The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

AI Still Evolving as an Educational Tool

For some, the term “artificial intelligence” conjures up somewhat sinister technology, like the androids in Blade Runner.

However, a lot of companies worldwide are banking on artificial intelligence (AI) tools becoming the next generation of educational materials, according to an EdSurge interview with a panel of technologists. Rather than creating robots to serve as teachers, though, artificial intelligence has greater value as a means to gauge students’ responses to their learning environment and their instructors. The data gathered on students through AI not only provides possibilities for individual learning, but also helps instructors work with classes as a group.

“This is about finding patterns in learning experiences,” said one panelist. “We can take note of, say, if one person’s stronger in math, how can the system identify the challenge, and then open it up to teachers so they can be better tutors for their students?”

One of the challenges for developing AI tools is that companies apply the term to very different technologies. “The problem ties back to discoverability and explainability,” commented another panelist. “If you’re going to slap on the AI label, then I want to know more.”

Some schools are also deploying forms of AI in other ways, such as in admissions to select the next freshman class. AI allows a school to use predictive modeling to assess which students are more likely to succeed.

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