The Artificial Intelligence (AI) space dominates our news platforms: new technologies, devices and ways of learning and accessing information are ever-present in children’s lives. As we publish our 2023 Future of Education Report we seek to better develop the education system to aid students in navigating the world they live in. With our report evidencing that just 6% of children say that they are being taught about AI in schools, and with children in the UK already falling behind the rest of Europe, the time to learn more is now.
Artificial Intelligence: Explained
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a lot less scary than it sounds. Taking on many forms across so many different industries AI aims to support people to make their jobs easier. Artificial intelligence in education can be used in the classroom for any age group, making this an exciting and evolving technology.
This isn’t about sci-fi robots coming for our jobs, but a bit more about machines or simulated human intelligence in computer systems or programs in machines. You probably already use it already in your daily life, for example through Amazon’s Alexa or your digital alarm clock that also makes you a coffee.
We can understand why parents might be sceptical about this new technology and how it affects their child’s digital wellbeing. In this article we’re going to combine data from our 2023 Future of Education Report with our knowledge of AI to guide you through how things are changing.
AI has been upending and disrupting industries for years; from business to entertainment, to social media and manufacturing, it’s only right that education should be next. AI is revolutionising the way we interact with the world and improving our everyday lives.
Felix Ohswald, CEO and co-founder at GoStudent says: ‘There is both fear and excitement when it comes to AI and the futures of our young people. New technology brings new potential but many of the jobs young people are aiming for may evolve due to technology, by the time they leave school.’
'At GoStudent, our aim is to prepare children for the world and the future by unlocking the full potential of every student, but the report shows that traditional classes may be leaving young people ill-equipped for lives and careers in the 21st century. Education must evolve if we are to give this generation the skills they need to thrive.’
How is AI currently used in schools?
AI is already being used in lots of schools around the world, across areas such as:
- Making administrative tasks simpler
- Personalising learning experiences
- Online quizzing and games that remember student scores
- Providing feedback on assignments
- Translation and word generating tools
- Apps that provide individualised tasks and exam prep assignments
- Helping with building management like temperature control and alarms
Schools can even use AI to support the ordinary curriculum through things like improving lunchtime clubs and homework, so that teachers can continue to stimulate and engage with students but reduce the amount of prep time required.
As we increase our use and skills with AI it will only get smarter and more sophisticated, being able to analyse data more effectively and create engaging environments for us and our children.
Virtual Reality (VR) refers to a computer-generated simulation in which a person can interact within an artificial three-dimensional environment using electronic devices – usually special goggles with a screen. In this simulated artificial environment, the user is able to have a realistic immersive experience.
In the classroom, this can result in students experiencing different environments all over the world, from a safari in Masai Mara to watching virtual dissections of frogs. VR can be viewed through VR headsets or projected onto walls and open up a whole new world of possibilities for teachers and schools.
Immersive classrooms are ones which project images onto walls, like constellations, tours of religious temples or moving diagrams of rivers to be able to articulate important concepts.
Imagine travelling right inside the body to experience the blood system in 360 degrees! It’s experiential, inclusive and interactive and doesn’t have to replace the pen-and-paper notes in any way.
For families who don’t want to buy yet another gadget, this allows young people to share in an educational experience with their peers in a learning environment.
What about teachers?
Let’s get it straight, teachers are not being replaced, and never will be! Human to human interaction and being taught by knowledgeable professionals who know how to guide young people is nothing short of vital. We don’t want robot teachers, and we definitely don’t want robot children.
In the world of AI, education is just being supplemented by technology. AI can improve educational experiences and promote learning cultures that we once thought impossible. Teachers and tech can work together to support early years, primary, secondary and even Further and Higher education.
AI technology adapts to students’ growing knowledge in real time, platforms like Seneca provide personalised feedback, assessments and guidance on next steps. AI is currently being used by teachers and education administrators to analyse and interpret data, enabling them to make better-informed decisions.
