5 possible roles of artificial intelligence in education

The ever-increasing power of computers enables applications that were once unthinkable. Beyond the technical aspects, it is clear that artificial intelligence can also play many roles in education.

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The ever-increasing power of computers enables applications that were once unthinkable. Beyond the technical aspects, it is clear that artificial intelligence can also play many roles in education.

Not long ago, we were talking about the impact of Google on the memory. As many tech watchers say, the power of computers and smartphones is doubling very quickly. We therefore have access to ever faster and more powerful devices, with increasingly phenomenal computing capacity.

A few years ago, I had the chance to visit the Mammout of the University of Sherbrooke. At the time, this supercomputer was the fastest in Canada. What could such a fast computer be used for? The person in charge of the project explained to us that several automobile companies were using this computer to virtually calculate the impact of air on developing car models. They would create an image of the car and send a virtual mass of air over it. Why not do these testsaerodynamic in a wind tunnel with a prototype? First, the construction of said prototype is avoided, and second, this super computer can calculate the trajectory and speed of each air molecule from the front to the rear of the car. This opens up a world of possibilities, and this is just one example of a practical application of a superpowered computer.

Another important aspect of this rise of computers is the development of artificial intelligence. Not long ago, Google bought the company DeepMind, which specializes in the development of machine learning algorithms. Google also announced a partnership with NASA for the development of Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab. This laboratory aims to developquantum computers that will calculate phenomenal amounts of data. This is all well and good, but what is the connection with education?

We find some answers in the article 10 Roles For Artificial Intelligence In Education of Terry heick from the TeachThought blog. Here are among other 5 roles that artificial intelligence will play in schools of the not so distant future. As we can see, some revolutions are even well underway!

1) Automate the assessment
There are already several applications like Socrative and eClicker allowing you to create multiple choice questions that correct automatically. In addition, the majority of learning platforms like Didacti, Moodle, Khan Academy and Netmaths offer self-correcting questions or tools to create one. In the near future, tools will eventually be able to correct short answers and even essay questions. Less correction means more time to support the students!

2) Adapt to the needs of the student
This technology already exists on the American platform Khan Academy. The student answers self-correcting questions related to the subject, and, in case of difficulty, the system sends him other questions or more explanations to help him. This therefore means that individualized learning could become much easier with tools of this type.

3) Suggest improvements to the teacher
Imagine a learning tool that allows lessons to be set up and which, in addition, makes suggestions for improvement according to the success or difficulties of the students who follow it! This is not science fiction since the platform Coursera has already implemented such a system.

4) Be a virtual tutor for the student
The human value of a tutor is far from being contested and the replacement of it by a fully automated system is not for soon. On the other hand, certain developments have been made in mathematics, where a kind of virtual tutor accompanies the pupil in the acquisition of basic concepts.

5) Take the learning out of the classroom
The better the computer systems, the more learning can take place outside the classroom. Does this herald the death of the school? Probably not, since the teacher will always be a guide to help the student develop opinions and validate information. On the other hand, the teacher will no longer be able to stand in front of a class of passive students!


Closer to home, the Quebec company Ellipse Synergy is developing a portal, called Echo, which aims to support students' academic perseverance and to equip them in the event of bullying. Indeed, the interface can interact with a young victim or witness of bullying and advise him on how to resolve conflicts or obtain the appropriate help. It is currently being tested in schools in the Rives-du-Saguenay and Samares school boards.


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About the Author

Sébastien Wart
Sebastien wart
Director of teaching and educational innovation at Saint-Paul College. A specialist in technological integration, Sébastien was an IT and Web optimization consultant at the FÉEP as well as an educational consultant in technology integration and a teacher at the Collège de Montréal.

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