HSM Review

The role of artificial intelligence in shaping the future of learning

Before I delve into why I think this is the case, I want to share my underlying assumptions.

First, I predict that AI cheating will continue to be undetectable and widespread. Second, AI technology will remain ubiquitous, as it is currently free and provides exceptional writing and analytical power to everyone. Lastly, while AI tutoring will be excellent, it will not replace classrooms entirely.

Some readers may disagree with my last assumption, but I stand by it. Having experimented with AI-driven teaching, I can say that it has incredible potential for adaptive and useful instruction. However, tutoring alone is not enough.

Classrooms offer many opportunities for students to practice their skills, collaborate on problem-solving, socialize, and receive support from instructors. Even with excellent AI tutors, schools will continue to add value.

In conclusion, I am optimistic about the future of AI in education. While there may be challenges to overcome, I believe that AI has the potential to enhance the learning experience for students and instructors alike.

Don't forget the example of the calculator

A more fundamental transformation

AI's impact on education isn't just limited to writing assistance; it has the potential to completely transform the classroom experience. While it's true that AI can act as a tutor and answer students' questions, it also has the power to benefit teachers, students, and the education system as a whole. To understand how this is possible, we need to examine why traditional teaching methods like lectures are ineffective and why alternative methods like active learning have yet to be widely adopted.

Lectures are typically passive, with students simply listening and taking notes without engaging in critical thinking or problem-solving. This approach often leads to information retention issues and disengagement among students who find the presentations too lengthy or not challenging enough. Additionally, lectures are often designed as one-size-fits-all, which doesn't account for individual differences and abilities, leading to some students falling behind while others become bored. In contrast, active learning requires students to participate in the learning process through group work, problem-solving, and hands-on exercises. Studies have shown that active learning is one of the most effective approaches to education, but it takes effort to develop active learning strategies, and students still need initial instruction. So, how can educators balance passive and active learning in the classroom?

An effective solution to incorporate active learning is to flip classrooms, a teaching method that reverses the traditional model of instruction. In this approach, students learn new concepts at home through digital resources like videos, while classroom time is reserved for collaborative activities, problem-solving exercises, and discussions. The flipped classroom model aims to make the most of classroom time by encouraging critical thinking and active learning. However, the effectiveness of flipped classrooms is not guaranteed, as it largely depends on the quality of resources and how well they promote active learning.

The challenge in implementing active learning in classrooms is the lack of quality resources and time constraints for teachers to create engaging materials. AI can play a crucial role in this regard by making the lives of teachers easier and lowering the burden of creating resources. Moreover, AI has the potential to facilitate more fundamental changes in education, with traditional methods like lecturing and standard assignments becoming obsolete and requiring significant revisions.

Now, picture a scenario where high-quality AI tutors are integrated into the flipped classroom approach. This move has the potential to revolutionize the learning experience for students and make flipped classrooms even more efficient. AI-powered systems offer a more personalized approach to learning by adapting instruction to each student's unique requirements while simultaneously tweaking the content based on their performance. Consequently, students are better equipped to engage with the material at home, preparing them to partake in hands-on activities or discussions during class.

With AI tutors taking care of content delivery outside the classroom, teachers can allocate more time to interact with their students during class. They can also use insights from the AI tutors to determine areas where students need more support or guidance, which enables them to offer more personalized and effective instruction. Furthermore, with AI's assistance, teachers can create better active learning opportunities in class to ensure that the learning sticks.

The prospect of AI-powered learning may sound like a distant possibility, but it's not. Khan Academy's existing tools and some ongoing experiments indicate that GPT-4 can be an effective tutor with the right preparation. In fact, many students are already leveraging AI as a learning tool while some teachers are using it to prepare for classes. The transformation is already happening, and we will all have to confront it sooner or later. Although it may require us to shift our current teaching models, the outcome is likely to be a more efficient and effective learning experience with reduced administrative work.

A time of uncertainty

While we can't be certain of how AI will impact the future of education, one thing is certain: it will bring about changes that are difficult to anticipate, but I believe that educators can find ways to address these issues and leverage AI's potential to benefit students, teachers, and society as a whole. History has shown that educators can adapt to new technologies and changing times, and I'm confident that this time will be no different. As we move forward, we should focus on a positive vision that guides us through the uncharted territory that lies ahead.