AI, the new character teacher

Transformative force: The future is about what machines will teach us and our children. —

Onus on us to navigate tech that’s moulding young minds and morals

As we sip our morning coffee, virtual assistants like Alexa brief us on the day’s schedule.

This mundane routine masks a profound revolution unfolding right in our homes – the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. AI isn’t only changing how we live; it’s also redefining the way our children learn, think and develop character.

Consider this astonishing fact: AI can predict your child’s learning difficulties even before they manifest in the classroom.

Researchers have developed algorithms that analyse children’s interactions with educational apps, flagging potential learning disabilities like dyslexia or adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) long before traditional methods.

This early intervention is a game changer, offering a future where no child slips through the educational cracks.

Furthermore, AI-driven data analytics are enhancing the ability of educators to understand the diverse needs of students. By examining patterns in large sets of educational data, AI can provide insights into the effectiveness of teaching methods and curricula, leading to more informed decisions that can tailor educational content to the needs of individual learners.

But AI’s educational prowess doesn’t stop at early detection. It’s reshaping our educational paradigms. In Sweden, an AI-powered language learning app called “Elevate” has made headlines for its ability to adapt to each student’s learning style, pacing and retention capacity, resulting in a 30% faster learning rate compared with traditional methods.

Imagine a classroom where each child’s unique learning curve is not only recognised but embraced and catered to. That’s the future AI is building.

AI is also transforming the way homework is assigned and completed. With smart algorithms, homework can now be customised to challenge students at the right level, promote better understanding, and provide immediate feedback to keep them motivated. This ensures that students are neither bored with tasks that are too easy nor discouraged by those that are too difficult.

Now, let’s venture into the realm of the extraordinary. In Japan, elementary schools are using AI robots to teach not only language and maths, but also empathy and social skills.

These robots, equipped with emotional intelligence algorithms, interact with students, teaching them to recognise and respond to emotional cues. Examples of these robots are RoBoHon and Musio X.

In a world where digital fluency is as crucial as literacy, these AI companions are preparing our children for a future where humans and machines coexist.

Yet, AI’s impact transcends the classroom walls. It’s in our living rooms, shaping family dynamics. An intriguing example is the AI-powered family gaming platforms that are revolutionising how families spend time together such as Minecraft: Education Edition and Kidgeni. These platforms use AI to create interactive, educational games that adapt to the family’s interests, making learning a fun and engaging activity that bonds rather than isolates.

The “wow” factor of AI in education also lies in its subtlety. It’s in the AI-curated YouTube playlists that subtly influence your child’s cognitive development, in the smart toys that teach problem-solving, and even in the virtual reality field trips that bring historical events to life.

These experiences are not only educational; they’re also character-building, instilling a sense of curiosity, critical thinking and a global perspective.

Furthermore, AI is facilitating a new era of personalised learning paths. Adaptive learning systems can now curate and recommend resources from across the web to supplement a child’s education, ensuring they receive a well-rounded and expansive learning experience that is not confined by the resources of their local environment.

However, with these advancements come responsibilities. The ethical implications of AI in our children’s lives are profound. From privacy concerns to the need for human oversight in AI education, the path forward is a delicate balance between embracing AI’s potential and safeguarding our children’s futures.

We must also consider the socio-economic implications as AI becomes more pervasive in education. Ensuring equitable access to these advanced technologies is critical to avoid widening the educational divide. Initiatives to bridge the digital gap and bring AI tools to underserved communities are vital to ensuring that the benefits of AI in education are available to all.

Indeed, the AI revolution in our homes is more than a technological wave; it’s a transformative force shaping the minds and morals of our future generations. As educators, parents and guardians of this new digital frontier, it’s our task to navigate this revolution thoughtfully.

The future is not only about humans teaching machines; it’s also about what machines will teach our children and us. We stand on the brink of an era where AI not only augments education, but also becomes a cornerstone of it.

Dr Lau Chee Yong is a senior lecturer in the School of Engineering at Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU). His professional qualifications include a PhD in Bioelectronic Engineering, Chartered Engineer in the UK (CEng-UK), Registered Engineer in Malaysia (Ir), European Engineer (Eur Ing), and Malaysian Registered Technology Expert (Ts). He currently serves as the librarian for the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) and is a member of the Electronic Engineering Technology Division (EETD). The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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APU , AI , IEM , EETD , engineering , machine learning


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