January is the time of year when we reevaluate, reset, and discover new trends. 2022 is looking like a BIG year for EdTech! Top trends for EdTech in 2022, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), are showing up in everything from classroom management tools to cybersecurity. Since our job here at EDGEucating is to bring you cutting EDGE education resources, I am going to discuss some Artificial Intelligence Trends in Education that will help improve your classroom and job!
AI isn’t new—the term was coined in 1956. For decades, science fiction has been predicting unimaginable changes, both amazing and catastrophic, said to arise with the materialization and widespread of artificial intelligence. While AI hasn’t made quite the impact that sci-fi has predicted, it has quietly become pervasive in numerous aspects of our daily lives.
AI and ML are key drivers of growth and innovation across all industries, and the education sector is no different. According to eLearning Industry, upwards of 47% of learning management tools will be enabled with AI capabilities in the next three years.
Artificial Intelligence is now a part of our normal lives. We are surrounded by this technology from automatic parking systems, smart sensors for taking spectacular photos, and personal assistance. Similarly, AI in education is being felt, and the traditional methods are changing drastically.
The academic world is becoming more convenient and personalized thanks to the numerous applications of AI in education.
This has changed the way people learn since educational materials are becoming accessible to all through smart devices and computers. AI is growing rapidly with the potential to change the face of the education sector massively.
The education industry has been TALKING ABOUT technology integration and advancements for more than a decade. However, talk is about all that has really been happening in this arena for a while. There’s no question the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to everyday life. But it has also spurred rapid growth in technologies that aim to make everyday life simpler, much of which uses AI and/or ML. In 2020 and 2021, educators pioneered EdTech tools for their classrooms at an overwhelming pace. One of the EdTech trends that gained a lot of ground during this pioneering time was AI.
AI-powered technology solutions have been in the EdTech space for some time, however, the industry has been slow to adopt them, just as it has with other EdTech. The pandemic drastically shifted the landscape, forcing educators to rely on technology for virtual learning. Now, 86% of educators say technology should be a core part of education. The use of artificial intelligence is growing rapidly in school districts, showing up in programs and software models that support everything from storytime to security.
So, what are these AI-powered technology solutions that are currently trending in education? Well, let’s take a look!
How Can AI Be Used in K–12 Education?
1. Teacher Task Assistance
You are well aware that teachers don’t just teach. We also spend time grading tests, evaluating homework, filing the necessary paperwork, making a progress report, organizing resources and materials for lectures, managing teaching materials, etc. It’s a lot of work! AI has been used in a variety of industries to automate tasks, and it is finally being used the same way in the education sector.
Teachers often find that grading takes up a significant amount of time, time that could be used to interact with students, prepare for class, or work on professional development. Educators have discovered a wide variety of ways to automate grading for nearly all kinds of multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank testing. The platforms that are used are so extensive that listing them could be an article of its own.
The big challenge is automated grading of student writing. The use of AI technology has revolutionized the development of student writing software services. This software is still in its infancy stages but is progressing quickly. Everything from Grammarly, used for grammar assessment, to the AI paper grader, used to grade research papers and student assignments using the combination of human understanding and machine learning.
“Alexa, read us a story.”
Many teachers are following the lead of parents and using digital assistants, such as the popular Amazon Echo and Alexa devices in the classroom. This technology was used by many parents of home-bound students during the pandemic to aid in their children’s educational routines. This gave teachers the idea to incorporate the technology into their classrooms.
Some districts have really stepped up to assist their teachers by implementing the Symphony Classroom. This AI software platform makes it possible for Merlyn (the world’s first digital assistant for education) to respond to teacher commands, integrate with the devices and applications teachers already use, and constantly learn and improve the shortcuts Merlyn provides to help teachers with their work.
These are great ways to delegate tasks that add time back to a teacher’s day.
If you or your students want to learn more about AI, I recommend the Usborne Books Title, Artificial Intelligence by Henry Brook.
Artificial intelligence can vastly improve the types of assessments teachers use to guide student learning. The use of AI student assessments is rapidly expanding in education. Many software platforms are beginning to integrate built-in stealth assessments that students do not even recognize as a test. This is beneficial for students with test anxiety, removing it as a factor, and increasing engagement. Many of these tests are designed to appear more like games, which increases student engagement and decreases resistance to learning and testing.
Testing doesn’t just mean an end-of-unit assessment. There are several companies such as Content Technologies and Carnegie Learning currently developing intelligent instruction design and digital platforms that use AI to provide learning, testing, and feedback to students from pre-K to college level that gives them the challenges they are ready for identifying gaps in knowledge and redirects to new topics when appropriate. Ongoing assessments are often much more powerful and meaningful than comprehensive end-of-topic assessments.
AI has been used by state departments for years to grade state tests and by large testing organizations for scoring tests like the ACT and SAT. With the vast new developments in AI-related to education, we can expect changes in our mandated assessment systems to follow suit.
