Artificial Intelligence in Education

17 OCT 2022 By Maria S
<strong>Artificial Intelligence in Education</strong>

The Hype Around the Term

What comes to your mind when you hear the term “Artificial Intelligence or “AI”? This might be an array of technologically super-intelligent machines, software tools, data algorithms and robots, unless you are tech-savvy and know a lot more. What about “Artificial Intelligence in education” to make it more specific? This might be an interactive classroom with 3D screens, full of virtual and augmented reality tools and a teacher-robot.  Whatever it is, Artificial Intelligence in education is not far from where we are at the moment. In fact, teachers already use it to detect plagiarism, analyse student success metrics and make use of learning management systems. Also, through AI chatbots, students and parents are able to communicate with the institution via its online messaging platform. It resembles a lifelike interaction with a human, but it is an automated process powered by AI.

The current wave of AI undoubtedly moves with such an accelerating speed taking over a variety of industries, from finance, healthcare, and retail to manufacturing, transportation, cybersecurity and many more. Inevitably, education wouldn’t be left untouched. Demis Hassabis, co-founder of Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) start-up DeepMind once said: “I have devoted my life to building AI because I believe it is going to be the most important technology ever invented.” Today’s giants like Facebook, Microsoft and Apple already use AI to build and power their digital presence. So, why not use it in education too?

What is Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence was first coined by John McCarthy, a computer science Professor. Simply put, it is the process of using computers and machines to mimic human intelligence and complete a task. Among many, AI software performs tasks such as natural language processing, speech and image recognition, fraud detection, automated decision-making and social-media monitoring. You should have noticed that AI already exists in our smartphones, social media accounts, email platforms and search activities. Due to the large amount of data that surrounds us, AI systems perform a detail-oriented job. The results are accurate, consistent and delivered in a short time. For this reason, we should continue infusing education with AI-powered systems to reduce the time spent on data-heavy tasks and boost performance. According to the market research engine organisation: “The global Artificial Intelligence in Education market is expected to be around $12 Billion by 2027”.

Why Artificial Intelligence in Education will do Wonders

Not every institution has the full resources for employing their own Jill Watson – the artificially intelligent teaching assistant – founded by Ashok Goel, however, they could instil a little bit of AI stardust into their digital ecosystems. Keep reading below to understand the benefits that Artificial Intelligence has to offer both teachers and students:


Through AI, the e-classroom becomes a universal place open to a diversity of students at any time. Does it ring any bells? Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it quite imperative for students and teachers to adjust themselves to virtual classrooms. Students who live miles away have now real-time and 24/7 access to the learning material. This is not enough, though. It is essential for us to open up more possibilities using AI within and outside the classroom. Through assistive AI technology, students with hearing or visual impairments or of different ethnicity should be able to attend the class, too. For instance, different speech recognition tools like Nuance’s Dragon Speech Recognition allow students with slow or poor handwriting to write fast and fluently simply by speaking.

A Personalised Learning Experience:

AI can ensure that the educational software is customised for each student based on their needs, weaknesses, skills and preferences. In this way, it will deliver a personalised learning plan that will guide and support each individual student. Thus, the students will experience a smooth learning process and fill in gaps that they would be unable to do so in a big classroom. Carnegie Learning is one of the world’s best learning platforms that delivers personalised learning with ongoing formative assessments based on each student’s needs.

Automation of the Educational Material:

Artificial Intelligence will alleviate teachers’ heavy workload with automation. Attendance, registration, students’ progress reports, grading tests, excessive printing and organising of the material will be delegated to artificial intelligence with just one click. That leaves more time for the teachers to streamline their pedagogy methods and build stronger relationships with their students. An example is Gradescope, an AI-assisted grading tool. It is used by the teacher to grade paper-based or digital exams and online homework. It also scans student work, prepares projects and provides immediate feedback.

Monitoring and Enhancing Students’ Performance:

Different predictive AI systems can serve as the teachers’ right hand to further enhance their role in nurturing human minds. For instance, they can realize if a student does not meet the course’s requirements and goals through the use of a student success metric application. Furthermore, with the help of a voice-recognition application, they can diagnose reading and spelling difficulties. Identifying any weaknesses on time will make it more effective for them to tailor their practice with a targeted curriculum. For example, a screen app called Dystech supports professionals and parents in confirming if the child is dyslexic by quickly capturing dynamic features of reading.

School Management:

The entire institution from student record systems, scheduling, enrolments, and admissions to budgeting, hiring, transportation and IT can be managed through Artificial Intelligence applications.

Are We Equipped Enough?

The whole idea of infusing the education system with such a progressive innovation sounds awesome. However, do we actually know what we are talking about? Do we have the financial resources and infrastructure to do so? Are the teachers and students technologically literate enough to have a seamless and sustainable experience with AI? These are questions that we have to ask before calling on the big AI forces. The education system itself should first upskill its workforce with the necessary technical acumen and expose its students to these emerging technologies.

Considering the African education system, although the adoption of AI is still in the early stages, it will bring great benefits by eliminating learning inequality as this interesting scholarly article suggests: “It provides marginalized people and communities, people with disabilities, refugees, those out of school, and those living in isolated communities with access to appropriate learning opportunities.” Nevertheless, despite these enormous advantages, there are some challenges inherent in its application within Africa. These challenges fall under three categories: policy, techno-economy and security. Therefore, as the article further explains, “a robust collaboration among AI startups, researchers, policymakers, industry players, educational institutions and government agencies is required to realize the full benefits of AI for education in Africa.” Paving the way for education’s digital transformation is a collective task.

Combining the Two

Here at Unicaf, we revolutionise learning and teaching in higher education by providing the VLE. A state-of-the-art digital platform with a range of services available from the time a student clicks on an advert until the time the student graduates. We promise to constantly improve the online learning experience we offer by combining a smart digital ecosystem with a highly qualified faculty.

I consider that all the aforementioned benefits and radical changes in education are the results of the holy matrimony of AI and biological intelligence. In Elon Musk’s words “there must be a combination of biological and machine intelligence”. Robots and other AI machines will not substitute the teachers. Rather, as technology rapidly evolves, teachers will have super-intelligent assistants in times of need. The students, in turn, need to start gaining the skills to hone and align their knowledge with tomorrow’s digital reality.

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