Artificial Intelligence and Education: A tale of innovation and possibilities
Artificial Intelligence, popularly known as AI is no more a piece a fiction usually referenced in dystopian and science fiction movies like The Matrix, I, Robot, 2001: The Space Odyssey, and even in literature like Dan Brown’s most recent book Origin, which might be a bit more closer to reality.
If this article was in your “suggested section”, then it was probably done with the help of an AI algorithm which tracks your activity and suggests you content which is similar to the content you interact with on a regular basis.
How AI has penetrated into our daily lives?
To elaborate more on the influence and penetration of Artificial Intelligence on our daily lives, let’s talk about the following examples.
When you are surfing on a social media platform like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, some posts show up at the top of your feed even if they have not been made as recently. This happens because AI tracks your activity on the social media platform and tracks the content you like and interact with more often and hence suggests you similar content to improve your experience on the app.
Now you know why your Instagram feed and the search menu is flooded with those cute dog videos or mouth-watering food videos.
Similarly, if you use Google News to catch up on the news of the day, you might notice the “for you” section on the platform. In this section, you get a personalized feed based on your interests. So let’s say if you are an avid sports fan and like to frequently check up on updates about your favorite team or player, be sure to see news about them in the “for you” section.
AI is clearly already making decisions for us and we as consumers often fail to realize just how much Artificial Intelligence has affected our lives. Consumers use more AI than they realize. To put this in perspective, while only 33% think they use AI-enabled technology, 77% actually use an AI-powered service or device (Source: Pega).
Now don’t be confused, AI isn’t like something showed in dystopian movies where it is the reason for the doom of humanity. AI has many applications in multiple sectors and it is definitely making our lives easier.
As humanity progresses towards a technologically driven world and much of its work and data stored digitally on virtual platforms like cloud technology, Artificial Intelligence is the natural next step in our technological advancement.
AI has entered in automobiles, health care, manufacturing. The education sector is also getting ready to embrace AI-driven technology enablement.
Do you know that Artificial Intelligence has applications in education and online examinations?
The Role of AI in education
The size of the education sector is massive and it is growing. According to the 2011 Census of the Indian population, the Indian Education System comprises of around Three Hundred and Fifteen Million (315 Million) students alone. This number does not even include the tens of thousands of teachers, administrators, and other non-teaching staff.
If this number doesn’t seem big enough to you, let’s put it in perspective. The population of the United States of America, the world’s third most populous country, is around Three Hundred and Thirty Million (330 Million) people (Source: United States Census Bureau).
Surely this gargantuan Indian Education System and likewise global education systems can really benefit from automation and the use of Artificial Intelligence. The AI in the education market is supposed to reach USD 2 billion by 2023 growing at 38% CAGR in the forecast period 2018-2023 (Source: Market Research Future).
Here are a few ways in which AI can help at the grassroots level:
Artificial Intelligence can help teachers in grading and conducting exams
Exams require a lot of planning and logistics like setting a question paper, printing the question papers for hundreds or even thousands of students and providing them with answer sheets.
The process does not stop here. Teachers then have to manually evaluate the question papers, which takes a lot of time. Institutes also have to dedicate time to a reevaluation period. After the papers are evaluated, which might take several weeks, the results need to be published too, which again is a tedious process.
As we can now see, conducting and grading exams is a time and human labor-consuming task. But institutes can save a lot of time, money and human labor by using online assessment tools that are powered by Artificial Intelligence for conducting exams.
Artificial Intelligence can help teachers with feedback
Artificial Intelligence can track the performance of students in exams and quizzes and then it can provide teachers with detailed analytics of individual students performance and the performance of the batch as a whole.
With the help of these analytics, teachers will understand which concepts or topic areas are hard for students to understand and they can come up with new strategies to help students understand those topics.
Thus, with the help of AI teachers can analyze teaching techniques and strategies to which the students are most receptive. This makes learning easier for students and also decreases the burden on teachers.
Artificial Intelligence can personalize learning for students:
AI can also be used as a personal teaching assistant. AI can understand and adapt to a student’s grasping power and learning abilities and can come up with personalized methods that will help the student understand a particular concept with maximum attention and retention.