Well-designed formative assessments that take advantage of the latest advancements in technology can help students learn faster and better. From intelligent tutoring, stealth assessments, games, and virtual reality, mini-tests built by AI can provide a wide variety of ways to use this technology to build engaging tools.
3. Individualized Learning/Tutoring
From kindergarten to graduate school, one of the key ways AI will impact education is through the application of greater levels of individualized learning. This is already happening through growing numbers of adaptive learning programs, games, and software.
Adjusting learning based on an individual student’s particular needs has been a priority for educators for years, but AI will allow a level of differentiation that’s currently impossible for teachers managing 30 students per class. This arena of AI is probably the one that most educators are most familiar with.
As educators, we have seen this trend developing for several years now. With the COVID pandemic forced remote learning, this was one of the fastest-growing areas last year. Unable to be there in person to observe students, teachers were relying more and more on technology and AI to do this job for them. I want to be clear here, machines will never be able to do this job as well as a human but they can make our job easier.
Ask any parent who has struggled during the pandemic to help their child with algebra, and they will be thrilled about the potential of AI to support their children when they are struggling at home with homework or test preparations. Tutoring and studying programs are becoming more advanced thanks to AI.
We have spent the last few months focusing on tutoring here at EDGEucating. You may want to check out the following articles if you are interested in specific tutoring resources.
4. Coaching and Teacher Professional Development
AI is currently making its way to helping teachers improve and customize lessons. It can provide feedback about the success of the lesson as a whole, monitor student progress, and alerts when there might be an issue with student performance, as well as identify areas where teachers can improve instruction.
Teachers are sometimes not aware of gaps in their lessons and educational materials that can leave students confused about certain concepts. AI can help solve this problem. Coursera, a massive open online course provider, is already putting this into practice. When a large number of students are found to submit the wrong answer to a homework assignment, the system alerts the teacher and gives future students a customized message that offers hints to the correct answer.
AI-based learning systems will be able to give educators useful information about their student’s learning styles, abilities, and progress, and provide suggestions for how to customize their teaching methods to students’ individual needs. Recently, The University of Murcia in Spain began testing an AI-enabled chatbot to answer students’ questions about the campus and areas of study. As this chatbot was rolled out, the school’s administrators were surprised to discover that it was able to answer more than 38,708 questions, answering correctly more than 91% of the time. Google recently released a new AI-powered learning platform, students can learn in highly individualized ways, and educational institutions can scale their efforts to meet student needs. The platform is a suite of applications and APIs that can be integrated into an institution’s existing infrastructure. This new platform includes a chatbot that was designed with education in mind.
Although this form of AI is another that is still in its infancy stage, it is rapidly becoming more mainstream.
5. Smarter Data For Progressing School Operations
This one is really something that can be said to be part of all the other categories discussed. However, I am going to focus on more of the school operations side of things here.
One big advancement is in school security, there are now smart camera systems that use AI to monitor security threats. These enable instant, real-time responses to trespassing and brandished weapons. Systems such as these increase school administrations’ ability to react to threats without adding a visible layer of security, which could make stakeholders uncomfortable.
Schools regularly use AI to detect students at risk of self-harm, violence against others, and bullying. This is done inside their network systems and monitors things such as students’ emails and other postings to identify potential concerns. The software typically scans for certain keywords and phrases on school-issued devices and alerts an administrator when it finds a targeted key phrase, The Wall Street Journal reported. Of course, this still needs a human to review and verify the data before acting like a machine can only interpret so much of this type of data.
In addition, many IT departments use self-learning algorithms for identifying spam and network intrusions. This is one of the older forms of AI use that has been around for a while now. However, I felt it was worth mentioning since it is changing in this new age of Blockchain technology. I have an entire article on this that you can read here.
Administrators are using humanoid robots to guide campus tours and teach Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts at all levels. By using the Pepper platform, instructors and researchers stay current with major technical and commercial breakthroughs in programming and applied research. This humanoid robot uses AI technology to make interaction with human beings as natural and intuitive as possible. It has no trouble perceiving the environment and entering into a conversation with a person. The touch screen on the chest displays content to highlight messages and support speech. This is yet another way that AI is helping schools run smoothly and save precious time. Learn more about Pepper here.
To learn more about these EdTech trends and others, Google partnered with a team of researchers to produce the “Future of the Classroom” report that identifies research-based current and emerging trends to watch for and resources to help schools “prepare students for what’s next.
Artificial Intelligence Can Afford Teachers More Time
To sum it all up, teachers and administrators spend a lot of time on non-teaching tasks, and it overwhelms them. Artificial Intelligence will automate these tasks affording teachers more time to do their primary work of teaching without being bothered with administrative tasks. With educators busier than ever, AI can offer them more of their most prized possession, time! The opportunities — and challenges — that AI brings to education are significant and only time will tell the ultimate impact it will have on the industry.
Please join this conversation by sharing how you or your school are implementing AI in the classroom. Drop it in the comments below so that everyone in our community can benefit from your creative, cutting EDGE solutions!