By Anugraha Venugopal
This article is a part of the 2017: Changemakers Series
Education is the one aspect of society that has always reassuringly clung to tradition. However, The traditional setup of a classroom, with desks and notebooks, is rapidly transforming into a high-tech educational space, with laptops, tablets, and other ‘smart’ learning aids, catering to the needs of every kind of learner.
Making education more intelligent
Changes in the system have been incorporated gradually, giving plenty of room for generations of students, teachers, and institutions to adapt. However, in recent years, this rather quaint state of affairs has changed. The next great leap forward in education has come close on the heels of the last one. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being woven into the fabric of almost every industry today, and education has just become one of them. AI has been shown to be very helpful in automating certain tasks, such as grading papers, creating personalised study plans, and even tutoring students. In addition, since AI itself is based on a system of learning from the past, or trial-and-error, it provides a very apt platform for helping students learn the same way.
Al in education
AI supports another very important, yet often overlooked facet of education – personalised learning. For instance, Content Technologies, Inc., an artificial intelligence research and development company, has created smart content services like Cram101 and JustFact101 that streamline content from textbooks. The concepts of AI and deep learning are utilised here to breakdown textbook content into ‘smart’ study guides, displaying relevant data in a smart and efficient way.
Data analytics is a field which, when combined with AI, can produce powerful results that will alter several aspects of education. It will mainly affect the way educational institutions store and handle their data. Syllabi preparation, demographics of the student or teacher population, course and teacher feedback can be impacted for the better with the introduction of these new technologies. Since AI works on a system of continuous learning to provide increasingly better results, it will ensure that the above areas are radically improved as well.
A new reality
Another exciting new development in the field of education is the introduction of augmented reality (AR) into the classroom. This fascinating technology helps textbook learning come alive, by allowing students to explore every facet of the topic under discussion. In a subject like history, AR has actually been used to allow students to ‘walk’ through historical sites, thereby providing a highly immersive learning experience. AR is used to create 3D models of objects and concepts, making them easier to understand. Interactive books, which guide the learner actively rather than passively, are a good example of how AR makes learning much more appealing to students.
There are a variety of AR tools in the market, like Microsoft’s HoloLens, Google Expedition, and Oculus Rift. These allow students to actually experience the happenings and phenomenon that they learn about. They get to actively ‘feel’ the content, instead of just passively learning about it. This approach may contribute enormously to enhancing students’ understanding of the subjects they are being taught.
AI and AR are expensive technologies, that may not pervade through educational systems very soon. However, with progress in these fields, someday they might be as accessible as textbooks and laptops. Incorporating them into modern education has, and will continue to have a very real and positive impact on both teaching and learning, and how they are perceived. The field offers a very wide scope of their power, and if intertwined in the right way, education and the latest in modern technology can make for a great pairing.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay
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