Pallikkutam, The Education Observer » May
Artificial Intelligence can be creatively deployed in schools and colleges to enable existing content to be utilised by teachers to make the learning process unique for each individual. It is an accepted fact that each child is unique and perhaps differ in their type of intelligence as Howard Gardner had elucidated in his theory of multiple intelligences. In a large classroom of thirty to forty, it was not possible to make the learning process unique for each student as they differ in their learning abilities.
However, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) helps the facilitator to use the AI to utilise the same content to develop different capabilities in a child as laid out in the New Education Policy 2020. This includes critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and developing an entrepreneurial mindset. AI has been successfully used in corporate world to train freshers and retrain existing employees for various job functions, according to Anuroop Iyengar, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cogknit, Bangalore. AI can also prove to be useful for edtech companies that develop learning content that is required on a massive scale.
The first challenge to overcome is to get the stakeholders to overcome the fear of the new technology and getting them ready for adoption in schools and colleges. This may require discussions and campaigns on the effectiveness of AI for education. Many schools and colleges across the world have banned the use of ChatGPT in a knee-jerk reaction to sudden popularity it has gained among the youth. The question is not whether to use ChatGPT in schools, but how to do so safely, effectively and appropriately, according to Dr Vaughan Connolly, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.
Huge investments have gone into OpenAI to develop the chatbot based on the language learning model. However, access to the new technology may be a stumbling block for widespread use in education. Who will pay for the services is a critical part in bringing any new innovation to education sector, according to Anuroop Iyengar of Cogknit. Their immensely successful ICOG, now used for training in the corporate world, was first tried out in colleges but a viable economic model could not be developed for it to be sustainable, he said. That explains why many of the popular edtech companies had taken the B2C (Business to Consumer) route rather than B2B route tying up with schools or colleges. Or will ChatGPT and others take the Google business model keeping the services free and making the advertiser pay for sustainability of business? Or if it is a purely subscription model, will it be paid for by the institutions or individuals?
Role of ChatGPT
Have our thoughts and perception of ChatGPT impacted our responses to the new technology? According to Dr Steve Watson of Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, ChatGPT has so far been portrayed as a tool for content creation. "In fact, generating content is probably its weakest function. Where it excels is at manipulating structure and form. Everyone seems to be worrying that ChatGPT can produce an essay or coursework that will pass exams."
Students may have all the ideas but may not know how to express it properly. AI can help students present ideas in a clear and organised manner in the right form helping teachers to focus on the ideas themselves, according to Dr Steve Watson.
Dr Vaughan Connolly has stated that he has used ChatGPT in a GCSE computer science class to prompt students to verify claims, seek further detail and challenge information. "The conversation was really edifying. I've also tested it as a tool for homework and revision, taking the perspective of students in different subjecs and phases."
Ideally, AI in education should be a bridge between the content and the learner, developing the various important skills for survival in the AI age, according to Dr Asharaf S, Dean, Digital University Kerala. They can make content palatable to students with various types of intelligences and equip them to take up whatever job roles or business in future.
(With information sourced from University of Cambridge website- ChatGPT: opportunities and challenges for education (cam.ac.uk) )
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