Adoption of artificial intelligence is on the rise: According to research firm Gartner, 37 percent of organizations have now “implemented AI in some form,” and adoption is up 270 percent over the past four years.
Schools are following suit: Technavio’s “Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector 2018-2022” report predicts a nearly 48 percent growth rate for AI tools over the next three years.
The challenge? Separating market interest from authentic impact. As noted by MIT Technology Review, the rapid development and uptake of AI solutions has created an environment where companies may “obfuscate and oversell” AI abilities even as organizations race to implement new solutions and keep up with the competition.
The key to AI success is specificity. It is crucial to define key needs AI tools can meet and shortcomings it can address. This is especially true for K–12 institutions faced with limited time and budgets.
MORE FROM EDTECH: Check out how K–12 schools have adopted AI in 2019.
5 Roles AI Solutions Have in K–12 Classrooms
There’s no rulebook for deploying artificial intelligence in schools. While solutions such as IBM’s Watson Education and Google’s recently announced Google Cloud Platform storage and AI initiative offers the potential for schools to deliver personalized learning strategies and offer analytics-based performance insight; how K–12 institutions leverage these tools is entirely up to them.
Some of the most common concerns are around human bias and overall accuracy. As RAND senior policy researcher Robert Murphy notes in a post for Education Week, “maybe 10 percent, 20 percent, 40 percent of the time [the system] will get it wrong,” making AI in schools an excellent supplemental tool, but no replacement for teachers.
As noted by Education Technology, the increasing use of AI in schools also brings ethical questions to the fore. Organizations must now consider what type of data is being collected, how this information is being used and what controls are in place to safeguard student privacy. In addition, administrators are worried about how increasing AI adoption will impact human staffing.
The best bet for schools adopting AI is to define how these solutions can drive positive outcomes before allowing them access to student data. While individual usage may vary, effective AI in education can be grouped into five general roles:
Automation: The simplest application of AI often provides the most immediate benefit: By automating straightforward tasks such as grading, digital asset categorization or timetable scheduling, educators can increase the amount of time they spend actively engaging with students.
Integration: AI solutions can integrate with other IT initiatives such as smart technology and IoT-driven networks to provide personalized learning solutions for students.
Acclimation: Technology is now an integral part of both educational and business environments. Recent Pew Research data shows that 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone and 45 percent are online “almost constantly.” AI in schools can help acclimate students to the pace of technological change.
Delineation: Students’ needs and curriculum priorities are constantly shifting, making it difficult for educators to ensure the content they deliver remains relevant and actionable. AI-driven analytics in education can help spot critical trends and delineate key markers to help teachers design the most effective classroom experience and drive digital transformation.
Identification: Data analytics informed by adaptative AI solutions can help identify critical areas for student and teacher performance. Combined with robust security and access controls, AI can help spot and remedy potential problems in their formative stages.