Author: Kristina Proffitt
19th March 2019
77% of teachers feel they can’t do their best work because of a lack of time and resources. That means millions of students aren’t getting all they should be able to from their lessons.
Tools powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) offer new resources to teachers and can help them save time. Teachers with more time and resources can focus more on the individual needs of their students.
AI doesn’t just have the potential to benefit teachers, though. Students and admin staff can also use it to be more efficient.
In fact, it can be used in most parts of the education process, from helping to teach students right through to grading papers and even sorting through admission applications.
Let’s take a deeper dive into how AI already helps schools and universities, and what might be to come.
Artificially intelligent teaching assistants
In large classrooms, it’s impossible for teachers to tailor lesson plans to suit every students’ needs. Instead, they focus on what will benefit the majority of the students in the class. This means that those who learn faster or slower than their peers don’t always get the attention they need.
Artificially intelligent teaching assistants (AITA) tailor class content to students’ skill levels. Students can progress at their own pace without needing to wait for their peers to catch up or feeling like they’re slowing other students down.
It provides students with feedback on their skills in real-time, removing the delay that comes with teachers grading work after classes. This can spark immediate conversations on what students can do to improve their skills and of course, their grades.
AI and machine learning can also help on a smaller scale, for example, with writing tools such as Grammarly or Hemingway. These can be used in everyday classrooms without the need to invest in expensive equipment.
A more tailored approach to teaching means that every student gets the attention and feedback they need to progress in their studies. When AI is embraced, they’re not let down by a lack of human classroom assistants. This means they’re less likely to become disengaged because the teaching style doesn’t fit their learning requirements.
Grading papers is one of the most time-consuming parts of teaching. If a teacher can grade one page in three minutes, it will take them around 12 minutes to grade a 1,000-word essay. For a classroom of 30, that’s six hours of marking. For a single essay, from a single class.
Right now, AI is best suited to grading multiple-choice questions, as the answers are either right or wrong. However, this is changing. AI and machine learning are adapting to understand the context of language, making it better at grading essays.
AI can grade 16,000 essays in as little as 20 seconds. No human teacher will ever be able to replicate that.
They can, however, use the time that AI saves them. Even if there will always be a need for a human eye to balance the evaluation from AI, teachers can save hours on grading every week.
This time can be used to plan lessons, work with students, and recover after a long day. Rested teachers will have more energy and focus to provide a better quality of teaching to their students.
Saving teachers time provides them with a better working environment, making teaching a more attractive career choice.
Faster marking also means that students can receive their grades sooner. They then have longer to act on the feedback they’re given. This means they have longer to work toward improving their grades.
Over the course of their academic career, this additional time that they have to act on feedback can make a huge difference to a student’s academic progress, changing everything from their GPA right through to the colleges and universities that they can apply to.
Smarter timetable management
Schedules and timetables keep schools, colleges, and universities running. They’re vital in helping students and teachers know where they need to be and when. Software that coordinates these without factoring in real-time schedules risks falling prey to scheduling conflicts.
Unlike traditional scheduling software, which doesn’t factor in users’ current schedules and often results in double-bookings, AI can schedule classes in seconds. Because it can automatically connect to everyone’s calendars there’s no risk of scheduling conflicts for anyone or anything involved.
AI can also ensure that two classes haven’t booked the same room at the same time. No class has to miss out due to miscommunication or poor scheduling solutions.
When schedules are created using calendar sync and AI, personalized schedules can be created for everyone. Students are placed in classes that suit their skills, not their schedules. Even though schedules are more tailored to everyone, they require less work from admin staff to create. Once information on staff, students, and subjects has been inputted, AI can work out the rest.
AI and calendar sync can also be used to make it easier for teachers to book out resources such as tablets or VR equipment. This avoids any double-bookings, providing a better experience for students and teachers. Teachers can then form lesson plans around the availability of these resources without needing to mitigate the risk of something being unavailable or double-booked.
Smarter schedules also make it easier to manage the timetables of substitute teachers. They can be provided with information directly to their calendars on where they need to be and when. For teachers that are in different schools each day, information on the school’s location can also be added to their calendars.
Organizing substitute teachers faster means that students are less likely to fall behind in their studies because they’ve missed out on valuable lesson time.
Streamlined admissions processes
The average college admissions team receives 75,870 applications every year.
AI can filter through admissions essays to see if students use terms or phrases that show if they’re a good fit for the institution. Cultural fit is one of the top three reasons that students leave before having graduated. Some argue that AI will help to find more of a cultural fit, while others argue that it can’t take into account diversity or other factors that are equally important for colleges and universities.
Chatbots with AI can answer common questions that students have, saving staff hours every week answering students’ questions via email or on the phone.
Scheduling admissions interviews, meetings with scouts, and campus tours can also be done with AI and calendar sync. Schedules for these meetings can be synced with the organizers, avoiding any double-bookings in their calendars.
Students are provided with a faster, simpler booking experience and can organize everything they need at the same time. They’re left with a more positive view of the institution, meaning that they may be more likely to choose it if they receive multiple offers.
AI can give teachers more time to spend with students in a variety of ways. It’s not about taking away from their job, it’s about giving them more time to do what they’re paid to do: help students to achieve their full potential.
It’s also about ensuring that students get the best possible education they can, regardless of what their baseline abilities are. Students shouldn’t suffer during their academic years because how they’re taught doesn’t suit how they learn.
Students ready to go to college or university are also provided with a better experience. Everything they need can be done online using AI, from booking meetings and interviews to getting their questions answered.
The admissions process is more streamlined, saving admissions teams countless hours every year. This gives them more time to deal with the tens of thousands of applications that they receive every year.
Admin staff can use the time that they save from coordinating schedules to focus on providing a better experience for staff, students, and parents. This creates a better working environment for staff, and a better learning environment for students. Long-term, the institution’s brand will benefit from this improved working and learning environment, bringing in more students and therefore more revenue.
What education-related tasks would you like to see AI take care of? Let us know on Twitter!
Date: 19th March 2019 | Category: Edtech