AI systems can also alert teachers if a particular student is lagging behind their batch in particular subjects or subjects. With the help of this feature and analytics, teachers can work with the pupil on a personal level so that they understand concepts and do not lag behind.
These students can also benefit from AI tutors and AI educational platforms which understand the student’s abilities and customizes learning methods for them.
The rising popularity of Online Examinations
In recent years online examinations have gained a wider acceptance in the Indian Education System and they have become a popular trend, with many educational institutes planning on introducing them in their curriculum.
Online examinations are a testament to technology’s contribution to the education sector and helping it cope up with its massive size and saving it from succumbing under its own weight.
Online examinations are a better way to conduct exams than the traditional pen-paper based offline exams because they are hassle-free and do not cause a logistical headache of printing and distributing physical question papers and answer sheets across examination centers, without causing paper leaks.
In pen-paper based exams, the question papers and answer sheets have to be collected and transported to a center where examiners will evaluate the answer sheets.
Online exams help save all of this hassle and teachers time. Online Examination Systems can evaluate online exams and give instantaneous results.
Online examinations can be conducted anywhere in the world provided that the candidate has access to an electronic device with proper hardware and an internet connection.
Thus online exams help save time, money and manpower.
So why are educational institutes still apprehensive about letting students appear for online exams from remote locations?
The biggest concerns of educational institutes about remote examinations are the lack of physical communication with the candidate and hence an increased risk of malpractices and identity frauds.
How can AI help prevent cheating in online exams?
Artificial Intelligence can give solutions to all the concerns of educational institutes in conducting remote online examinations.
AI-enabled remote proctoring can help simplification of online exams in a great way.
Many organizations are working on this concept and in the coming years, we would see a number of innovations in this segment.
Physical examination invigilation can be a thing of the past with AI-enabled proctoring during the examination process.
AI can do wonders with access to the candidate’s audio and video feed, and here’s how:
Facial Recognition: This incredible technology can be used to verify the identity of the candidate and prevent identity fraud. The system will verify the candidate’s identity corresponding to a valid ID proof and the examination process will proceed only when the identity is verified.
The system detects suspicious movements:
With access to the candidate’s audio and visual feed, the system can detect suspicious movements. Let’s say that the candidate has hidden notes outside the focal range of the webcam, the system can still detect this malpractice from the suspicious movement of the candidate since they will have to move and adjust themselves to refer to the notes.
The system will know if the candidate is talking to someone: With access to the candidate’s audio and video feed, the system will understand if they are talking to unauthorized personnel and flag this behavior.
The system can recognize different faces using facial recognition technology and will know if there are multiple people in front of the screen and whether the candidate is taking their help.
The system will know if the candidate is using electronic devices or books:
The system keeps monitoring the candidate for suspicious activities. If the candidate uses any electronic device, say a mobile phone, during the duration of the examination, the system will understand and terminate the exam.
Similarly, the system will also understand if the candidate is referring to notes or books during the examination and flag this behavior.
The system will understand if the candidate is using the internet: Online examinations are conducted using the secure browser method. This means that the candidate cannot access the internet for purposes other than the examination.
The system will understand if the candidate tries to open a new window or browser during the exam and will give a warning to the candidate.
What does the future hold?
The possibilities with AI are immense and vast. AI already has a huge impact on our lives, whether we realize it or not. This technology has the power to transform many things from agriculture to finance to governance and, yes, education.
Education in itself is a dynamic sector, evolving as society evolves and its needs change.
AI could be the answer to answer the shortage of teachers in many regions of the world. AI is already helping students learn better by personalizing their curriculum. It is giving teachers real-time feedback, helping them improve and teach better.
AI is decreasing the load on teachers and administrators by automating so many processes.
With AI and Education put together, the possibilities are endless. What we can be sure of, is to be wonderstruck as the amalgamation of AI and education continues.
About the Author
Swapnil has more than 15 years of experience in the Information Technology sector. He has been working on digital platforms in the education sector. Swapnil is an avid reader and writes articles on technology and leading developments in the education and IT sectors.
Swapnil is the founder of Splashgain, an Education Technology company from India working on various innovative EdTech platforms for examinations, proctoring solutions, digital admission process and more. Splashgain has been working with many educational institutes and universities for AI-powered innovations and solutions to transform the education sector. Splashgain has also filed a patent for an innovative product based on AI.