Artificial Intelligence (AI) Takes the World by Storm

Known as “the imitation of human intelligence’”, AI uses machines, especially computers, to understand, interpret and give practical explanations of the information in question.  Artificial intelligence technology is evolving at a rate never seen before and has made some major waves worldwide, proverbially taking the world by storm – especially in the education sector.

AI enables personalised and adaptable learning experiences. It also helps educators assess and monitor students and design flexible learning tools. On the other hand, however, integrating these tools into education gives rise to specific challenges. Concerns surrounding data privacy, misplaced reliance on tool-generated outcomes, the lack of critical thinking and empathy, and the imperative to ensure equal access to these technologies for all students, regardless of their background and location, are among the prominent issues.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the introduction of AI tools, like ChatGPT, Midjourney, Plaito etc, has led to heated debates on the use of AI in education. While we know that the answer to these debates is complex and certainly not singular.  We do, however, believe that embracing these technologies creates great opportunities within Education, but only if integrated into academics responsibly.

Here is an overview of AI in Education, touching on different AI tools, the impact of AI on education and how we can encourage its responsible use.

The Different AI Tools

Several AI applications have been developed over the past few years that have been and continue to be useful in education. A few examples follow:

  • Gradescope – an AI-assisted solution by Turnitin that enables quick and easy grading.
  • Ivy Chatbot – used to help institutions by answering questions from students before they could reach a human.
  • ChatGPT – the latest AI application developed to have a conversation and assist the end user in a more ‘human’ manner.

Ways in Which Artificial Intelligence (AI) Has Transformed Higher Education

We can no longer avoid AI technology in our daily lives. We have seen it develop from concept to delivery to application in day-to-day activities faster than we ever could have imagined. When Covid-19 first shut down nations, learning had to occur online abruptly.  Thanks to AI technology, some institutions were prepared to deal with the shift in some way and or were at least able to navigate through these changes. This period of fast-paced change forced many to take hold of the opportunities presented by artificial intelligence – often whether they wanted to or not.

Here are a few ways in which these new technologies transform and shape the future of higher education:

Administrative Assistance

AI technologies can automate administrative tasks, such as scheduling, record-keeping, and grading, which helps streamline workflows and saves time for educators. This enables them to focus more on teaching and interacting with students.

Student Engagement

AI-powered tools can enhance student engagement by offering interactive and immersive learning experiences. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications, for example, can provide students with immersive simulations and visualisations, making learning more captivating and stimulating.

Personalised Teaching and Learning

AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data about students’ learning patterns, preferences, and progress to provide personalised recommendations and interventions. Adaptive learning platforms can tailor educational content and activities to individual student needs, helping them learn at their own pace and in a way that suits their learning style.

Effective Communication

AI-powered communication tools, such as chatbots or virtual assistants, can assist in addressing students’ queries and providing prompt feedback. These tools can offer 24/7 support, ensuring that students receive timely responses and guidance.

Intelligent Tutoring

AI-based tutoring systems can act as virtual tutors, providing personalised guidance and support to students. These systems can assess students’ knowledge gaps, offer targeted explanations and examples, and track their progress to identify improvement areas.

Data Analysis and Insights

AI can analyse large datasets collected from various sources, such as student performance records, to identify trends, patterns, and insights. Educators can leverage these insights to make data-driven decisions and interventions, improving teaching strategies and student outcomes.

Ensuring the Safe Use of Artificial Intelligence

AI brings many advantages to Education and could mean “better” education experiences and improved student throughput. But concerns raised about data privacy, ethical considerations, and the potential for overreliance on technology at the expense of human interaction, along with equality of access, are not to be ignored. The debate surrounding the integration of AI in education ultimately boils down to finding a balance between leveraging the benefits of AI technology while addressing the associated risks and challenges. It requires careful consideration of ethical implications, privacy safeguards, equitable access to technology, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of AI systems in educational settings.

As a strategic EdTech partner, we are committed to promoting the safe and responsible use of AI. Through our services and solutions, we aim to support educational institutions in leveraging AI technologies while upholding academic integrity and promoting improved student outcomes. One such partnership that exemplifies this commitment is with Turnitin. Turnitin, an originality-checking and plagiarism-prevention service, helps maintain academic integrity by detecting citation mistakes and inappropriate copying. With the recent introduction of AI writing detection tools, Turnitin further enhances its ability to assist educational institutions and teachers foster a culture of authenticity and integrity.

By embracing AI technology responsibly and working alongside trusted partners like Turnitin, we can create a future where AI empowers learners and educators inclusively while upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and ensuring equitable access to education.