5 Practical Ways AI Can Be Used in Education

Michelle Hollander
Director of Content and Curriculum
News on March 08 2021

5 Practical Ways AI Can Be Used in Education

Our lives are surrounded by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Some of the most popular examples include voice assistants, such as Alexa or Siri, which are powered by a type of AI known as Natural Language Processing (NLP). While these devices and tools help make our everyday lives a little easier, the question educators around the country are wondering is, “How can AI be used in education?”

The 5 “big ideas” of AI

There are 5 Big Ideas in AI, which were developed by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). These organizations worked together to define national guidelines for teaching AI to K-12 students.

The main ideas include:

  • Perception – Computers perceive the world using sensors.
  • Representation & Reasoning – Agents maintain representations of the world and use them for reasoning.
  • Learning – Computers can learn from data.
  • Natural Interaction – Intelligent agents require many kinds of knowledge to interact naturally with humans.
  • Societal Impact – AI can impact society in both positive and negative ways.

For more information about these ideas and even a printable poster visit: https://ai4k12.com/.

Using AI to help students explore future careers

AI curriculum provides a wealth of opportunities for our learners to explore future career opportunities and become conscientious users of new technologies. Additionally, already existing AI tools can further benefit students and teachers in enhancing their current workflows and saving time. Here’s our top 5 list of examples.

Monitoring

Safety is a top priority for schools and districts, and having technologies that can identify threats is one of the primary ways AI is integrated into education. In a study published by EdWeek Research Center, 44% of district leaders reported that they use AI for “flagging potentially sensitive/dangerous uses of district/school technology.”

Additionally, content filtering for network-connected devices and cloud-based content allows Instructional Technologists and teachers to better protect and monitor student internet usage. Not only is this done in students’ best interests, but because it is required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Gaggle is a popular example of a product that takes a proactive approach to suicide prevention by utilizing AI tools. The platform strives to stop tragedies with continual analysis of online behavior, and notifications are sent when an intervention may be needed. 927 student lives were saved during the 2019-20 school year as a result of Gaggle’s monitoring system.

Adaptive learning

AI software is revolutionizing education by further personalizing learning with assistants that guide what and when to study. There are many platforms that are exploring new and innovative ways to keep students engaged.

Quizlet Learn is one such application designed to help students make the most of their study time. By answering a couple of quick questions about the content focus and when it needs to be mastered by, Quizlet Learn tailors study questions that become easier or more difficult based on the responses it receives. It also comes complete with notification reminders to help keep students on track.

Grammarly also uses AI to provide suggestions for improving writing and thereby communication.

Another exciting application includes “interactive” television shows. The PBS Kids show Elinor Wonders Why, created by Daniel Whiteson, a physicist and astronomer, and Jorge Cham, a robotics engineer and cartoonist, seeks to do just that. While many early learning shows try to include the viewer in the plot, the integration of an AI tool to adjust the characters’ response can make the engagement feel that much more authentic.

AI curriculum and lessons

What better way to incorporate AI into the classroom than teaching and learning? While AI tools automate some tedious jobs, they certainly don’t eliminate the need for specialists in development, manufacturing, and other related industries.

Machine learning is one component of AI, and Google has developed Teachable Machine, a web-based tool that students can use to train a computer to recognize images, poses, and even sounds. Watch Teaching Machine Learning with Google’s Teachable Machine Tool on OTIS for educators for a great professional learning course to get you started with this tool.

Additionally, UBTECH Robotics recently published a K-12 curriculum called “AI Foundations”. Complete with 106-146 hours of material, there’s no physical kit needed to get students immersed in the foundations of Artificial Intelligence.

And even if your classroom isn’t focused on AI, you can incorporate a great brain break activity like Quick, Draw! with Google to introduce machine learning.

Language translators

While human translators are still vitally important, AI tools are being used to help make content more accessible for language learners. Video captioning and camera-based text translation can be extremely helpful as language learners navigate new terminology and concepts.

Google Translate, like many language tools, uses AI to improve the fluency and accuracy of its outputs, and continues to grow and improve. Features include word and sentence translation, live transcription, scanning, and much more! Watch the professional learning course linked above to learn more.

Additional ways to save time and energy

Options for integrating AI into education seem almost limitless. A variety of tools are already available and continually being developed to aid in grading, scheduling, and even maintaining energy efficiency, in the form of smart thermostats.

One example of a scheduler that utilizes AI is Google’s “Meet Assistant,” a bot that helps you schedule meetings with others without all of the back and forth. If you want to learn how to use this tool in your classroom, check out our 3-minute tutorial video Schedule Meetings Easily with the Meet Assistant.

Conclusion

While some tools and usages still require further refinement, AI is quickly making its way into classrooms in hopes of improving learning outcomes and providing teachers and administrators time to focus on what’s most important.


For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.

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