The world has seen massive leaps and bounds in technology in the modern age. The computers that were once as large as rooms now fit in a pocket. A conversation that would have once taken weeks to mail back in forth can now happen in seconds. The classroom hasn’t missed out on these innovations either.
What Changes Has the Classroom Already Seen?
Classrooms and the way students study today are leagues different than they once were. For example, when a student is writing an essay, they don’t have to read through a tall stack of books to find the information they need. Instead, all they have to do is a quick online search to find out anything they need to know.
Even younger children benefit from technology. The overhead projector with transparent slides of yesteryear have been transformed into touch screen boards and review games have moved online.
Teachers and students have moved onto higher tech options for a variety of reasons. For one, they help to teach students in a more engaging way and they provide an ease that wasn’t always available.
Additionally, the technology that is introduced into the world are important for children to learn. While the gadgets and software that are released while they’re in school probably won’t be identical to what they use as adults, there is an important lesson in teaching them new mechanics: the ability to adapt to new things.
What Are AI and VR?
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is something that is often heard about. It is equally lauded and complained about. After all, computers that are designed to imitate human intelligence are both inspiring and, to some, frightening. In truth, though, they offer plenty of opportunity.
Virtual reality, or VR, is also an intriguing process. It allows a computer to create a digital world that is getting ever closer to being just as real as the world around you.
While AI comes in many different forms, VR is used in the form of a headset. This is typically paired with headphones for more accurate surround sound. At more advanced levels, VR is used with additional technology such as tilting chairs or treadmills to further immerse users in the virtual reality they’ve entered.
AI in the Classroom
Asking if AI will become a major part of the classroom is almost delayed because it is already starting to be ingrained in it. There are several examples of this. A basic example would be a software that helps students study and adapts depending on what parts of the curriculum they show strength and weakness in.
Another example would be automating tasks such as grading. This, in particular, is a growing area as AI gets “smarter” and can answer more open-ended questions. AI that can grade essay questions rather than just simple multiple choice could help teachers handle large classrooms better. It could also help students learn their grades much faster.
AI and Teachers
The biggest question when it comes to AI is always if it will take jobs. The argument behind this is that if a computer can do all the tasks of a job and don’t need to be paid a wage, why not?
While AI could help teach a course eventually, it is more likely to be used as an aid rather than a replacement. This is because teachers do much more than simply teach. They offer support to students and, as of right now, are better at adapting to emotional cues than AI can. If a student isn’t paying attention during a lesson or is showing signs of giving up on a topic, a human teacher can respond to these changes better than current AI can.
VR in the Classroom
VR is slightly less common in classrooms right now but it shows great potential. The most obvious benefit of VR is that it is extremely engaging. When a student is in a VR lesson, they have the ability to explore.
It’s also trading a traditional lesson for an experience. A VR headset can be used to have in-classroom field trips which can be much more effective than listing facts to students from a textbook.
Drawbacks of AI and VR in the Classroom?
If AI and VR are so promising, why aren’t they seen in every classroom around the world?
The biggest problem is cost. Since AI and VR are newer fields, many of the newest options come with a high price. This is particularly a problem in schools with low funding. Much like other problems of schools struggling for funds, this can put students at a disadvantage.
VR and AI definitely have a place in the classroom and that place is growing. These are useful tools that enhance the learning experience. You can expect to see more AI- and VR-fueled classrooms in a nearer future than you might think.