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Why Teachers Should Embrace AI In Education

Why teachers should embrace AI in education

Artificial intelligence is transforming the world as we know it. From driverless cars to chatbots and cybersecurity, algorithms are increasingly integrated in everyday interactions with humans. One of the sectors with huge potential for AI integration is the education sector. Meaning that students and teachers around the world can leverage the technology’s sophisticated potential.

Naturally, however, some teachers have raised concerns. They’re worried that they aren’t sufficiently familiar with AI to best apply it in their teaching practice. This concern isn’t unfounded – a recent survey by UNESCO revealed that only 10% of schools around the world have formal guidance around using AI. Some teachers are even concerned that AI could replace their roles. But rather than resist AI, teachers and institutions should take the time to understand how best to use AI in the educational sector. There are huge potential benefits to the technology. More efficient lesson planning and marking, streamlined administrative tasks, and more personalized, in-depth student feedback – to name but a few! 

Here’s why teachers should embrace AI in education, as well as some of the top AI tools to utilize.

1. AI is already on the school roll 

More than half of secondary school teachers believe that AI will change the teaching profession for the better. The reality though, is that AI is already having a positive impact

Many schools and governments have long-term plans to bring AI resources into the classroom (China, Japan, and the UK are leading the way). It’s therefore worthwhile for teachers to get to grips with AI now, so they can learn in incremental stages, understand the technology, and set themselves up for a smoother transition when it arrives on a bigger scale.

Some of the current popular AI tools include GPT-3, IBM Watson, and Google Classroom. GPT-3 is a language learning model that schools have used for automatic essay grading. Thus, creating interactive learning content, and language tutoring alike. IBM Watson has helped schools develop virtual learning assistants, language learning apps, and customized learning dashboards. Meanwhile, Google Classroom has AI features like automated grading and personalized recommendations to support teachers when managing assignments and delivering content.

2. AI is your very own teaching assistant

According to a report from the OECD, teachers spend half of their working time on non-teaching activities. That means students can’t maximize valuable one-on-one time with the people who lead their courses. Fortunately, AI lessens the burden of administrative tasks by automating grading and organizing student data like attendance, performance, and online interactions. As a result, teachers have more free time to design lessons, give individualized instructions, and dedicate their energy to the students who need it the most.

What’s more, AI fuels feedback mechanisms for teachers. For example, AI chatbots can provide real-time answers to commonly asked questions, plus give advice about assignment specifications. Chatbots are especially great for students who prefer working outside of teaching hours. Furthermore, they are also helpful for students who are located in different time zones. Not to mention, AI solutions can review assessments and give fast, detailed notes, which teachers can later walk through with students.

For example, with ELSA’s AI language learning app, students upload a recording of themselves speaking English and receive immediate feedback around their fluency, grammar, intonation, vocabulary, and pronunciation. And, because the app was developed using voice data from native English speakers with an array of accents, it can detect students’ speech patterns and give targeted advice to really boost progress. 

The speed and quality of AI-driven feedback leads to quicker student learning cycles – giving them greater autonomy in their learning journey. This autonomy is also furthered by AI that shapes personalized learning experiences. By analyzing individual student data, AI can identify a student’s strengths, areas for improvement, and preferred learning style. Tools can then tailor messaging to suit students, and offer targeted resources to maintain their focus in more challenging tasks.

3. AI promotes more accessible, inclusive learning

The digital shift has meant teachers and students primarily use digital devices to participate in educational content. For people with disabilities, the move to online spaces hasn’t been straightforward. Often, these communities need accommodations that allow them to easily access and interact with classes on a screen.

Embracing AI can build more inclusive virtual learning environments by addressing and overcoming barriers for students with additional support needs. For instance, AI encompasses speech recognition and text-to-speech tools that aid students with visual impairments or learning disabilities. AI-powered transcription services also generate real-time captions for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Elsewhere, automated transcription and note-taking can convert content for students who process written information better than spoken or visual information.

Making education more accessible benefits all students, not only those with a disability. In this way, AI contributes to a more engaging and fair education landscape.

4. AI can be a career coach for educators

A recent review found that teachers in the UK want to dedicate more time to their professional development, but their workload typically prevents it. Another obstacle many teachers face is not knowing what skills they need to advance in their career, or where they can develop these.

AI tools can offer teachers recommendations to grow based on their individual needs and interests. It can equally suggest platforms, communities, and mentors that can boost teachers’ chances of promotions and expanding into more niche fields of education. Likewise, AI solutions ensure that teachers receive updates about the educational sphere. This way, they stay atop of emerging trends and can harness the most cutting-edge resources (like AI!).

Moreover, AI platforms allow teachers to collaborate and communicate, and engage in professional learning knowledge exchange. Tapping into these spaces gives awareness of pathways to develop professionally, and the discovery of innovative ways to apply AI at work.

AI: a way to turbocharge your teaching 

AI should be seen as an extension – not a replacement – of teachers’ talent. It keeps teachers (as well as students) learning. The technology enhances teachers’ capabilities by undertaking administrative tasks and providing data insights around students’ performance. Giving teachers more time to connect with students one to one, on a personal level.  And, in the digital age, AI helps to ensure that students of all abilities can tap into high quality, modern education.

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