Education companies continue to tout the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) to greatly improve learning among students at all levels. While AI is being tested today in select applications, such as “intelligent tutors” and so-called “smart content,” many of the promises of what this advanced technology can do in education remain largely unfulfilled. The fact is, AI is not a cure-all for education — nor should it be.
More than ever, what’s needed is collaborative and comparative research by major players in education into how best to deploy AI as a sophisticated tool for teachers to help them reach and teach students more effectively using a “human-plus-technology” approach known as the blended learning environment. Without a transparent, scientific approach, education is at risk of being stuck with the same problems ten years from now: using a largely marketing approach to “sell” education on AI, without solid methods grounded in research. And, in the process, it will needlessly unnerve educators, students, and parents with visions of “robo-teachers” replacing humans in the classroom.
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Teaching and preparing the workforce of the present and future with 21st century skills is a growing priority. The World Economic Forum, for example, has launched an initiative on “Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work,” encouraging the sharing of analyses and insights, fostering dialogue among stakeholders and experts, and encouraging greater collaboration among “business, government, civil society, and the education and training sector”—by industry, regionally, and globally.Today In: Leadership
While in Davos at the World Economic Forum, I spoke with Satyadeep Rajan, founder and president of Swiss Learning Exchange who previously was responsible for the education theme at the forum. He stressed the urgency of giving education at least the same attention at key international thought leadership events as is given to other global concerns, such as banking or mining. “Until recently, education has not been taken as seriously or worthwhile. There is a giant gap between what participants at these events know and the real world in education,” he told me.
A parallel to the collaborative research approach can be found in medical education, which is often interdisciplinary in nature. The education industry, however, has relied largely on painting a picture of what new technology may do in the future, which would not be acceptable in other science-based industries such as medicine and pharmacology. Given that learning is also science, we in education should hold ourselves to more rigorous standards for quantifying results from using advanced technology.
This article originally appeared in Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/ulrikjuulchristensen/2019/01/28/why-ai-cant-be-educations-cure-all/#2d710abb4c7c