Home Business Artificial intelligence in classroom: Is it reducing human interaction in learning?

Artificial intelligence in classroom: Is it reducing human interaction in learning?


NEW DELHI: Wreinda Prasad is a chirpy, confident class VIII student who is writing exams set by a machine. “The questions I get are customised to my pace of learning and I do well in these tests. I feel more confident and want to learn more,” says Prasad who studies at Mount Zion school, Gangtok. Earlier this year, the school introduced adaptive assessment software, Next Assessment, that uses artificial intelligence for setting and assessing objective question papers.

Machine-set question papers

On an average a teacher takes an hour or more to set a question paper with 35 objective questions. This makes it a time-consuming exercise that is repeated only at set intervals. Next Education, an edtech company in Hyderabad, developed an AI-driven assessment platform (being used by more than 50 schools in India) that can set papers within one minute and customise questions to each student’s learning needs. It also gives instantaneous results. “Adaptive assessments give very accurate results. Based on these the teacher can give individual feedback to each child on what should be the new learning path. Earlier, students would get a general advice – ‘Good. Can do better’. But AI allow teachers to be more focused,” says Sameer Bora, executive VP, Next Education India Pvt Ltd.

Algorithms replace mentors

“AI enables students to discover a unique path of learning, customised to their aspiration and capabilities,” says Prashanth BR, co-founder, Krackin, a student engagement and employability platform that matches students with skills they need for the job they want, and connects them with recruiters. These skills are not part of their curriculum. For example, if a third-year engineering student wants to be a data scientist, Krackin will go through her present academic and co-curricular profile and give her an employability score. It will also suggest skills that she can learn to be an attractive candidate for a data scientist’s job. “At present it’s being used in 89 colleges, and by 300+ companies,” says Kiran GR, co-founder, Krackin.

Exams at your doorstep

Remote Proctoring is an AI platform that allows teachers to remotely invigilate an online exam. “The technology captures physical movements of the candidate. If the candidate tries to open a new window or an URL it immediately sends an alert to the remote invigilator,” says Swapnil Dharmidhikari, founder, Splashgain Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd, an edtech startup in Pune that created this platform. This means that students don’t need to physically assemble in an exam hall to write their paper but can do it from anywhere, even from home. This reduces the logistical burden of conducting and writing exams. “In the future physical invigilation will be replaced with digital invigilation,” says Dharmidhikari. IIM-Rohtak used Remote Proctoring while conducting its executive MBA entrance exam this year.

Making attendance register redundant

In some government-run schools in Tamil Nadu, the attendance register was replaced by a mobile app. “Traditional attendance takes about 10 minutes, but this app can do the task in one minute,” says Sreedhar Narla, CEO-founder, ICET Solutions in Bengaluru that developed this AI-driven system. The teacher takes a couple of shots with her phone camera, the images are processed in the cloud and the attendance marked.

While AI may save time and make systems efficient, it comes with its problems. For example, the ICET attendance system had to be scrapped soon after its pilot launch because of privacy concerns raised by parents. Technology is also reducing human interaction in learning. Ameeta Mulla Wattal, principal, Springdales Pusa Road, Delhi, says while it is worrying, the need is to strike a balance between technology and human interaction. “These technologies are here to stay but we need to ensure that we don’t depend too much on them. Because learning needs time, reflection and hard work, whereas technology is about instant gratification. Students need to learn to engage and endeavour,” she says.

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