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Artificial Intelligence and a Clash of Generations
Source: Melissa Thompson




Artificial Intelligence often gets a bad rap in terms of the economy as it is accused of stealing away jobs from people. One study by Oxford University that is regularly cited on the topic predicts that about 47% of jobs are in jeopardy because of AI. Yet, in our quickness to label AI as the latest economic villain, we are potentially overlooking the many benefits it can afford, especially in the area of educating the current and next generation of students who will make up the bulk of the workforce for the foreseeable future.

The educational field could be positioned to gain tremendously from AI as the innovation it affords can expand the walls of the classroom, transcend borders, breakdown obstacles, and contribute to the personalisation of learning for students of all levels. According to a study backed by Stanford University with the participation of 24 experts from different universities, AI including virtual reality, adaptive and analytical learning, and online teaching will be commonplace in classrooms in just fifteen years. While AI has become a fact of life, in order to reap its many benefits and for the field to achieve its full potential, educators and teachers will need to perceive AI receptively and be trained to effectively integrate it into the current system.

Many students are already making use of AI technologies including essay generating tools and foreign language learning systems. In the very near future, AI technologies will enable students and their teachers to do even more. AI will accelerate the grading of tests and homework and evaluate essays and student responses, thereby freeing teachers to be more creative in the classroom and to have more face time with students. Additionally, through AI tutoring and study programs will become more sophisticated, enabling students to receive real time feedback and customized curriculums.

AI technologies are also being developed to dissect students’ motivation and behavior to help them achieve better results. The students will get information, in real time, that can help them adjust course to maximize their time and effort. Likewise, students who learn differently will be able to benefit from learning games, digital textbooks, and sample tests such as ielts essay samples that customize the learning experience to their specific strengths and weaknesses.

Change is already underway as a result of AI and it seems that the tech savvy younger generation recognizes that despite the challenges the merger of traditional learning systems with AI powered tools will help to equip them to successfully navigate the complex and constantly evolving job market. The question that now needs to be asked is if the older generation – many of whom are the teachers and administrators under which today’s students are being educated – will accept the challenge and find a way to integrate AI into the classroom so that it enhances rather than detracts from the future career prospects of today’s students.

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