When we tell you that advances in artificial intelligence are being incorporated into schools everywhere, from pre-school to the university level, you may have a few ideas as to what this resembles. Some of your ideas may actually have an analogue to reality.
For example, AI services have actually been used for tutoring. No, it is not an android Teacherbot that is performing these services, but rather a much more practical, not to mention less terrifying, solution: Conversational computing.
Conversational Computing in the Classroom
Conversational computing platforms take the form of chatbots, which are the small text-boxes that you sometimes see on institutions’ websites that answer visitors’ questions.
For example, AI chatbots powered by Findability Sciences have been employed by at least one leading private university to the effect of automating up to 5000 student student queries per month. Try getting a human worker in a student affairs office to pull off that feat.
A chatbot relies on natural language processing algorithms, which enable AI agents to understand the meaning of data written in “natural languages” like English and Spanish.
Such algorithms have currently reached a level of sophistication where chatbots have a strong grasp on semantics. For example, if a student in a history class asks a tutoring chatbot about “Napoleon’s role in the Battle of Waterloo,” the chatbot will not just focus on the keywords “Napoleon” and “Waterloo,” and offer responses about Napoleon himself or general facts about the battle. Rather, it will understand the entire question, and offer a streamlined answer.
Many school systems have integrated AI for the purpose of automating repetitive tasks that sap the energy of educators, allowing them to teach their students more effectively. Such tasks include grading papers, quizzes, and tests where generic true or false, yes or no, A B C D all-of-the-above questions proliferate.
Many students are asked repetitive questions, both in-person and over email. For the latter, digital communication, a chatbot can help answer students’ questions about due dates, test and quiz content, and the like, allowing teachers to focus more on what is important. This particular feature will be loved by students as well, because many voice their frustration at not having their emails answered within a satisfiable time frame.
Note that these are not replacement tools, but rather assistive, as teachers can save a lot of time having to grade the Ts and Fs on tests, but can still check to see if the AI got it right or wrong in spots.
Another big bonus of conversational computing platforms is that it can help assist students in one of the most dreaded areas of schoolwork: Presentations.
A speech-to-text platform can help students improve their performance in public speaking, as such tools can translate in real time the words students speak. They will have a better sense of what their actual, performed speech, when written down, resembles. Especially helpful is its ability to pick up on nervous, hesitant, give-me-a-second-to-think-or-remember words like “um,” “uh,” etc., that reveal an unprepared speaker.
AI services like Persona modeling, also offered by Findability Sciences, can help personalize the learning process for students and teachers alike. Persona modeling tools can analyze data relating to students in a grade, such as their social media posts, and find the most common cognitive traits among them. This can provide teachers and other school staff with insight into how to best connect with the students in any given class.
Likewise, AI can be employed to analyze the students’ learning histories to divine their strengths and weaknesses, not only among subject areas but also with regards to their test-taking ability and reading comprehension levels, among other important factors. All teachers know the importance of knowing particular students’ challenges, so being able to have a more precise understanding of individual students based on their educational history is huge.
AI and education go hand in hand, and the important thing to remember is that AI exists to assist and enhance the student-teacher experience, rather than drive a wedge between either of them.
For students, being able to use conversational computing platforms to ask more simple questions, and get more immediate and timely answers—which is important when working on projects, papers, and homework with close due dates—can make school a much more positive place.
For teachers, being freed up by AI taking care of more small tasks can work wonders for connecting with students.
If you want to learn more about how you can use AI in your school, reach out to Findability Sciences for info.