How education sector can ride on AI for enhanced learning

Pupils in a class at Arap Moi Primary School in Kajiado use solar-powered laptops. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a prevalent topic, with its impact being felt across various sectors including healthcare, finance, retail, manufacturing, marketing, and education. Despite initial skepticism, AI has firmly entrenched itself in our lives, promising transformative changes that are here to stay.

One of the most significant concerns surrounding AI is its potential to automate tasks currently performed by humans, sparking fears of job displacement. Particularly in education, there is a widespread notion that AI-powered technologies could replace educators, undermining the crucial human interaction in classrooms.

However, historical context reminds us that fear often accompanies the emergence of groundbreaking innovations. Electricity, the printing press, and the automobile all faced skepticism initially from society, yet they ultimately propelled progress and advancement.

It is, therefore, worth noting that with careful integration and oversight, AI can complement existing systems rather than render them obsolete. This approach fosters innovation and enhances efficiency across various industries, including education, where AI presents vast opportunities, especially in providing personalised learning experiences alongside traditional teaching methods.

Take ADvLEARN, for example, an AI-powered digital learning tool developed by ADvTECH Group, the parent company of Makini Schools and a leader in pioneering education solutions. The platform, pre-launched early this year, is set to be fully operational next month, allowing teachers to assign exercises to learners and monitor their progress while maintaining the essential human element in education.

By leveraging adaptive learning techniques, advanced algorithms, and data analytics, AI-based learning tools like ADvLEARN can tailor educational experiences to match the unique needs, preferences, and abilities of individual learners. For instance, if a student struggles with a particular topic, the platform can provide additional explanations, practice exercises, and alternative learning resources until mastery is achieved.

Conversely, for advanced learners that grasp concepts quickly, the platform can offer more challenging tasks to further stimulate their learning.

Additionally, ADvLEARN streamlines tasks for teachers by automating the grading of tests and exercises, allowing them to focus on assessing overall student performance and providing targeted interventions. This feature is a game-changer, especially in classroom settings with large student populations.

Furthermore, AI-based platforms offer valuable data insights that help educators identify trends and areas for improvement. For example, if a class consistently scores below average on assessments for a particular topic, even after being taught the material, it could indicate that the instructional methods need adjustment or that the topic’s complexity exceeds the students’ current level of understanding. With this knowledge, the teacher can then take appropriate action by modifying their teaching approach.

Despite the myriad benefits of integrating AI into education, challenges remain. Many schools, particularly in Kenya, lack the resources and infrastructure needed to implement AI technology, potentially contributing to the digital divide. Addressing this issue requires policymakers to invest in initiatives ensuring equal access to AI tools for all schools, including those in underserved communities. Private academic institutions should also strive to make education affordable for students of diverse backgrounds, enhancing access to such technologies.

The issue of data privacy and security are also significant concerns when it comes to AI in education. AI systems often rely on collecting and analyzing large amounts of student data, raising concerns about unauthorised access or misuse. Therefore, schools must establish clear data handling policies and obtain consent from students and parents regarding data usage. Schools should also ensure compliance with data and privacy laws ensuring ethical data handling of big data.

Additionally, integrating AI into classroom instruction requires teachers to develop new skills and adapt their teaching practices. Without adequate training and support, educators may encounter challenges in effectively harnessing AI technologies to enhance learning experiences. Academic institutions should, therefore, provide teachers with comprehensive professional development programmes and ongoing support to build their capacity in using AI tools for successful integration into their teaching strategies.

In conclusion, while the incorporation of AI in education presents challenges, its potential to enhance learning experiences and prepare students for the future is undeniable. With careful consideration, proactive strategies, and investments in resources and training, educators and policymakers can harness the transformative power of AI to create more inclusive, engaging, and effective educational environments for all learners.