5 Ways AI is Changing e-Learning

5 Ways AI is Changing e-Learning

 

E-Learning has already proven its effectiveness in comparison with traditional or so-called face-to-face training. Due to the facts and statistics, the e-learning increased the retention rates up to 25-60% in 2016, when the classic way showed only 8-10%. That speaks volumes.

 

Taking to account that the last 2 years were really breakthrough in the world of technologies and applications, the figures can be much bigger now. Thanks to the cloud-based LMS (Learning Management System), teachers/instructors/lecturers from various colleges and universities can share their knowledge and experience with students worldwide.

 

Nowadays the AI and ML are revolutionary technologies that are shaping the e-Learning, changing the landscape of the human civilization. Here are top 5 ways the AI will dramatically change the education industry in the upcoming 2019 year.

What is AI?

Anyway, before we leap to the ways, let’s definite what is the AI basically. Briefly speaking, Artificial Intelligence is the computer science and rapidly developing technology that emphasizes the simulation of human intelligence and reaction by machines. It includes such processes as:

  • learning;
  • reasoning;
  • planning;
  • problem solving/self-correction.

 

When we talk about the most particular and well-known AI applications, we can point out the next ones:

  • speech recognition;
  • expert systems;
  • machine learning;
  • automation;
  • machine/computer vision.

Today AI already impacts on our everyday life and business. It’s obvious that technology is important for the Internet’s future development and use, making everything more personalized and customized.

Top 5 Ways AI is Reshaping e-Learning

Anyway, what is the connection between the AI technology and e-learning? Actually, the education can get a great benefit by means of the technology tools used. Availability and affordability, speed, effectiveness, and personalization is the small part of the profits expected from the deployment of the AI into the studying process. Thus, there are at least 5 ways the AI along with the ML can reshape the learning. Let’s take a closer look at each one step by step.

Greater Speed and Efficiency

Improvements with the same or even higher quality promised are the goal of modern technologies like the AI. So, the Artificial Intelligence implemented into the studying will hasten the process and make it more efficient.

 

It’s the fact that the behind-the-scenes/tedious work is needed, but it takes some time. And the technology has the potential to automate it. That’s bound to speed up the studying process. What’s more, the AI will be able to forecast a positive outcome and eventuality depending on the student’s goals, preferences, experience, individual needs, pace, etc. And that all will take a seconds only, without a human intervention required.

Artificial Mentoring

Another feature of the technology that can be highly profitable for e-Learning to mention is Artificial Mentoring. The advantage of AI mentors is that they will be available for learners 24/7 via phones/tablets and computers/laptops to provide them help and the info required wherever they need it and wherever they are. The Artificial Intelligence mentors’ aim is to teach as well as to offer the content for studying to reach the goals, serve up videos, etc.

Personalized Learning

The AI will deliver individualized education. Thus, similarly to Netflix that uses ML to improve the recommendations list due to the users’ preferences, AI can personalize the experience for students as well. Therefore, the tech will allow tracking interactions of learners during the course.

 

That will give the e-learning the possibility to leverage the personalization, suggest specific and targeted content due to the needs and goals of each online student. Herewith, the system will be able to provide a more comprehensive course for students with a lack of basic knowledge and skip some modules for more skilled and advanced learners, for example.

Teaching Assistants

All mentioned above features of AI used in e-Learning are bound to establish more viable training packages that take to account all factors, not only one criteria. The ML system that is a subset of the AI provides a detailed Big Data survey to forecast the outcome that will make possible to get new or more individualized learning opportunities. In such a way, you can get more productive p2p cooperation thanks to the AI solutions.

 

Each student has different needs, abilities, skills, etc. and that’s why they need personal tutors. And that becomes possible thanks to such AI technologies as educational chatbots that are a useful learning tool widely used nowadays in the schools and colleges worldwide.

 

The idea of AI chatbots is that they can take some repetitive tasks of the teachers making the educational process more meaningful. Thus, such AI teaching assistants bring the following  facilities for study:

  • answer typical students’ queries fast and immersive;
  • check homework regularly;
  • determine gaps and troubling subjects to create an individual learning program on the data gathered;
  • recommend content and peers to improve the learners’ skills;
  • set goals and monitor the learning progress of each student;
  • analyze the learners’ needs to make personalized recommendations and feedback.

Augmented Content

The AI technology can be used to discover new training content by means of analyzing online systems: video platforms, teaching marketplaces, social platforms, and others. In such a way, the Artificial Intelligence can generate positive outcomes to be applied to new tasks.

