What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence seems to be a hot topic in the world today and it’s changing the landscape of education. Yet, AI is not just a hot topic, as it’s all around us and has been for quite some time. Think about the last week of your life: did you use face recognition to open your phone, use Google Maps or Waze to get to a new location, use Alexa, or a filter in an app like Snapchat? If so, you’ve used artificial intelligence. Chances are you’re using it every day. Defined, artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and learn like humans. To learn more about AI you can watch this five-minute video.

How Does Artificial Intelligence Work?

AI systems use a combination of algorithms, machine learning, and deep learning to analyze data and make decisions. AI systems require vast amounts of data to learn and make accurate predictions. The more data an AI system can pull from, the more accurate it will be. As of now, humans must create the networks behind AI, helping it learn what it needs to know to complete a task (which is great, but can cause bias). A great example of this is Google’s Quick Draw site. This site begs the question: “can a neural network learn to recognize doodling?” Users can help teach the artificial intelligence by adding their drawings to the world’s largest doodling data set, which is shared publicly in order to help machine learning research. Check it out yourself – it’s a great activity to play with students! 

How Will Artificial Intelligence Affect Education?

Most teachers know about ChatGPT, but artificial intelligence in education is so much more than this site! AI has the potential to transform education in ways that weren’t imaginable before. Some ways that artificial intelligence can be applied in educational settings are: 

  1. Personalized learning and tutoring: AI can allow learners some influence over how they move through their learning, enhancing the learning process by providing specialized tutoring and more accurate feedback. AI can provide support to students 24/7. 
  2. Collaborative Learning: AI can analyze data on student learning and create content tailored to their needs, even form groups based on AI knowledge about the learners, such as past academic performance and a student’s work style. 
  3. Natural language processing: AI systems can analyze student writing, providing feedback on grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.
  4. Adaptive Assessments: AI systems are able to analyze student performance on an assessment and adjust the level of difficulty based on the students’ abilities. 
  5. Creation of a variety of media: the latest AI technologies can generate videos, music, images, text, and other media modeled after examples its been trained on. This opens up incredible opportunities for student-created media, but also presents challenges and ethical quandaries. 
  6. Intelligent Virtual Reality: Virtual reality can also be enhanced with AI, for example, to interact with and respond to the user’s actions in a natural way. AI can be integrated to provide support and guidance to ensure that the learner interacts properly with the intended learning objectives. Read more here.

It’s important to understand that AI has evolved over time, it will keep evolving, and it is here to stay. There are limitations of artificial intelligence, but the potential of it is vast. AI is such an exciting field, but there are ethical issues regarding the use of AI and, as educators, it is our job to help students understand both the power of AI and the hindrances it can bring.