There’s no denying how much the education industry has changed to date. In recent years, we’ve seen – and experienced – technologies that have fundamentally changed the way we learn and teach our younger generation. Just like how we’re slowly warming up to speech recognition programmes and supercomputers that take on any form of debate, we must get ready to move deeper into technological advancements in the learning sphere.
Like the rest of the world, Singapore will also be expected to incorporate artificial intelligence (or A.I. for short). Yes, we’re only just warming up by slowly incorporating it in the way we encourage interactive and deeper learning. But in the future, A.I. in education can do more and possibly make some life-changing improvements for teachers, parents and students.
Personalised study schedules for students
Establishing a fixed curriculum is an important starting point for every education journey. We’re all too familiar how students are expected to learn a new chapter every day or week, with recaps of previous topics only conducted at the end of each school term. As a result of linear learning, students often forget previously-taught concepts and struggle to relearn them when examinations draw near.
With A.I. soon to fully make its way into educational institutions, students will soon be able to learn each concept at their own pace for every tested subject. The curriculum will not change, but the study schedules for each individual will. The staggered, textbook process of learning will be a thing of the past as A.I. can suggest various study schedules to students, depending on their grasp of each subject.
At present, traditional methods of teaching still dominate in classrooms. Some educators are still reluctant to make the switch to technology. Even if they want to, buying computers and other smart devices may not be a priority given the limited budgets imposed on schools. It is a tall order to expect an immediate change, but given the benefits of a personalised study experience for each student, it’s only a matter of time before we see a switch to A.I. in education.
Virtual tutors to help answer questions whenever and wherever
When it comes to gaining knowledge, the role of a teacher is still very much needed. When students are distracted or are left discouraged after a confusing lesson, a teacher can provide support and guidance to get them back on track. Unfortunately, the availability of an educator is limited to the four walls of the classrooms. When students return home and require help upon doing their daily homework and revision, they may not have the resources to have their doubts answered on the spot. These questions will be left hanging until they bring it up in class – if he or she even remembers to do so at all.
A.I.in education can change the way students approach this problem. Instead of waiting for hours and days on end to clarify their points of confusion, they may soon be able to turn to virtual educators for help. Although they cannot provide the human touch in education, they are able to meet the needs of our demands for answers whenever we may need them.
This process will take some time before the virtual tutor accumulates a sizeable amount of data to answer questions that most students struggle with. A.I. in education is still in its infancy and has a long way to go before we can confidently say it is as good as a human teacher. But it’s most definitely a work in progress as it continues to grow its database and provide greater accessibility for those who need clarifications on the fly.
More relevant changes to learning material in real time
Education alone does not mean much unless it is being put to good use and applied to the real world. Content prepared for textbooks take months or years before they can be published and distributed across the board. By then, the world we live in would have changed a fair bit. Information presented to students will also be more difficult in terms of how relatable it is, and whether it can be applied in the future.
As A.I. slowly makes its way into the education realm, teachers will no longer be dependent on published learning material alone. In fact, they can supplement the text by adding more relevant content so students can be more engaged when absorbing new information.
Whatever the advancement may be when it comes to A.I. in education, the end goal is clear: to use technology and help students learn and retain knowledge more effectively. Singapore is already making steady steps towards making full use of A.I. so all students have the right to purposeful learning. It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing more improvements in the future.