Artificial intelligence at school – In the last few years China has been carring on one of the biggest artificial intelligence experiments in the education field, involving government, start ups, tech companies, investors and of course educators.

Artificial intelligence at school – Wall Street Journal

Artificial intelligence at school – Since 2019, as reported from Wall Street Journal, brain wave sensing gadgets are adopted in Shanghai primary schools, to measure pupils level of attention on the basis of different colours (white to show an off-line device, blue to signal distraction and red to show the maximum level of attention) and then send real-time feedback to teachers and parents.

The devices are made of three electrods, two behind the ears and one on the forehead, that pick up electrical signals sent by neurons in the brain, working as an EGG (electroencephalograph system) exactly like EGG devices used in hospitals, and thus really sensitive to abrupt moves or misplacing, therefore presenting  false data reading and detection risks.

Anyway, using artificial intelligence at school does not necessarily mean using such invasive methods.

Technology and AI adoption in education is definitely transforming the way of teaching and learning, even reflecting XX Century pedagogical theories such as Benjamin Bloom’s  Mastery Learning Theory or Henrì Pieron and Henrì Laugier docimology research.

Benjamin Bloom’s Mastery learning theory was developed in 1968 to introduce customized learning models to allow different students to reach the same level of mastery in terms of pre-requisites and knowledge, providing additional support and extra time to learn, as well as AI personalized tutoring systems may provide today.

Likewise, AI massive data processing may be used to analyse students performance and skills to finally give objective feedback, as pedagogists Henrì Pieron and Henrì Laugier tried to reach through the first docimological research in 1931, aimed to find evidence of objectivity in school evaluation tests.

artificial intelligence value at school

Artificial intelligence at school – Real-time data analysis, smart content generation, personalized tutoring and teaching, recurring process automatization are few examples of AI application in school education.

artificial intelligence at school: personalized tutoring

Squirrel AI is an AI services provider for education, specialized in personalized tutoring, proving again how AI is widely employed in Chinese schools.

Squirrel AI’s algorithm assess students’ knowledge level through a brief 10 questions test and then builds up a customized learning path to help them to to raise their grades and finally face the gaokao: the most important exam for Chinese students, the one that determines access to college and success of their professional life.

Squirrel AI provided evidence of its system stating that in 2017 a self-funded four-day study with 78 middle school students, showed that their system was better at lifting math test scores than experienced teachers.

Anyway when students are asked to find any improving aspect, the answer is the same: “more human interaction”.

That’s why University of Southern California (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies, for example, is working on the development of virtual educators and learning environments, integrating live classroom methods with virtual technologies to create social interactions as realistic as possible.

Carnegie Learnings “Mika” software uses cognitive science and AI technology to provide personalized tutoring and real-time feedback to post-secondary education students, stating that colleges’ annual costs in recovery lessons to reach the same level are calculated around 6,7 billion dollars.

Chatbot and virtual assistants also represent a valid support to students with special needs: thanks to AI sight or ear-impaired students or students with DSA learning disabilities can access to content and resources specifically created for them.

smart content with ai

With AI teachers can create smart content using e-learning platforms, digital lessons, visual content and guides on the basis of each student’s personal learning curve.

For example, Smart Content Technologies Inc., a company specialized in process design and automatization, created a smart suite for secondary school, such as Cram101, that uses AI to breakdown textbook content into small study guides, including chapter summaries, true-false and multiple choice practice tests and flashcards.

Netex Learning allows teachers to create digital curricula across devices, integrating video and audio, as well as practice tests, real-time feedback, self-assessment, virtual courses, video-conferecing, simulation and gamifications applications.

process automation with ai

As AI takes care of recurring process automatization as grading, assessing, providing real-time feedback and repling to students’ frequent-asked questions, teachers can concentrate to quality tasks unpossible to delegate to AI and save time to prepare lessons and self-education.

Our intelligence is what makes us human, and AI is an extension of that quality.

Yann LeCun – Computer Scientist and Silver Professor New York University

In conclusion, even if machines will never replace human value in education and avoiding invasive devices such as chinese brain waves sensors, artificial intelligence systems can certainly add value to education, providing test evaluation objectivity, process automatization, data gathering and analysis, smart content creation and personalized learning platforms, drawing an interesting future scenario.

Although in Italy we are far behind this scenario, a study published by eSchool News states that by 2021 AI employment in education will grow by 47,5% and thanks to artificial intelligence students will be able to make projections and set goals about their academic and professional life.


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