A study by Stanford University indicates that virtual reality, adaptive learning or analytical learning will be common in the classroom within fifteen years.
Although Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already part of our lives, it is still strange to hear about it in areas such as education, where the reality of the classroom advances at a much slower pace than that of technology. However, it is precisely the educational field that could be reinforced and transformed the most thanks to the new artificial intelligence systems and their capacity to contribute to the personalisation of learning. This is what a group of researchers and academics believe that, backed by Standford University, published last September the report Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030. According to the study, virtual reality, adaptive learning, analytical learning and online teaching will be common in classrooms in just fifteen years.
Virtual reality and smart tutors to learn and teach
The report Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030 is the first to be published within the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) project, promoted by Stanford University to promote social debate about these technologies and guide the ethical development of programs, sensors and intelligent machines. The publication, in which 24 experts from different universities participate, dissects the current panorama of AI in different areas and predicts which trends will be consolidated by 2030 in each area, taking as a scenario a typical city of the United States
In the case of education, the study highlights virtual reality, educational robotics, the systems of intelligent tutoring and online learning or the analytical of learning as the technologies that will occupy a prominent place in the classrooms within fifteen years. But, what are they? What is your level of development in the present and what is expected of them in the future?
The Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030 report offers some clues:
1. Virtual reality: Virtual reality environments are now used to allow students to interact with different environments and objects. Experts believe that in 2030 these environments are more general and sophisticated so that students can immerse themselves in them to explore subjects from different disciplines. "The recreation of past and fictitious worlds will be as popular in the study of the arts as in that of other sciences," they point out.
2. Educational robotics: since Lego developed its first robotics kits under the Mindstorms brand in the eighties, numerous models have been launched to promote different areas of learning. Ozobot, Cubelets or Dash and Dot allow students to create and program their robots while developing logical and deductive thinking and creativity. The experts, however, believe that educational robotics will only find its place in the classroom if it is proven that, in addition to motivating students, it improves their academic results.
3. Intelligent mentoring systems: the development of some AI technologies, such as automatic speech recognition and processing of natural languages has facilitated the development of intelligent mentoring systems, which have moved quickly from the laboratory to the real use. These cognitive tutors imitate the teacher's role and guide learning and exercise in different disciplines. They offer clues to students when they are stuck in a problem, provide immediate feedback based on their mistakes or answers, and even design personalized learning sequences for each student. Its applications are many and have resulted in different adaptive learning tools. For example, Duolingo, focused on learning foreign languages, detects student errors, corrects them and helps them to progress at their own pace. Experts believe that this type of tools "will become one of the nuclei of the teaching process in higher education,” as they will help maintain costs by serving a larger number of students and allowing them to pass through school more quickly.
4. Online learning systems: The report describes as "surprising" the "explosion of MOOCs and other models of online education at all educational levels." These have managed to expand the size of the classroom and accommodate thousands of students, who can be evaluated more easily thanks to artificial intelligence technologies. In fact, there are already programs that generate questions automatically and evaluate short and open answer questions. According to the report, this trend will be consolidated and refined by 2030.
5. Learning analytics: this area, which consists of the measurement, collection, and analysis of student data during the learning process, has been driven by the growth of MOOCs and online learning systems, which have acted as "natural vehicles" for the collection of data. This collaboration could contribute to new scientific discoveries in the field of cognition, and lead to the improvement of large-scale learning. In fact, at present, artificial intelligence technologies are already being used to analyze students' motivation, behavior, and results. The objective of these studies is to "detect the most common mistakes of students, predict which ones are at risk of failure and provide them with a response in real time, which is closely linked to their results." Research is also being carried out to "better understand the cognitive processes involved in understanding, writing, knowledge acquisition and memory," whose results will be applied in educational practice and the development of new technologies. In fact, experts believe that learning analytics will accelerate the creation of tools to personalize learning.
Benefits and challenges of intelligence in education
All these technologies present plausible advantages for the world of education but also challenges for teachers and students. "We believe that applications of artificial intelligence will be much more common and useful by 2030, and will improve our economy and quality of life. This technology will also create great challenges, which will affect work, income, and other issues. It is important to start talking to make sure that the benefits of artificial intelligence are widely shared,” Peter Stone, professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas and director of the report, explains to Science Daily.
In the case of education, the benefits point to the personalisation of learning, the expansion of the classroom and greater and better interaction between teachers and students, both inside and outside the classroom. The confluence of online learning systems, smart tutors, and learning analytics would help to personalize education and extend it beyond the walls of the classroom so that students per class would multiply significantly. This will also mean that many adults and professionals can easily expand their education since many degrees and professional certifications can be obtained online or blended, which will also favor lifelong learning.
Online learning systems and other AI technologies will facilitate interaction between students and teachers, or between students and subject matter, as in the case of virtual reality environments.
However, for this scenario to be possible, teachers and other actors in the educational community will have to face a key challenge: "know how to integrate this type of technology with face-to-face learning and human interaction," explains the report. This means becoming aware of the possibilities of artificial intelligence in education and reformulating the teaching-learning process so that these new technologies fit in a practical and meaningful way so that they can report the benefits indicated.
Kenneth Evans is a Content Marketing Strategist for Top App Development Companies, a research platform for top app development companies in the world. He has been contributing to various blogging platforms and Forums.