Why would we want to return to crowded classrooms with a shortage of teachers to provide quality education? Can a mandatory lockdown finally demonstrate the added value of the Artificial Intelligence technology in education?
We have already been using the new and innovative technologies for education on a massive scale. Never before have I seen teachers work so agile and positively on innovation. Why should we not reap the benefits of this for the education and future of our workforce?
In China, robots are not science fiction, but are already used for the education and training of children. A whole new generation of children finds AI robots as common there as the iPad, mobile phone or PlayStation, and more than a hundred million educational robots were already sold last year in 2019. In the last few days after coronavirus, the Chinese government has invested meaningfully in AI-supported learning.
Unfortunately, even in digital China, many online learning platforms are being thrown into obscurity as schools reopen. However, there too, teachers, parents and students are not too keen to re-enter crowded school settings.
It seems to me now, more than ever, that our society must continue to focus on AI-supported and hybrid education excelling in efficiency and agility in several aspects, and agile education as the new normal.
Flexible Online Learning
There are enough arguments for that. First of all, distance and online learning offers opportunities for differentiation. Class diversity is not only a major challenge for teachers, as it demands a flexible attitude, bit teacher also have to do a lot of work tailored to the student.
In the education area, UK Writing Help, an academic guidance platform, wants educational institutes to give as many students as possible a chance for qualification, and relies on educational methods that provide flexibility in what, how, when, where and with whom students learn within the common curriculum.
These flexible learning paths are also the basis of many artificial learning technologies. Progress and difficulty are determined by the system here and are no longer the responsibility of the teacher. When, where and with whom it turns out that many social apps are no longer a difficult task in Covid-19 times. Students even seem to use apps like WhatsApp as collaboration platforms that bring them together virtually with other students in the class at any time.
Learning technologies can also offer these students a calmer learning environment. Of course I also read those students who are particularly hard hit by the current crisis in terrible home situations. Yet I also see more and more studies that confirm that a large number of students with a good working and learning attitude are now processing the material faster than ever. These students often have a burden and they experience much less stress. They feel like learning and working for school again when they can take responsibility for their own learning process.
Teachers and Students of the Future
Thirdly, hybrid and agile education can partly compensate for the teacher shortage by reducing the number of (contact) hours to the necessary ones. A good example is the many online tests that replace exams in the era of corona. Existing online test platforms have implemented automatic correction, intelligent evaluation and ranking with AI and save hours of administrative tasks and improvements.
In online classrooms, online lessons can automatically convert to audio files that students can consult afterwards. In addition, the video and audio files of teachers and students can be automatically analyzed to assess the virtual classroom quality based on the content.
The platforms also prepare us for the future. No one is sure, but there is speculation about a possible new lockdown. When we have embraced the flexibility and agility of what technology has to offer, we can respond more quickly to new pandemics or other black swans that are shutting down ‘normal’ school life.
However, there is another not to be forgotten advantage. We want to prepare our students for future jobs. They seem to require digital skills more than ever. If the ‘future workforce’ already acquires digital skills and self-directed learning, they are well prepared for the uncertain future.
Finally, there are the costs. It goes without saying that cost savings, also in education, continue to be important. It is perhaps the cost savings that will ultimately be the deciding factor to leave our known paths and embrace hybrid and agile learning as the new normal. To provide children with education that supports their well-being and prepares them for the future.
Edith Michael, who wrote this article, is a well-experienced author working at UK Writing Help since 2014. This is a platform providing guidance in research and writing to students. The writer provided some facts based evidence and information that the future of education is digital and the current pandemic situation globally due to Covid-19 may establish that digital technology would prevail in the education environment in the near future.