Houston founder: Innovating education in an evolving world
Once upon a time, gaining knowledge was relatively a simpler task. Going to school, being taught through books, the joy of taking notes on a neat blank page, and the use of bright, colorful stationery had another level of excitement.
Now, the overwhelming innovations in the educational sector has changed the entire landscape and left educators, students, and parents wondering whether they will be able to adapt to the changing times.
Innovations like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and machine learning certainly have advantages in the edtech sector.
What are AI, AR, and machine learning?
It is common to see these acronyms flash around in product innovations, news, and the educational sector. Artificial intelligence is the capability of a robot that is managed or controlled by a computer to do tasks that are carried out by humans, such as analyzing and making decisions.
Whereas augmented reality is the experience of a real world where the objects belonging to the real world are enhanced by the computer. Machine learning is a part of artificial intelligence that allows computers to act without being explicitly programmed.
According to the report published in Statista, “the global artificial intelligence market is projected to grow rapidly in the future years, reaching around $126 billion by 2025."
The Business Research Company has stated in their article that “the global augmented reality in training and education market size is expected to grow from $6.27 billion in 2021 to $10.37 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65.4 percent.”
Will the education industry be able to survive in these rapidly evolving times?
One thing which the pandemic has proved is that e-learning and e-teaching became easily accessible, adaptable, and preferred by the majority of the working class. Not only that but post-pandemic, both students and educators preferred online education over traditional methods since over time we have recognized the upside of e-learning.
Some of these include studying at your own pace and convenience, you get to design your schedule, and improved time management because you get to skip on travel-time and it leads to enhanced learning through innovative educational tools such as AI, AR, and machine learning.
As explained by Communications of the Association for Information System (CAIS), a study was conducted regarding what were the factors of receiving distance education despite the normal circumstances. A model was developed based on social cognitive theory and social cognitive career theory. It was then tested by using data from 525 college students surveyed after enrolling in distance learning classes. Per the report, "results indicate that personal and environmental factors drive intentions to continue with distance learning through their impact on distance learning perceived performance, and satisfaction.“
Augmented Reality in the educational sector has enabled teachers to engage their students through virtual examples of various concepts, by utilizing gaming-like strategists to help students understand the textbook materials easily.
As a result, students have shown keen interest, high engagement, faster learning, and easy memorizing capabilities.
A recent example of augmented reality in the educational sector is Google Expedition, which enables students to see 3D objects in the classroom like volcanoes, the human brain, DNA, etc., which helps them to understand, visualize and experience the learning process. It goes beyond the traditional imaginative process of learning and experiencing.
According to Assembler Blog, “statistics have revealed that 80 percent of more students are likely to attend a class that incorporates augmented reality experiences.” Moreover, “70 percent of students also say that they could grasp the material faster and improve their learning experience” through AR technology used in teaching.
Similarly, machine learning and AI have also taken the educational industry by storm.
Artificial intelligence has helped students in tutoring when students face problems and are not able to reach their teachers at that moment, making virtual tutors, artificially intelligent software, and chatbots perfect solutions in these situations.
Moreover, personalization is something that every student prefers to have in their education. Through machine learning, AI has enabled its students to choose their program based on their capability, pace, and desire. We must recognize that each person has learning preferences, most of us only memorize through visual means. Similarly, another person might be an auditory learner or a kinesthetic learner. Hence, it is imperative to identify these cognitive traits to deliver personalized and successful learning experiences to our students.
AI has created benefits for educators as well, such as it has created a task automation system in which all kinds of daily mundane tasks including grading papers, admin work, replying to queries, etc. have been directly automated.
Although adopting cutting-edge technology in the educational industry for most institutions is certainly not a piece of cake as it is time-consuming and very costly.
But by looking at all the facts and figures, the benefits and students teachers' high engagement evidence shows that indeed the educational sector will transform and cope with the speedy changes gradually.
Ghazal Qureshi is the founder and CEO of UpBrainery, a Houston-based immersive educational technology platform that taps into neuroscience research-based programs to provide adaptive learning and individualized pathways for students at home or in the classroom.