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AI in Education: Beyond the Buzzword

Marielle Gilbert March 07, 2018


Artificial Intelligence is Making Classrooms Smarter

When most people think of AI, they envision self-driving cars, Kubrick’s HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, or machines of the future with the hands of the Terminator and the voice of Alexa. However, AI is already happening all around us: about 50% of the population is already using AI and don’t even realize it. AI is used in everything from fraud detection to entertainment, and now it’s making its way into our classrooms -- and making them smarter.


With AI, one-size-fits-all curriculums are being replaced by personalized, adaptive learning experiences that are tailored to each student. Machine learning can even be used to identify at-risk students early on, so that schools can give them extra resources, and help decrease dropout rates. With the increased penetration of tablets and Chromebooks in the classroom, AI software is more accessible than ever before. Many are following the hype: even Bill Gates is investing in AI personalized learning tools.

But beyond the buzzword, what does AI do? Here are a few ways AI is making our classrooms smarter right now (that you may not even realize!)


Personalized Learning: AI Differentiates Instruction

According to Carnegie Mellon, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know how to apply those skills to achieve mastery. AI’s digital, dynamic nature offers opportunities for student engagement that aren't possible in the fixed environment of the typical classroom. With AI, companies can create smart digital learning platforms, complete with real-time feedback - tailored to the needs of each individual child.

Netex Learning, for example, utilizes AI to design digital curriculum and content across devices, integrating rich media like video and audio. Student data is then analyzed in real-time to assess student learning "gaps" and diagnose learning styles. This information can then be used by teachers to tailor lessons to each student’s individual needs.


Content-Based Filtering: AI Keeps Students Safer Online

With AI, filtering has become more intelligent. With the advent of AI, a new generation of internet filtering software can now analyze web content in real time—with more accurate results. K–12 educators and administrators bear the brunt of the responsibility when it comes to shielding students from inappropriate content online. Traditionally, this has involved monitoring and filtering internet access by keeping lists of appropriate and inappropriate websites, but this method of “blacklisting” and “whitelisting” has its flaws.

For one, the internet is constantly changing. The dynamic nature of the web makes traditional URL-based filtering—the process of categorizing entire web pages by their domains—an inefficient method of controlling the kinds of content that students access. With AI, developers can train the software to identify hundreds of thousands of examples of web content that are appropriate or are not appropriate for students at different age levels, and the software “learns” how to distinguish between these. This more sophisticated filtering method can better ensure students are being protected from dangerous content online, and has exciting implications in areas such as cyberbullying and school violence.


Digital Citizenship: AI Improves Online behavior In and Out of the Classroom

 As technology has become ubiquitous in the classroom, so has the demand for effective digital citizenship guidance. With the right monitoring software, IT admins and teachers can now assess students’ behavior online, and provide feedback in real-time. This teaches students how to behave online, and how best to use the internet in a respective and safe way. 

AI-powered tools like Smart Alerts enable students to improve their behavior by a factor of 5:1. Smart Alerts uses machine-learning technology to make predictions about the content on students’ search pages. If the prediction meets a certain confidence level, an alert is generated to flag the behavior. Triggers can also be configured automatically to respond to pornographic or self-harm related content, or block certain content entirely.

With more devices in classrooms than ever before, educators need more advanced tools to protect their students online while improving classroom engagement. Fortunately, AI tools are providing game-changing solutions to make classrooms smarter, and facilitate learning at unprecedented levels.


Powered by artificial intelligence, a new generation of internet filtering software is now being used to analyze web content in real time—with more accurate results. Join our webinar to explore how content-based filtering marks a novel approach to keeping students safe online—one that is proving to be both more accurate and easier for educators to manage. 


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Topics: Technology

Written by Marielle Gilbert

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