Integration of Artificial Intelligence in school curriculum

– Dr. Raghuveer YV, Principal, Podar International School ICSE Campus, Aurangabad

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a Cognitive Mosaic Science and the history of its evolution suggests that it has grown out of the knowledge derived from disciplines such as Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Sociology, Computing and others. Hence, it is fair for any education system to recognize the importance of integrating AI Readiness to maximize learning across other disciplines.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem solving and decision making; it is inspired by the ways people use their brains to perceive, learn, reason out and decide the action. Overall, its core idea is building machines and algorithms which are capable of performing computational tasks that would otherwise require human like brain functions.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has integrated a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) course for class XI and XII in the academic year (2020-2021). Developed in partnership with IBM, this course will be part of CBSE’s Social Empowerment through Work Education and Action (SEWA) program.

Basic principles of AI tools:  

  • Learning -Acquiring and processing the new experience, creating new behaviour models
  • Self-correction – Refining the algorithms to ensure the most accurate results
  • Reasoning – Picking up the specific algorithms to resolve a specific task

Forms of AI:

  • Assisted intelligence – Assistance in making decisions and taking actions
  • Augmented intelligence – Human decision making automation
  • Automation – Automation of routine tasks
  • Autonomous intelligence – Adaptation to different situations, acting without human assistance

Rationale of AI:

Artificial Intelligence permeates the length and breadth of the world we live in today. Our young generation is witnessing many uses of AI every day. While Google manages our mail accounts, it also makes suggestions about what words to use to respond to a given email and/ or project follow up reminders. Facebook not only connects us with friends but also makes suggestions about our priorities, personal needs and preferences. Today we witness smart parking spaces as well as have cars that park themselves. All the domains of life from medicine to manufacturing to national security and defence are currently getting impacted by the use of Artificial Intelligence. Space missions, which extensively use unmanned space shuttles and unmanned vehicles to traverse the unknown areas of other planets, collect tremendous data not only to understand the planet they go to but also to acquire intelligence about the betterment of their own operations in future. Hence, it is essential that students of today should study this domain to understand and later be able to expand this knowledge in their own interest and in the interest of humanity.

Integrating AI with other subjects:

The teacher may select a topic from the subject that easily lends itself to any one of the AI concepts. He/she would, then, either select the AI concept as a tool to teach the subject topic chosen by him/her or using the understanding of the topic, he/she may be able to show a linkage to AI knowledge and usage. 

For example: AI concept integrated in Infinite Drum Machine: An infinite drum machine is an AI experiment developed by Google for people to understand how unsupervised-learning works. In this machine, thousands of sounds found in our surroundings have been randomly fed for the machine to make sense out of them. The sounds are not labelled in any way nor does the machine have any other information about that sound. All that it knows is the sound clip itself. Using one of the unsupervised learning algorithms, the machine analyses the data fed to it and tries to cluster similar sounds together. These clusters are then visible with the help of colours on the user’s screen. All the dots appearing on the screen are sound clips and they have been clustered together on their basis of their sound properties like amplitude, frequency and pitch with the help of which the machine is able to understand the similarity amongst different clips.

When the students are directed to the Infinite Drum Machine activity, they would correlate and link how different sound sensors work in one and multiple directions by giving examples of different sound operated devices. Students will be able to differentiate between amplitude and frequencies of sound waves, relate performances of different musical instruments with amplitude and frequencies, understand and relate how sound is applied in AI based solutions and demonstrate that the unsupervised machine finds its own ways to make a representation of the data. After completion of each unit, the students can be evaluated on the basis of the following skills:

Conceptual Skills:

  • Conceptual understanding and knowledge enhancement of AI & Neural Network
  • AI applications and 3 domains of AI – Formal, Mundane and Expert tasks
  • Domains: Data, Computer Vision & Natural Language Processing
  • Mind mapping, Problem Identification, Data Acquisition, Data Exploration, Graphical representation

Technical Skills:

  • Ability to use AI Powered Tools, Troubleshooting Skill, Basic programming skills, Basic Python

Life Skills:

  • Thinking, Problem Solving, Creative & Critical thinking, Decision making, Social Skills
  • Teamwork, Team Building, Leadership, Self-Awareness, Empathy, Effective Communication, Oral & Written Presentation, etc.

