence in the classroom, many feel anxious over what that may look like. Though we are at the beginning of these types of changes, I would like to share my thoughts on what we know, what we think and how we plan for where we go when it comes to this fast-moving technology.

What we know is that AI is around us, and itís here to stay. We know that AI is already a factor in many workplaces and that many employers are evaluating what it will mean for their daily operations.

We also know that students are already interacting with AI on their own, especially our middle and high school students.

So what do we think? Because we donít yet have the benefit of hindsight, we must look to the future. Iím in the camp that thinks we can make AI a constructive part of learning. Some of our teachers are already doing this. When used appropriately, I believe that AI can be a tool for both students and teachers. I think considering what AI can bring to the educational sphere is the best first place to start. This means we will need to train and support teachers in how they use it and teach students responsible usage -- like any other digital content available at school.

So where are we going, and how do we plan for it? It's not hard to believe that weíre headed to a future where employers will expect competitive applicants to have experience with AI. I believe our preparation for kids should include experiences for students with guidance using this tool so we will best position them to be successful with it in the future.

Iíd like to encourage educators and parents to familiarize themselves with the basic concepts of how AI works. I'm learning myself! Then take time guiding students through what youíve learned. Find out what it can do and cannot do, and share your discoveries.

Any changes to the learning landscape provide us an opportunity to discuss and understand impacts to Idahoís schools and students, and AI will be no different.

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  • As a current Masterís student in Computer Science with a focus on developing AI, I appreciate your thoughtful reflection on the role of AI in education. Indeed, AI is becoming an integral part of our lives, and its influence on education is undeniable. My research has given me some insight into how AI is currently being used across the country:

    Personalized Learning: AI algorithms such as decision trees, neural networks, and clustering algorithms can be used to analyze student data and tailor educational content to each studentís unique needs. It can adapt to the pace of instruction, focus on specific areas of difficulty, and even suggest resources that align with the studentís learning style.

    Automating Administrative Tasks: AI can automate tasks such as grading and scheduling using algorithms like decision trees for classification tasks, and regression algorithms for prediction tasks.

    Predictive Analytics: Machine learning algorithms like linear regression, logistic regression, and time series analysis can be used to predict trends and outcomes based on historical data.

    Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Algorithms like Bayesian Knowledge Tracing (BKT) and reinforcement learning can be used in intelligent tutoring systems to model each learnerís mastery of the knowledge being tutored.

    Enhancing Online Learning: AI algorithms such as natural language processing (NLP) and recommendation systems can be used to enhance online learning platforms by making them more interactive and engaging. For example, AI can facilitate online discussions, grade assignments, and even detect and address issues of academic integrity.

    Improving Accessibility: AI can improve accessibility using speech recognition and text-to-speech algorithms, which can assist students with writing and reading difficulties. For example, speech recognition can help students with writing difficulties, while text-to-speech can assist students with reading difficulties.

    While AI holds great promise for education, itís important to approach its integration thoughtfully and ethically. As you mentioned, this includes training and supporting teachers in using AI, teaching studentsí responsible usage, and continuously evaluating the impact of AI on learning outcomes. By doing so, we can harness the power of AI to enhance education and better prepare students for the future. Looking ahead, the potential future uses of AI in education are vast and exciting. Here are some possibilities:

    Advanced Personalized Learning: Advanced machine learning algorithms like deep learning and reinforcement learning can be used to create even more personalized learning experiences.

    Intelligent Content Development: Generative AI algorithms can be used to develop digital content that is interactive and adaptive. This could include digital textbooks that update themselves, as well as online learning platforms that adapt to the needs of each learner.

    Smart Classroom: AI algorithms can be used to automate classroom management tasks and provide real-time feedback. For example, facial recognition algorithms can be used for attendance tracking.

    AI Tutors and Mentors: AI algorithms can be used to provide personalized tutoring and mentoring to students. These AI tutors could be available 24/7, providing students with assistance whenever they need it. For example, recommendation systems can suggest relevant resources based on a studentís performance and learning style.

    Career Planning and Development: AI algorithms can analyze a studentís interests, skills, and career goals to suggest relevant courses, internships, and career opportunities. This could involve the use of clustering algorithms to group similar students and make recommendations based on the career paths of similar students.

    Enhancing Teacher Capabilities: AI algorithms can analyze student data to identify patterns and trends that a human teacher might miss. This could involve the use of clustering algorithms to group similar students, regression algorithms to predict student performance, and classification algorithms to identify students who are at risk.

    Emotional Recognition: Future AI systems could potentially recognize and respond to the emotional state of students. This could involve the use of sentiment analysis algorithms to analyze student feedback and identify students who may be frustrated or stressed.

    Life-Long Learning: AI could support life-long learning by providing personalized learning experiences throughout a personís life. This could involve the use of recommendation systems to suggest relevant resources and learning opportunities based on a personís interests, skills, and career goals.

    These are just a few examples of how AI algorithms can be used in education. As AI technology continues to advance, its impact on education is likely to be profound and far-reaching. By staying abreast of the latest developments in the field of AI and continuously enhancing its application, we can continue to provide valuable support to the education sector in the era of Industry 4.0. The potential benefits of these future developments are immense, promising a future where education is not just managed but optimized. As we navigate this rapidly evolving landscape, itís crucial that we continue to engage in thoughtful discussions about the role of AI in our classrooms and how best to prepare our students for a future where AI will be an integral part of their lives.

    -- Posted by Lordodson on Wed, Jul 3, 2024, at 11:35 AM
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