Summary: There are problems that have emerged in the digital classroom. Some studies have found that students do not engage as completely with digital learning and AI instruction as they do with real-world instruction.
Original author and publication date: Analytics Insight – March 28, 2021
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Robotic teachers may be an option and even a good one. But, what are the long-lasting effects of being educated by a robot? There is no way to now that yet.
From the article:
Concordia University came under fire in January 2021 when a student discovered that the instructor teaching his course had died two years earlier. “HI EXCUSE ME,” the student tweeted, “I just found out the prof for this online course I’m taking died in 2019 and he’s technically still giving classes since he’s literally my prof for this course and I’m learning from lectures recorded before his passing.” The university had continued listing the instructor as the professor for an art history course and relied on lectures and lesson plans completed before the instructor’s death to teach students while using assistants to grade student work and answer student questions.
This strange situation, however, raised an important question: If it’s possible to run online courses with materials from dead instructors, could we also do the same with material generated by artificial intelligence? At least with AI, the intelligence behind the screen would still be there.
Artificial intelligence is transforming education, but it remains an open question whether AI can replace live, in-person instructors entirely.
The Digital Classroom
Already, classrooms are moving toward a digital future. Many companies provide software platforms that let a single instructor oversee massive numbers of students, managing their learning remotely with the help of digitized lessons and grading software. Some schools use AI to analyze and identify their students’ strengths and weaknesses in order to tailor the curriculum to their needs. So-called “adaptive assessment” programs can make homework questions easier or harder depending on individual students’ success. In such software, the program uses student performance to develop what is essentially a personalized curriculum. In that sense, this type of machine-based learning can be compared to artificial intelligence engaging students in real learning.
However, there are problems that have emerged in the digital classroom. Some studies have found that students do not engage as completely with digital learning and AI instruction as they do with real-world instruction. As a result, their performance doesn’t always measure up.
So why do students treat digitized learning differently?
Where AI Doesn’t Measure Up
One of the most important differences between in-person and AI learning is that an AI instructor isn’t a real human being. Evolution has honed the human mind to respond to other humans, but when the instructor is just text on a screen—or we know it isn’t human—we don’t empathize with it the same way, or develop the same sense of engagement. Similarly, it’s difficult to imagine a computer caring about us the same way a real instructor might empathize with us and care about us. All told, this make it difficult for students to engage with a machine with the same level of involvement as a human.
Some argue, too, that robots aren’t able to inspire students the same way that a real person might. For example, in a classroom, a student might ask a challenging question that inspires the instructor to make cross-connections, go off in a unique direction, or discuss the topic in ways that are unexpected.