Back to school, back to normality?

Considering we live in a country where the only resource is the human capital, we believe that the Education AI system will help our nation produce a future generation of highly skilled professionals ready to face the challenges of today while designing the world of tomorrow


In the past few months, educational systems all over the world trembled under the might of the global pandemic. Children and educators were ripped from their classrooms overnight. Some managed to adapt in no time with the help of technology while others struggled desperately. But above all, the pandemic was an eye-opener, and it would be a mistake to think that we will go back to normality once it passes.

We need to be bold and harness the power given to us by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education. AI can help us address the shortage of professionals in various fields, and assist our educators in achieving more with the limited resources which they have. It will also optimise our human capital by ensuring that our children get the most out of our educational system. Most important of all, it will encourage each child to keep on studying. We cannot afford to lose anyone!

Although several educational initiatives were implemented along the years to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach, we still need to do more for our students. Every child is different, and children shouldn’t go through the same educational experience. We should take into consideration their unique abilities, skills and predispositions if we want them to get the most out of the educational system. The introduction of mixed abili­ty classes, together with differentiated teaching and learning, was a step in the right direction and led to a more personalised approach, but at the cost of increasing the workload of the educators (which were already overworked).

To tackle these issues, we need the help of an Education AI system that can personalise and optimise the learning of children automatically: from those who are struggling to those who are gifted.

It is a known fact that sometimes, teachers struggle because they have to deal with different class dynamics that arise from time to time. Because of this, the quality of the education given to the students may suffer. An Education AI system would act as a repository of best practices, thus ensuring that the experience of every child is consistently high. It would guarantee that every child gets the best learning possible, automatically customised and adapted to his or her abilities. It also ensures that the tasks expected of them are achievable without piling useless stress. The system handholds weaker students and helps them to excel, while also challenging the gifted ones. Furthermore, since the system handles the corrections in real-time, the teacher would have more time to focus on other tasks; such as helping those students in need, improving themselves or creating new resources.

We are lucky to have the de­ployment of tablet computers in our schools. Children are already very confident with such systems, and an Education AI system runs on the tablets, we do not need to invest in other resources but use the ones we already have.

The system would also provide contextual support to children even after school (when the assistance of the teacher is not available), thus helping them get through the most challenging questions on their own. A debate which emerges from time-to-time is the right amount of homework assigned to children. Is it five minutes. Thirty minutes? Two hours? In reality, there is no magic number. But the Education AI system can tackle this by giving each child the right amount of work, thus avoiding an overwhelming workload.

Moreover, the homework given changes dynamically, based upon the responses provided by the student. In contrast to standardised testing, this bottom-up and well-ordered learning environment will expand with the individual student’s performance and mastery of content, thus allowing for an adaptive, smoother and more pleasant educational experience.

On the other hand, the educators will not be loaded with additional burdens, since the system is highly autonomous. It will equip them with appropriate tools and statistics that will help them monitor their entire class and make them focus on those students who need their help. The system will also provide real-time feedback that both teachers and students can act upon to improve future learning. It will predict the future grades of students, thus allowing educators to intervene before it is too late.  In essence, the Education AI system assists teachers in managing the class and supporting all students more effectively.

Hundreds of students already tried the system through their tablets. Many of them were super-excited, probably because it spoke the same technological language they understand. Most of them begged us to keep on using it after the trials.

What surprised us most were the preliminary results we obtained. After using the system for a limited period, most of the students showed an improvement when compared to the control group (who did not use the system). Surprisingly, the weaker students benefitted the most from this approach. Of course, these results are not conclusive and should be taken with a pinch of salt, though we plan further longitudinal studies.

However, they are very encouraging and clearly show that the future of education is in AI. Considering we live in a country where the only resource is the human capital, we believe that the Education AI system will help our nation produce a future generation of highly skilled professionals ready to face the challenges of today while designing the world of tomorrow.

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