All experts agree that the individual intellect will play an essential role in education in the 21st century. While academics worldwide are trying to find the best solution, China has decided not to wait but act. After several years of very active investment in this field, the country has reached a point where tens of millions of students are using a AI in this or that form of tutoring as part of their education, as Squirrel AI suggests, or through digital learning platforms like 17zuoye, or indirectly in their mainstream classrooms.
We are used to thinking about AI in educational processes as some factor of easing individual studying. We have many geometry homework help services that can help you with tasks, but they can’t do what AI does for schools in China as education seems to be hard to reform and adjust to machine learning.
China is conducting the most significant experiment on the use of AI in the educational process, and no one can predict the results. Experts talk about the importance of the direction, which innovators will reverse. In the best case, a piece-by-piece intelligence can help teachers identify and support students’ interests and develop their strengths. New technologies can increase the global trend toward standardization of teaching and assessment, leaving the next generation ill-prepared for a highly dynamic work environment.
Cardinally, different approaches to using AI in the educational process can be seen in applying two Chinese companies, namely the previously mentioned Squirrel and the English language school ALO7.
The basic principle of Squirrel’s work is to identify students’ weaknesses and create a personalized educational plan in such a way as to fill the gaps. For example, all subjects in mathematics, which students have to pass in middle school, are divided into 10000 elements – actually small sub-themes, such as rational numbers, the iconic properties, the Pythagoras theorem. At the same time, the classic textbook can break down the same object into 3000 elements, which means that the breakdown is very detailed.
Further, students are tested, which helps identify which of these subjects are the most important to them. Techniques of AI are used to determine the links between different topics and use these links in the creation of an individual educational program. For example, the program identifies related issues that may also require extra attention and determines in which order and through which practical tasks it will be easier for this or that student to master the material needed.
The role of the teacher in such activities is minimal. For example, the classrooms of Squirrel Education Centers have no desks, projectors, or other equipment, but only one table per room where 6-8 people can sit. All teaching and learning take place via laptop. However, students and teachers sit and look at each of their laptops. Students solve their problems, and teachers monitor the teaching process in real-time. If they see on the screens that the system can not solve some problem, then go to the appropriate student and help.
Many experts are skeptical about this approach to teaching, pointing out that although this system is staffed, it is not adaptive. The Squirrel system detects what the student knows and what they do not know and helps fill in the gaps to pass the exam more efficiently. This is an example of an individual but traditional approach to learning, which may not be very useful in a constantly changing world.
At the same time, within the framework of the adaptive learning system, priority is given to the strengths and interests of the student, and the teaching program is based on this. Alo7 English Language School has taken a similar approach, moving away from student-centered learning to a process of learning through creativity, leadership, and other valuable skills. Unlike Squirrel, they are not trying to replace teachers but only to supplement and expand the capabilities of the traditional classroom. For example, the Alo7 system assists in learning new words through a particular supplement or development of correct expression through the use of language recognition algorithms. Still, all practical activities requiring creativity, such as creative writing or the result of linguistic vocabulary, take place in the classrooms.
The head of the school draws this analogy: “Medical institutions use much new technology, but we can not say that the machines have become more beautiful for doctors. In general, the school believes that AI will help to abandon the medical profession entirely in the future. New technologies will contribute to creating a flexible learning environment, which will be equally friendly to both creative students and robust analytics. Last year, the company Alo7 went further in their experiments and began to analyze the face and voices of students and teachers in the learning process. The algorithms determine how many hours students speak English in class, how good their vibe is, and also try to measure how much satisfaction they get from learning, for example, by calculating how much they laugh.