AI Applications in Education

AI is having an increasing impact on education. School administrators, educational material providers, and local government educators are increasingly gathering information on AI applications.

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Challenges in U.S. Online Education​

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 93% of families with school-aged children have some form of “online education” at home since at the start of the corona virus pandemic. However, during the pandemic, 42% of students reported that online education made it difficult to stay motivated.

This is especially true for children from economically disadvantaged households. Because their parents are working, they do not have the support to keep up with online education.

The challenge with online education in the U.S. is that it does not provide an engaging learning experience for all students. Providing online education that keeps all students motivated, regardless of their financial circumstances, is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

What are the solutions to this challenge? One is the use of AI. AI is gaining attention as a means to deliver online education that attracts students.

Personalized Online Learning with AI Advancing in the U.S

The adoption of AI in the U.S. education sector is growing at a CAGR of approximately 48% per year and is expected to continue to grow.

Current AI applications include:

  • Schedule management
  • Document management
  • Teaching material creation
  • Individualized learning plans
  • Creation of educational curriculum

Tasks that were primarily performed manually by teachers are now being automated by AI. However, personalized online learning is attracting attention as an example of a new application of AI. Personalized online learning is an approach that customizes an educational curriculum for each student. The learning experience is tailored to the student’s individual learning style, pace, and interests. It allows for an online education that engages students even if they do not have the support of their parents or others.

Personalized online learning is expected to grow to over $250 million by 2025.

For educators, personalization of education for each student is an ideal that they naturally want to achieve. Traditionally, this has been difficult to achieve due to labor costs and time constraints. However, with the increasing use of AI in education, the cost and time issues can be solved.

AI Applications in Global markets (U.S., U.K., China)

Check out how AI is being used in education in the U.S. and other markets.

1. Digital Teaching Assistants/Virtual Tutors

Although nothing can replace a human teacher, efforts to use AI as a teacher’s assistant or virtual teacher have begun in the United States. Interactive AIs are used as digital teaching assistants/virtual tutors. When students do their homework at night and have questions, the interactive AI acts as a virtual teacher providing information.

2. Student's Personal Assistant

An interactive AI can provide students with information about classes and teachers, and help them manage their schedules. It can also remind the student of homework deadlines. As a personal assistant, it helps the student to get the most out of the class.

Here are some examples of use in the UK. More than 1,200 elementary school are already using AI for online education.

The teachers who provide instruction are teachers in India and Sri Lanka, and they receive information about their students from AI to provide personalized instruction.

3. Multilingual Tutors

About 60% of the world’s population speaks two or more languages. Interactive AI can speak hundreds of languages and dialects. They can help international and immigrant students translate textbooks and understand classroom terminology. This is the case in many learning facilities in the U.S. and the U.K.

4. Admission Application and Testing Assistance

Students can sometimes make mistakes when applying to U.S. universities because the application process is often overly complicated. An interactive AI resides on the online form application site and explains the process to the applicant, answering a number of questions and helping the student to complete the application correctly.

In addition, AI can also serve as an exam assistant. At the University of California, Berkeley, AI assists with grading exams. Teachers can focus only on areas that AI cannot grade.

China has also been using AI to evaluate student papers since 2018. Citing the AI White Paper 2019 published by the Information-Technology Promotion Agency, Japan.

“It is reported that 60,000 educational institutions in China have begun employing AI to evaluate student papers.””It analyzes the overall logic and meaning of the essay and assigns a score. AI then suggests improvements to the essay’s style, structure, themes, etc.” – AI White Paper 2019

5. Feedback Facilitator

It is not so easy for teachers to receive feedback from all students on their teaching style and materials. Conversely, students also find it difficult to approach teachers and receive honest feedback about their grades and career paths.

Interactive AI can create a safe and trusting environment for feedback. Feedback to teachers and students can be delivered in a timely, friendly, and empathetic manner. In some cases, it is more acceptable to be told by an AI than by a human.

At the University of Memphis in the U.S., AI analyzes student grades and coursework and acts as a career advisor.

Limitations of Chatbots in Education

When we talk about interactive AI in education, many people think of chatbots. It is true that chatbots are the simplest form of interactive AI. Moreover, it is the most widely used interactive AI in education.

However, in the U.S., there are limits to how chatbots can continue to be used as the main educational tool. Why? Because four limitations of chatbots have become apparent.

1. Chatbots are less effective for students who prefer to learn in other ways, since they primarily use text as their interface.

2. They do not provide an emotional experience. Only 33% of millennials consider chatbots friendly and approachable, while the rest find them somewhat lacking.

3. Flat user experience due to inability to express emotions. Can cause stress when students receive negative feedback.

4. Inability to express individuality. The most memorable and effective educators need personality.

According to the UneeQ survey, 42% of organizations are now looking to add a “more human experience” to their chatbots as their biggest priority.

While chatbots have their limitations, they are not unusable tools. The benefits of chatbots in education include convenience, accessibility, and the ability to answer simple questions quickly.

Given the limitations and benefits of chatbots, the latest AI projects in education are dominated by hybrid digital workforces.

A digital workforce combines three channels: humans, chatbots, and interactive AI digital humans.

This digital workforce is now being practiced not only in education, but also in retail, financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications industries.

Final thoughts

The purpose of using AI in education is not simply to improve operational efficiency, but to realize personalized online learning. The goal is to provide a learning method and learning environment tailored to the individual student.

AI can provide a personalized environment that motivates students to learn. It can also create an environment in which human teachers can demonstrate their abilities as coaches and mentors.

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