By Dr. Kandis Boyd Wyatt
Faculty Member, Transportation and Logistics
Artificial intelligence (AI) is all around us, and its global acceptance continues to grow. As AI continues to expand, it will permeate just about every aspect of our daily lives and is especially prevalent in the area of education. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global reckoning when it comes to infusing education with new techniques to teach remotely.
AI Needs Teachers to Be Successful
While most of us would not argue that teachers are the connective glue to any great instructional experience, how to make that connection is still debatable. In-person learning and virtual learning are two ends of the spectrum, with hybrid learning becoming an interesting mix of the two. However, there is as yet no way to provide real-time feedback to instructors on how to remotely teach effectively.
Most classroom settings are based on the 19th-century Victorian/militaristic structure whereby students show up, sit down and listen, and absorb the instructor’s lecture. If you have been around a child lately, you’ll agree that this is the very opposite of their being. Children want action, interaction and visual/audio/kinetic stimulation. So do adult learners.
Flipping the Classroom Model
Artificial intelligence can create a new classroom model. The traditional model consists of students learning from an instructor who then reinforces the learning through homework assignments. AI can reimagine the classroom by providing instruction as a home assignment, then practical hands-on activities in the presence of the instructor. This technique allows students to learn at their own pace by pausing, replaying and learning at a time that is most convenient for them, then mastering the information with the instructor providing real-time feedback.
In addition, student competency can provide feedback to the instructor to improve the lesson and provide another learning portal for fellow students trying to master the concepts. Once a competency is mastered, the student can be evaluated and move on.
AI can reimagine the classroom. In this realm, the teacher can be in another state or country. Targeted instruction can be pre-recorded from anywhere in the world, which means more students can have access to high-quality education. Let’s face it: teaching styles differ, and students could have a choice to find an instructor that resonates with their learning styles.
Benefits of AI
AI can take the classroom into a new realm of possibilities. First, it can address the gap in services by providing streamlined, low-cost education to all students, regardless of their location. Robots, a term that makes some pedagogues cringe, can be an asset in the classroom by addressing some of the more mundane, routine instructional tasks. For example, a robot can take attendance, grade quizzes, address software/hardware issues and provide feedback in real time.
For elementary school teachers, AI can reduce the amount of money they pay out of their pockets for supplies, resources for students and classroom/hallway decorations. Many visual stimulants are virtual now and are replaced by AI that is infused into virtual technology. AI can bring both virtual reality and augmented reality into the classroom, so the mundane can become interesting in a visual, scalable manner.
Here’s another way of thinking about this situation. A worldwide community can be constructed with AI to share lesson plans, resources and best practices in the virtual environment. Environmentalists can agree that AI decreases the need for paper and non-biodegradable classroom products.
AI can also provide additional resources to allow students to dig deep into topics that resonate with them and evoke a new way of learning to turn on new interests and passions. AI can even reduce cultural, ethnic and socio-economic biases in the classroom, allowing students to spend more time on actual learning.
AI will continue to expand the possibilities of learning by infusing new technologies and techniques into the classroom. AI can revolutionize the classroom by tapping into complex constructs, improvising assessment functionality and facilitating automatic scoring.
About the Author
Dr. Kandis Y. Boyd Wyatt, PMP, is a professor at the university and has 20 years of experience managing projects that specialize in supply chain management. She holds a B.S. in meteorology and an M.S. in meteorology and water resources from Iowa State University, as well as a D.P.A. in public administration from Nova Southeastern University.