Artificial Intelligence: Driving education

Audrey Chanakira
By now all of us have heard of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and of the wonders of ChatGPT. There’s a lot of excitement, but also a lot of unknowns and wild rumours, especially when it comes to educational aspects and leveraging AI in the academic space.
Critics and some parents believe that children and students will not be motivated to learn anymore, essays will just the spat out by a program after entering a single prompt or request for an essay.
This happens whenever new technology arrives, and AI isn’t even that new. If implemented correctly it can be a hugely functional tool within the academic space and support both educators and learners at all levels.
I, for one, wish that I had it at my disposal during my university years. It’s essential to understand exactly what AI in education refers to, to understand it and harness it for our collective benefit.
The application of AI in education focuses on utilising technologies and techniques to improve the academic process and elevate learning experiences, thereby soliciting better performances from learners and students. These AI-enabled tools and applications consist of tailor-made and personalised learning platforms, intelligent tutoring systems, data analytics and adaptive assessments.
If you break it down, educational AI involves using machine learning models and algorithms to analyse huge amounts of educational data. This allows educators to create personal learning plans for students at all levels of education and ability. It can identify where students need additional support and pinpoint where their performance can be improved. Imagine being able to give each child personalised learning experiences and provide timely interventions to address individual learning needs. AI tools in education can put tailor-made education within reach of the many and not just the few.
By creating a personalised educational curriculum for each learner at their specific level, will keep them motivated and engaged, boosting their performance and knowledge retention. This should be music to the ears of every educator, parent and even the student.
Learners will be given tools generated and powered by AI such as AI-powered virtual tutors and assistants, offering explanations, answering questions, and providing guidance. This isn’t limited to school hours either. Children, especially teenagers, work according to their body clock and may now be able to learn when it's most effective for them and not just when school happens to be in session.
AI technologies will allow countries like Namibia to bridge the digital divide in education and make up lost ground due to a lack of resources. This can and will level the playing field for Namibian students and learners with pupils across the world.
Educational AI tools can improve the educational experience by providing tools for learners with disabilities or learning difficulties. For example, text-to-speech, speech recognition, and other AI-based tools make educational content more accessible to learners.
There are plenty of examples of how AI can assist in elevating the education experience of both students and ease the workload of educators and administrators. We are at present still in the infancy of educational AI tools.
I believe that Artificial Intelligence will within a short space of time be seen as a force for good in education as well as in other fields. I, for one, will continue to champion AI and anything that helps, supports, and enhances the learning experience of kids and students of all ages.
*Audrey Chanakira is an iOS Developer & AI Enthusiast at Green Enterprise Solutions.
** Opinion pieces and letters by the public do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial team. The editors reserve the right to abridge original texts. All newspapers of Namibia Media Holdings adhere to the Code of Ethics for Namibian Media, a code established jointly with the Media Ombudsman.