How welcome is AI in education?

AI in education

We all have our thoughts and opinions regarding the use of technology in education. Whether we’re ready for it or not, AI is already coming into various aspects of human life. So how does this apply to the world of education? And what does it mean for the upcoming generation of students and teachers? Let’s explore AI in education. 

The perks of AI in education 

In healthy doses, AI can offer the ideal kind of support that education needs to cater to the current set of learners.  

Someone to learn with

A student may often feel inhibited about raising a doubt to the teacher in front of peers. Or they may need help after school hours. Some may even respond better to other media of instruction, which are not always a school’s mainstay. AI in education serves as the perfect solution, with its programs, for all such instances and more. AI can track patterns in their homework and tests, schedule a study routine, answer questions, and offer information via text, audio, or video. 

Helping the teacher

Teachers could also greatly benefit from AI’s automation of cumbersome processes like filing paperwork, progress reports, and so on. In addition, AI in education could create lesson plans, assess learning curves, conduct performance analyses, and more. Thus, teachers would have more time to extensively involve themselves in adding the human touch to education. 

Education in a refocused mode

With AI’s time-saving features in place, more pressing educational objectives can come to the forefront. For instance, helping students understand social dynamics, play and emotion, and other similar learnings. These things shape a child and prepare them to live in and engage with the world. Unfortunately, AI cannot impart these things effectively, so teachers can make the most of their lightened load to deal with them. 

AI tools in education

The problems with AI in education

Of course, there are some drawbacks and potential dangers to overusing or misusing AI in education.  

Too pricey for some

The use of AI is dependent on technology that involves expensive hardware and software. Its maintenance also calls for serious spending. Schools and sectors that do not have such a generous budget face the possibility of missing out on opportunities available to those who can afford them. Even with cost-effective options like ChatGPT, computers, tablets, or smartphones are needed, which are only sometimes a given. I am in no way implying that children who go to expensive schools are always placed better in life. At the same time, the disparity cannot go unnoticed. 

Over-dependency on AI 

As humans, we pride ourselves on topping the cognitive pyramid and being able to think and feel for ourselves. What happens when we realise we have open access to software that can do that (or most of that) for us? We could suddenly toss independent critical thinking and decision-making skills out the window in favour of AI-generated ones. If students can generate homework using a program they can operate, how is the student getting any practice? How would it ensure a fair assessment of their academic performance?

This over-dependency applies to teachers too. When lesson plans are so readily available, it could lead to apathy and a lack of passion for doing what they do. By habit, we could all end up instinctively turning to AI for all our needs without assessing the situation for ourselves.

How far should AI venture into education?

The idea that schools must serve as an open and safe environment for learning through mistakes has been promoted but not entirely fulfilled for a long time. AI could provide adventurous learning grounds for curious minds to explore and discover. 

Having said that, this would have to be a controlled environment led by experts so that AI in education cannot mislead young minds recklessly. 

The future of AI in education: can we make it accessible to all?

Of course, most agree that AI must be within reach of everyone regardless of socioeconomic factors. Open-source, low-cost alternatives are, in fact, available. And those who do enjoy access must be willing to share it with those who do not. In that regard, students and teachers could use the round-the-clock availability of AI to their advantage. 

Ultimately, AI in education, like any other technology, must be approached cautiously and in moderation, factoring in the impressionable minds who are the foremost stakeholders here.

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