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Technology in the Classroom: Artificial Intelligence in Education

Students using intelligent tutoring system in the classroom. What can artificial intelligence do for education? It’s hard to answer that question given the unlimited possibilities for the future of technology. However, it is clear that artificial intelligence has a lot to offer, particularly in the areas of individualized and differentiated learning. In fact, some of the areas which are most challenging and time consuming for teachers are exactly where this technology can be the most useful.

Will teachers be replaced by computers?

Teachers will not be replaced by computers as long as they continue to build relationships with their students. While it is easier for a computer to create differentiated questions based on student answers, a computer can’t motivate students in the same way that a human teacher can. Real educators know that student success and failure is often related to their connections with teachers, and a computer can never replace that. A computer cannot comfort a student who has failed an assignment in just the right way which encourages them to try again, or demonstrate how constructive collaboration can be accomplished. Although computers cannot replace teachers, they can certainly be of service to them. When a teacher properly uses artificial intelligence in education, everyone benefits. For example, it is no secret that educators spend countless hours grading and evaluating assignments. Computers are capable of grading multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions, thus saving teachers valuable time. Additionally, computers can generate unlimited questions in numbers-based evaluations such as those used for math or chemistry, thus enabling teachers to create new tests or different versions without spending any extra time.

What is an intelligent tutoring system?

Intelligent tutoring systems are perhaps the main benefit of artificial intelligence in education. These systems can gauge the level of a student based on how they are answering questions, thus creating a customized progression which helps each student work at their own pace. It is difficult if not impossible for a human teacher to create a separate set of questions for each of the 25 or 30 students in every one of their classes, but a computer can do it easily without breaking a sweat. Intelligent tutoring does not replace a teacher, but it can definitely help educators better accommodate all students. This amazing tool supports differentiated learning, but a person still needs to set up the system so that the content fits the curriculum. Another great benefit of a system like this is that students who need or want extra practice outside of class can continue answering questions as long as the system has more questions to provide. An intelligent tutoring system can even be set up to provide words of encouragement or tips along the way which can serve as scaffolding for students who are struggling or lacking in confidence.

What is the best way to use artificial intelligence in education?

Artificial intelligence is only becoming more and more helpful in virtually every area of life, and education is no exception. As educators, we can use this tool to our advantage by becoming well versed in how it works and which functions it best serves in and out of the classroom. If teachers are honest about when students are better served through advanced technological tools, they only stand to gain. However, while intelligent tutoring systems can certainly scaffold and provide differentiated learning on an individualized level, nothing can replace the empathy, encouragement and real motivation that comes from a great educator.
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