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Editorial Jan-Mar-2019

Can the K-12 Education Sector Tap the Full Potential of Artificial Intelligence?

Sameer Bora
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Artificial intelligence (AI) – a buzzword in the field of technology – has captured everyone’s attention. From tech enthusiasts and investors to politicians and policy makers, all are aware of the latest developments in this field. As a bunch trying to initiate a dialogue in the educational technology domain, we share the enthusiasm around AI and contribute to it. This edition of the NextWorld magazine explores the potential that AI holds for the K-12 segment.

It is, however, essential to demystify this buzzword before elucidating its scope and potential for the Indian sector. Also popular as machine learning, AI involves the ability of technology to interpret data with enough adaptation to achieve goal-based outcomes. Often, its ability to demonstrate human-like skills, such as the capacity to learn, think critically and solve problems, puts humans at unease. However, it is essential to see AI just as an advanced technology; and like other technologies, its primary function is to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

The time and cost that an AI-application would take to accomplish a task would be a miniscule as compared to that of a human meditator. Take personalised learning experience for instance. It is immensely difficult for a teacher to discern the learning gaps of each student in a class of 40, and then, personalise learning accordingly.

However, AI-powered adaptive learning approach suggests a personalised learning course based on a student’s ability and pace of learning. Vedesh, a R&D engineer at Next Education, in one of the articles explores how the Indian K-12 sector can benefit from adaptive assessments.

Besides personalising learning, AI-based devices can save a teacher’s time by doing routine jobs such as taking attendance, presenting study material on connected display screens as per the instructional schedule and helping teachers navigate through the displayed content with ease.

R&D Engineers Sai Charan and Yash Mehta elucidate the benefits of using an AI-powered grammar and pronunciation tool to hone learners’ English language skills. Currently, a teacher spends hours correcting the same grammatical errors of different students over and over again. An AI-powered software will point out mistakes, provide an explanation and also provide instances of correct usage. This will free up teachers’ time, enabling them to provide individualised attention to students.

To put it in simple words, artificial intelligence brings in effectiveness of and efficiency in workflow, output and outcomes.

In the last one decade, a lot of innovative technology solutions have been introduced in the K-12 segment with the expectation that these would benefit the learner by making learning fun and engaging. Though most of these technology solutions have definitely augmented the teaching-learning process, AI is one technology that would let learners take the reins of their learning in their own hands. They can monitor their progress, realise their gaps and accordingly decide the path they want to tread. Given its potential, AI can be a true game-changer in the education sector.

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Sameer Bora
Sameer Bora

Sameer has over 18 years of experience spanning education, software technology, marketing and advertising. He specialises in K-12 education and product management, and is interested in the emerging trends of the education technology industry. He is currently the EVP of R&D at Next Education. He can be contacted at editor@nextworldmag.com

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