Artificial Intelligence and Education

By Shady El Kassas
Director of Innovation INPSAA

Shady is a multiple award-winning and passionate Egyptian educator working in United Arab Emirates. He is a winner of Khalifa Award of Education Excellence, and Middle East Education Influencer Award winner.

Since his childhood, he had looked forward to a career in teaching, and become a committed educator providing high standards and practices in the education of young people.

He believes that the capstone of education is to give every student equal opportunities to learn and for this reason, a true educator is the one who acknowledges, respects, and appreciates students’ diverse backgrounds, learning styles, intelligence, and abilities.

Following this perspective, he has centred his teaching repertoire around the concept of searching for the best way to meeting students’ individual needs.

As a school leader, Shady communicated the same message to his team members. He is a STEM advocate and speaker in the MENA region. He has taken initiatives to adopt project-based learning (PBL) and inquiry-based learning (IBL) methodologies to create a new foundation of STEM learning in school. He strongly believe that leadership has a strong influence on education reform and he takes initiatives to communicate is vision not only inside my school but also outside.

Shady has been selected to be a speaker in three international education conferences in the region – GESS-Dubai 2016, 2017, and Fatih Educational Summit in Turkey 2016. He was also a GESS education award finalist for two years (2016 & 17). Shady is the director of innovation at Alttihad National Private School – Al Ain. For the past few years, he has been associated with Sharjah American International School. With Robotics being of particular interest to him, he has led the School Robotics team and helped them win many awards at international events. He has also been invited to speak at events like TEDx and GESS (Global Educational Supplies and Solutions Exhibition).

His qualifications include Masters of Science in Education, Executive Management Diploma and Bachelor of Science, Apple teacher, Google Certified Educator, and Microsoft Innovative Educator.

The American inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil once said :

“Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2045, we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization a billion-fold.”

Artificial intelligence is one of the most cutting-edge technologies of the 21st century. Each day researchers discover new and innovative applications for machine learning technology, reaching from fields such as medicine, engineering, and transportation. However, there are also many ways that educators can apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to the field of education.

Technology has already proved to be an effective tool in the classroom for assisting teachers. Artificial intelligence can be used for tasks that once took up a massive amount of a teacher’s time and energy. Grading tests, for example, once took teachers hours or days of painstakingly going through each exam. Now, programs can make that process completely automated.

Multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions are easiest for machines to be able to grade, with simple right or wrong responses. However, increasingly artificial intelligence is also able to grade essays and papers. This frees up a lot of time that teachers can spend with students, preparing new lessons, or doing other important work.

Artificial intelligence can also assist teachers with tasks like student evaluation and planning. Algorithms are capable of tracking a teacher’s input to keep tabs on the progress of students and pinpoint their goals. This way, it can help focus a teacher’s planning and ensure that teachers are providing lessons that are at the right developmental level for the students they are teaching.

Artificial intelligence can even use machine learning to suggest specific lessons or activities to teachers based upon the data recording of the class’s abilities. It can even look at class performance year over year and make improvements to the curriculum for future years.
While artificial intelligence is a huge boon for overworked teachers, it can also provide direct assistance to students.

Artificial intelligence programs can be a great resource for students to ask questions and receive guidance. When students need clarification on a subject or need to look up information, machine learning can help them identify the needed information quickly. It can even provide individualized support and tutoring for students at a very high level, creating individualized learning plans and providing needed support.

Students who are disabled can find a lot of accessibility support through artificial intelligence.

AI programs can easily work with the classroom environment to provide support for those who need it. Services like live closed captioning, additional academic support, lecture recording, or adapting assignments to accommodate their disability. For years, students of determination have needed to fight and advocate for themselves at the classroom and organizational level to receive the accommodations they need, while schools scramble to get the needed staffing and funding to provide them. With artificial intelligence, these accommodations can be easily introduced and seamlessly included in the classroom environment.

Artificial intelligence can also support education at the administrative level. It can keep track of data on teacher performance, student performance, classroom spending, and program efficacy. This information, tracked and interpreted by artificial intelligence, can save administrators massively on resources, time, and energy. It can make the entire educational system run more smoothly and make for a better experience for administrators, teachers, and students.

Including artificial intelligence in the classroom also creates an environment where students gain an important skill; technological literacy. More and more in adult life, having proficiency with technology is an essential skill in most careers. Even more than that, having a career in artificial intelligence or software design is increasingly in demand. Having an early understanding of the kind of work these programs can do provides a valuable learning opportunity to students throughout their educational years.

It’s predicted that in the coming years, artificial intelligence will be an integrated part of most of our daily lives. Giving students a chance now to familiarize themselves with the technology will give them a leading edge in the near future as the world at large begins to learn about this incredible technology.

Artificial intelligence, once thought to be nothing more than science fiction, has the potential to greatly improve the infrastructure of our entire educational system. At every level, from individual interaction with students, classroom-level planning, and systemic structure and data tracking, artificial intelligence has the ability to make education more efficient, productive, and accessible.