Maths programmes like Hegarty allow teachers to adapt levels of challenge to student progress levels and learning needs, instantly telling them where their strengths and weaknesses lie and setting their next level of instruction instantly.
AI can help neurodiverse and SEND (Special Educational Needs) students by reading passages aloud to provide a more equitable education. Reading pens (disguised as ordinary pens!) scan texts for students in class in real time, allowing students to keep up with challenging material.
Further and Higher education
There are plenty of ways that AI is being used beyond the secondary classroom. A-Level teachers and university lecturers are using AI to detect plagiarism, promote exam integrity, manage course administration, transcript faulty lectures, host online discussion boards and analyse student metrics for large-scale courses.
There are tools that help lecturers create custom lecture series and turn textbooks into study guides. For hybrid learning models where universities are offering many courses virtually as well as in person, AI is essential to be able to make global classrooms available to everyone who wants to attend.
There are even downloadable and embedded writing tools like Grammarly help with academic writing so that students can focus on the knowledge first.
Speech recognition software like Nuance is capable of transcribing up to 160 words per minute which is imperative for students who struggle with writing or have accessibility needs, as well as those who go on to do research projects which collect data.
This is about teachers and educators being able to process huge amounts of data very quickly, and tailor and improve their courses in the long-term for every single learner.
Do you want your child to be a part of an institution like that in a few years time?
The GoStudent report
Our report this year of over 6000 children and their parents and guardians across Europe reveals that Austria leads the continent for all things AI (43% are already using new technology to learn!), with children in the UK falling behind (at just a third of students).
Parents want their children prepared for the future with eight out of ten (81%) wanting technology development (including Artificial Intelligence, Alternate Reality and Virtual Reality) taught in schools.
We know that one in seven children (14%) are already using AI technology to learn at home, so we need to arm children with more of these essential skills for adult life. AI is expected to become an ever-increasing presence in our lives with the potential to replace huge swathes of jobs, making the job-market increasingly more competitive.
Despite these predictions, just 6% of children say they are learning about it in school. We know that schools need to use more adaptive learning in the next five years. Children think and know it’s important because it is, and the divide will only increase between children and their parents in their ability to make use of these platforms.
At GoStudent, we know that the future of education is hybrid, and we already use a virtual learning tutoring platform tailored to students’ needs. Students can access a highly qualified, personal tutor at the click of a button.
We know that access to learning needs to be readily available for children everywhere, so we use digital tools like virtual whiteboards, shared drives, online quizzing and virtual communication platforms like Zoom so that students can make progress in their own homes.
What does the future of AI in schools look like?
It’s time to better equip schools with the money, time and resources to prepare for these vital next few years in education. Our report reveals a number of key areas that parents want to see being taught by using elements of AI:
- Personal finance
- The environment
- Current affairs
- Tax and finances
With the rising cost-of-living crisis it’s no surprise that personal finance was the most in-demand area of learning, with nine out of ten parents wanting support with teaching it to their children.
One of the biggest challenges in AI is the need for expertise, teachers need to be properly familiarised and trained in platforms to be able to best use them with students. Teachers who are not familiar with AI may find it difficult to integrate this technology into their teaching practices, and they may need support and training to get started.
There are ethical concerns with using AI, too. As AI becomes more sophisticated, we must be mindful of its impact on privacy, security and the job market. The government and other organisations must support schools to protect young people from data exposure and other security risks. It’s important to:
- Partner with reliable provider (who can support training!)
- Start small and work your way up
- Foster critical thinking: it can’t do all the work for you
- Review consistently and go back to basics when needed
Matthew Lynch, leading writer on the benefits of artificial intelligence in education says that, ‘the use of AI in education is valuable in some ways, but we must be hyper-vigilant in monitoring its development and its overall role in our world’.
Our report can’t predict exactly how technology will influence careers of the future, but it does give some indication as to what makes a job meaningful for youngsters, with 73% of children saying it was important to make a difference in the world.
Remember you can book a free trial lesson to join us in forging the future of AI in education. Diversify and advance the way your child accesses learning today. Read our testimonials to find out more.