AI to improve education delivery, says Pearson

Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIEd) could change ways of learning, according to Pearson and UCL

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AI to improve education delivery, says Pearson Artificial intelligence could be used in education in a variety of ways, according to the UCL and Pearson whitepaper.
By  Mark Sutton Published  July 6, 2016

Artificial intelligence (AI) could play an important role in education, particularly in addressing shortcomings in teaching in the Middle East region, according to a new whitepaper from Pearson and the UCL Knowledge Lab.

The research note, ‘Intelligence Unleashed: An Argument for AI in Education' outlines how artificial intelligence in education (AIEd) can be used to improve the efficiency, flexibility and inclusiveness of current education technologies, and how they will help learners in the digital economy.

Report authors Professor Rose Luckin and Wayne Holmes of the UCL Knowledge Lab, highlight how AIEd could be used to support wide-scale learning, with one-on-one support delivered by AI to each student to improve outcomes, and overcome shortages of teachers. AIEd could also be used to support group learning and create virtual learning environments.

The paper also looks at how AI could be used in the long term, in areas such as lifelong learning support from AI, or new new forms of assessment to measure learning while it is taking place, shaping the learning experience in real time.

"AI is already impacting education. To fully benefit from what AIEd has to offer, we must involve teachers, parents and learners to ensure that AIEd tools are grounded in learning, and that they deliver what is genuinely needed. We call for a radical change in the way that AIEd is currently funded, to break away from the today's siloed and inefficient environment. It is our hope that this work will spark a positive and proactive debate," commented Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design from the UCL Knowledge Lab.

In their recommendations, the authors hone in on three critical forces that must be managed as the future of AIEd in the Middle East emerges: involving teachers, students and parents in co-designing new tools so that AIEd addresses real needs of the classroom and other learning environments; embedding proven pedagogical techniques in the design of new AIEd-powered edtech products; and creating smart demand for commercial grade AIEd products that work.

Karim Daoud, managing director of Pearson in the Middle East said: "Countries in the GCC like to be ahead of the game when it comes to education, with many in the sector keen to embrace the latest and most innovative learning technologies available. Therefore, I think that it is likely that AIEd will have a great role to play in the future of education in this region. Equipping the large and growing population of young people in the region with an education that welcomes the role of AI and uses it to the advantage of learners is important, and this paper sets out ways in which this can be achieved".

Sir Michael Barber, chief education advisor at Pearson added: "There is no doubt that AI will significantly influence what we teach and learn, as well as how we do it. The challenge is to ensure that it truly supports teachers, learners, and their parents. Many important decisions will need to be made as these technologies develop, mature, and scale; this paper offers some concrete options that will allow us to realize the potential of AIEd at the system level."

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