There is no doubt that technology has revolutionised the way that teachers teach students and the way that students learn. It comes as no surprise that as technology advances in the world, so does the educational systems use of and reliance on technology. There is no longer a need to provide a ‘one size fits all’ style of teaching for students.
What technologies are being implemented and in what ways?
Implementing technology into the educational system has proven the significance of technology, in creating personalised learning, that each individual student can benefit from; to maximise the potential of their education. Unlike traditional education, technology has increased the ease of a student’s access of content, information, teachers, peers and feedback. Students now have access to technology such as computers, the internet, phones, cameras, printers, scanners, apps, virtual class platforms, online class sharing, online test services and so much more. Students can learn through YouTube videos, online quizzes, voice typing on their phones to save time and they can digitise print themselves efficiently. Students can access adaptive and real-time learning to obtain instant feedback from teachers, such as Google Classrooms, Google Docs and Zoom; as well as so many other platforms.
What is the benefit of the implementation of these technologies?
Technology allows teachers to cater to each students’ specific educational needs and learning style. In Digital Divides: Teaching the Future, it is mentioned that “it’s actually most powerful when the students have control of the technology”. Therefore, technology creates personalised learning by allowing students to have agency in the process of their education, which encourages them into becoming active participants in their learning; as opposed to the traditional sense of students as passive participants. There is also a benefit in the creation of a student-centred, guided learning that encourages independence, confidence, problem-solving and critical thinking, leaving valuable and effective time left for other areas of teaching.
If technology is beneficious to student learning, can AI robots replace traditional teachers in the educational system and what impact does COVID-19 have in the implementation of AI teachers in educational systems?
There has been a lot of optimistic speculation, in the educational system, as to whether AI teachers can do a better job at teaching than traditional teachers. AI is an adaptive learning system, that acts as a personal intelligent tutor which caters specifically to any students’ educational needs. AI has both advantageous and disadvantageous aspects to education. AI is designed in an advanced way, that recognises when and where students are struggling and how they can improve and fix up their mistakes. It monitors and recognises patterns of behaviour and challenges students to improve their learning and education. AI plays a significant role in providing personalised, 1 on 1, student-centred learning. It does so by collecting, storing and reviewing data collected from online homework, assessments, tests and quizzes, for example; which it processes and reviews in order to provide real-time, personalised and constant feedback. This assists students to constantly be aware of their learning, their progression and their improvement and always have help when needed. AI also assists teacher, as it saves time and is more efficient. For instance, the teacher can use AI to recognise, monitor and collect data about students and then provide specific help where and when needed. Teachers can also use AI to monitor what measures students are taking to improve their learning, if they are showing up to class or if they are utilising provided resources or not. COVID-19, as a most recent and current part of history, has highlighted the increasing requirement for AI to be implemented into educational systems. As many students have been forced to continue their education at home, there has been a rise in the need for teachers and students to utilise the assistance of AI and technology. With distance being the major disrupting factor, AI allows teachers and students to teach and learn through online platforms, while assisting teachers to monitor student’s participation and performance and assisting students with obtaining constant, real-time help and feedback.
On the other side of AI teaching speculation, there is the realistic factor of the disadvantages of AI teachers and technology. As mentioned in Digital Divides: Teaching the Future AI is incapable of recognising and providing solutions to the complex factors of humanity. AI is unable to detect emotion, psychological behaviour and ethics; it is simply unable to detect and replicate what makes humans human. Therefore, AI is unable to provide the help that students require from real, human teachers with real-life, human issues. This makes it problematic for students to relate and engage completely with their learning through AI. Moreover, the fact that not all students have access to technology and the internet further makes the implementation of AI teachers into the educational system very difficult, if not impossible. COVID-19 has made it increasingly evident that students whom have no financial resources, have no access technology; thus, prompting these students to fall behind, drop out and slip through the educational cracks. COVID-19 has highlighted the socio-economical gap between the students who have access to technology and the students who do not. Thus, making it increasingly difficult to completely implement AI, or even technology, into educational systems.
Therefore, due to the world not being a completely technological, digitally utopian world, the idea that AI can replace teachers is pretty far-fetched. That, although, students are no longer as limited as students were and teaching theories, as well as, technology has raised the standards of teaching and learning; some students are still at a disadvantage. So, AI assistance? Why not. But AI teachers? Not in ‘light years’