Artificial Intelligence is no longer just contained in science fiction films. It is a part of our everyday lives and in our classrooms. As we use tools like Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, we are just beginning to see the possibilities of AI in education. And, we should expect to see more.
Smartphones, tablet computers and other internet-oriented devices fill today’s digital age, and yet access to these common technologies is not universal. A full quarter of Americans were still without broadband as of about a year ago, according to TIME, and many U.S. young people experience what has become known as the digital divide on a daily basis in their schools throughout the country.
The major disparity is both shocking and widespread. One of the most prevalent issues is that children from low-income families are four times more likely to be without internet than their middle-income counterparts. This limits their ability to perform research, complete school projects, and perform other assignments issued by teachers.
AI will have its place in teaching and learning, but transparency will be one of the key attributes of its effective application. For example, some students could benefit from a personal assistant who reminds them of upcoming due dates, asks if they need help using a particular tool or feature in an online class, and provides study tips. But students need to know, from the beginning, that this personal assistant is a robot and that their instructor is a human.
Blended learning has taken the place of factory-style education. This new educational model combines traditional face-to-face education with online learning opportunities in the form of e-courses and collaborative projects with peers and subject matter experts. Advocates of blended learning say that it is less restrictive, more authentic, and offers greater flexibility.
Today, both teachers and learners use computers, tablets and other devices as study tools. In fact, it’s now almost normal for people to study in the comfort of their homes, online. But still, experts say artificial intelligence is what learners need to effectively benefit from education.
More research is needed to determine if the use of computers can have positive long-term effects on cognitive skills, academic performance, social relationships and psychological well-being of our children. We must take steps that maximize positive effects of computer use and minimize negative effects on children's lives.
Members of this group confront constraints in their schedules and how much time they can dedicate to learning. Owing to this diversity of circumstances, educators face an uphill battle in being able to personalize learning experiences in ways that could help their students. But technology could play a role.
Just a couple of decades ago, writing a research paper required a trip to the library, where you had to carry every heavy encyclopedia available to a desk and write down as much information as possible before the library closed. These days, all kids have to do is get on the internet, do a quick search (that doesn’t even have to be very specific) and choose a few (credible) resources. Technology has saved students a lot of time and effort.
While these schools were once healthy and thriving institutions of higher learning for minority students, enrollment has been on the decline for decades. Black and minority students are still attending college, but they are less likely to attend HBCUs than they were in the past. Unfortunately, this shift in enrollment is making it even more difficult for these schools to keep up and attract new students.