Advantages of AI in Education:

  1. Automated Grading – Both for the objective and standardised descriptive assessments, this AI assisted procedure is been used in the developed countries and also in some universities of our country.
  2. Support Teachers – In addition to helping with grading, AI will also provide support for teachers in some of the routine tasks as well as communication with students. For example, one college professor can successfully use an AI chatbot (use machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to deliver near human like conversational experience) to communicate with students.
  3. Support Students – It has already been suggested that in the future students will have an AI lifelong learning companion. Essentially, this next generation of students will grow up with an AI companion that knows their personal history and school history. Therefore, it will know each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Meet a Variety of Student Needs – AI will also be able to help students with special needs by adapting materials to lead them to success. For instance, studies are already showing positive results for AI teaching Autism Spectral Disorder (ASD) student’s social skills.
  5. Allow Teachers to Act as Learning Motivators – As AI takes on more of a teaching role by providing students with basic information, it will change the role of teachers in the classroom. Teachers will move into the role of classroom facilitator or learning motivator.
  6. Provide Personalized Help – AI will also provide personalized tutoring for students outside of the classroom. When students need to reinforce skills or master ideas before an assessment, AI will be able to provide students with the additional tools they need for success.
  7. Identify Weaknesses in the Classroom – AI will also work in identifying classroom weaknesses. For instance, AI will identify when groups of students miss certain questions letting the teacher know when material needs to be retaught. In this way, AI will also hold teachers accountable and strengthen best teaching practices.
  8. Monitor and Analyse Student Progress in Real-Time – Teachers can monitor and analyse students’ progress in real-time using AI tools. It means that the teachers do not need to wait until they compile annual report sheets. Also, AI gives teachers’ recommendations as to the areas that require repeat or further explanation. In this instance, AI smart analytics picks up on topics that most of the students struggled with.
  9. Saves Time and Improves Efficiency – AI does is handle the burden of repetitive tasks teachers and schools have to deal with daily like attendance. There are also custom writing services like ‘Online Writers Rating’ that help handle any repetitive writing tasks. It helps save up more time so teachers can focus on teaching the students and other essential duties involving creative work. For example, when using a grammar tool, the teacher doesn’t have to repeatedly correct students’ grammar. The students can use the AI-powered tools to learn word pronunciations, meaning, and proper usage. AI education is also beneficial to international students that are still struggling to learn a new language.
  10. More Personalized Learning Experience – AI in education enables schools to carve out personalized learning experiences for their students. From student data, AI can analyse the student’s learning speed and needs. With the results, schools can personalize course outlines that enhance learning based on students’ strengths and weaknesses. For instance, they can include topics that appropriately suit learning requirements.
  11. Convenient and Improved Student-Teacher Interactions – AI education makes interaction more comfortable and convenient for both students and teachers. Some students may not be bold enough to ask questions in class. Such could be as a result of the fear of receiving critical feedback. So with AI communication tools, they can feel comfortable asking questions without the crowd. While on the part of the teacher, they can give detailed feedback to the student. Sometimes, there isn’t enough time during classes to respond to questions in detail. They can also provide one on one motivation for any student that needs help.
  12. Simplifying Administrative Tasks – Every educational institution has tons of school admin tasks they need to deal with daily. Including AI to their systems can help to automate such tasks. It means that administrators can have more time to run and organize the school more smoothly.

 Challenges of Artificial Intelligence in Education:

  1. Cost of AI Technology – AI education comes at a high price. As new technology emerges, budgets will have to increase to cover the expenses. Besides the installation of AI software, schools will also need to consider the cost of maintenance of the software.
  2. Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks – Artificial intelligence software is highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Considering that it contains a ton of data, hackers are constantly devising ways to attack.
  3. Little to no Room for Flexibility – No matter how analytical AI robotics can be, it cannot flexibly develop a student’s mind as a teacher would. While educators can proffer multiple problem-solving methods, AI doesn’t have alternative teaching methods.
  4. AI also operates on garbage in garbage out basis -While it might detect errors, it cannot correct them. So whereby there’s a human error in imputing information, AI still carries out the analytic process. But the final result will read that there are errors. Hence time is wasted, and the process has to be repeated all over again.
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