A veteran educator reflects on the personalized-learning trend that’s left him wondering if a computer is more capable of doing his job than he is.
Artificial intelligence, or simply AI, is a subset of computer science that involves teaching computers how to learn, reason, and make decisions like humans do. Bonilla said the technology has been around since the 1950s, but advances have led to everyday applications that have made people more aware of the technology. In the classroom, AI enables customized learning.
This year's NMC Horizon Report 2017 Higher Education report identified six major roadblocks to education technology, either in its adoption or in its implementation. The report divided the roadblocks into three categories: those that pose challenges but that are solvable in the near term, those that are more difficult to solve but are still understandable and those that are "wicked difficult" -- nigh impossible even to define, let alone solve.
LEAP Innovations, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization, works on both sides of the equation, providing a pilot network program that links schools and education technology companies. Schools say what they need and then get to test-drive programs for free. Companies get a real-life run and meaningful feedback on their offerings. This symbiosis helps schools cut through the clutter to find solutions that actually work as intended.
Students, parents and teachers agree that more at-home learning time with digital tools is a must. So why aren’t many schools meeting this demand? In a 2016 Deloitte survey of K–12 public and private school educators, parents of school-age children, and K–12 students themselves, the majority of these three groups indicated they wanted more at-home learning with digital tools to supplement school work.
From Siri handling our schedules to smart cars driving themselves, artificial intelligence (AI) has turned our world upside down -- except in education. Computers are trading on the stock markets for us, but our schools might as well be stuck in the 12th century. Children sit in the same orderly rows they have for centuries, learning Euclidean geometry while being bored to tears.
Oxley explained how he uses technology to help students express their ideas within his classroom. “Some of my students are a little apprehensive in a traditional classroom situation,” Oxley said. “If I open up discussion and put questions on our Canvas site, they might be apprehensive in person, but they feel completely comfortable so they write wonderful responses to questions and discussions online.” Scott Allen, the Center for Teaching and Learning instructional designer, agrees that technology has become a key part of the traditional classroom.
An education technology company with literacy products has launched a free online tool to help teachers apply a blended learning model in their classrooms, whether they're running a 1-to-1 program or having students share devices. ThinkCERCA released the "Classroom Planning Tool" specifically to help users figure out how to implement its own software, but the models provided in the tool could really be used with other curricula as well.
There is no denying that governments around the world are expanding investments in education technology, from inputs that students use directly (like Kenya’s project to put tablets in schools) to digital resources to improve the education system (like Rio de Janeiro’s school management system). As public and private school systems continue to integrate technology into their classrooms, remember that education technology comes with risks.
College and opportunity have always been intertwined, yet the relationship can be paradoxical. Education has been called the silver bullet to poverty. As an extension of that, higher education can be assumed to offer egalitarian opportunity. David Leonhardt’s article titled “America’s Great Working-Class Colleges” gives me pause about this relationship, and, as always, technology both solves and exacerbates the problem.