 

Besides that, the technology can be used for creating new content like simple articles. Thus, the augmented learning asset can be produced and adapted to specific channels automatically. Also, if we are about the long articles, for example, the Artificial Intelligence solutions can be used for getting out and after summarizing the key issues as well as enriching its section with relevant multimedia content. It will ease the education process for students.

AI Influence on e-Learning: Summary

Considering all the information and facts above-mentioned in the article, the Artificial Intelligence and the system subsets like ML are dramatically shaping the e-learning industry. The benefits of implementing the technologies into the studying process are quite obvious:

  • automation of grading, providing the educators more time;
  • assessing students and adapting to their individual needs/aims/pace;
  • additional support to students provided by AI tutors around-the-clock.

So, the AI can change where and how we learn new things with a chance to cowork with teachers over the globe, staying on track and studying at the most convenient time for you, and all that at a lower cost.

 

Guest Blog Post: How to Improve Connection with Students in the Classroom

For me, being able to walk around the class and making a connection with students while delivering a lesson is a must. Being tethered to the whiteboard and having to turn my back to write was just not working. Add on all the wasted time of writing a problem, walking around the class helping one student at a time, then walking back up to the board. Finally, being so far away from the students in my class meant students in the back would be less focused thinking I wouldn’t notice them.

Communicate with all your students – not just those closest to the board

Enter AWWApp. Now, I am able to connect my computer to the iPad using a QR code and walk around anywhere in the classroom to work in whole group, small group, or with individuals. Whole group lessons became much more effective. I was able to walk around the class and allow students to show their work to everyone else. Having my students use the iPad to show their work right there from their desk made them feel more empowered.

Be there for your students when they need your help the most

Found a common misconception? No problem, I just start explaining it and start correcting that issue from wherever I am. Using AWW allows me to be close to those students and make sure they are getting it. 

Present your work on a big screen

Another piece that made it really convenient was not having to write upside down in small group. I would just project it and the screen was larger and easier to read for them without me needing to write upside down. 

AWWapp has made a great impact in my classroom and any situation when I needed a wireless whiteboard like professional developments or faculty meetings. I highly suggest using this in your class. It will be the solution to many classroom issues like behavior, permanent whiteboards, or tethered computers. 

6 C’s of Education in your Classroom

It all started with 4 C’s of the 21st – century education: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. These are the skills that many of you teachers are familiar with and already implementing them in your classrooms. However, this is not where C’s are ending. In his blog post, Brian S. Miller first introduced the world to the new, augmented concept – the 6 C’s of education. He suggested the concept after talking to his colleagues, listening to their suggestions, and studying materials of education leaders of today. In this post, we’ll take a look at this concept.

The Importance of 6 C’s of Education

Before digging deep in the concept, it’s important to highlight the value of these new educational skills. The key purpose of educational institutions is preparing children for their future jobs. However, the problem educational institutions are facing is that future of today’s children is so unpredictable. Jobs we can’t even imagine are created every day. Employers require creative and problem-solving skills and an ability to adapt to changes. Those new skills and abilities kids can’t polish by solving standardized tests. That’s why teachers need to foster new skills in the classroom- skills of 6 C’s education.

21st century skills: The 6 C's of Education
The 6 C’s of Education. Photo Credit: Michael Fullan & Sylvia Duckworth

6 C’s of Education

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the process of filtering, analyzing and questioning information/content found in various media, and then synthesizing it in a form that has a value to an individual. It allows students to make sense of the presented content and apply it to their daily lives.

Collaboration

Collaboration is a skill of utilizing various personalities, talents, and knowledge in a way to create a maximum outcome. The outcome must provide a benefit to the entire community or a group. Due to synergy, the common outcome has a greater value than a sum of values of each individual outcome. Check how you can sparkle collaboration in your classroom with few easy games.

Communication

Communication is a skill of presenting information in a clear, concise and meaningful way. It also designates careful listening and articulating thoughts. Communication has various purposes: informing, instructing, motivating, and persuading.

Creativity

In the 21st century, an individual must be able to create something new or create something in a new way, utilizing the knowledge he has already acquired. It does not just signify art, but also various solutions to a problem in real life situations. In our last blog post, we have suggested few methods how to foster creativity in the math classroom.

Citizenship/ Culture

This is a part where various authors point out different skills. Miller states the culture as one of the pieces of 6 C’s, while Michael Fullan features citizenship. When we look closer, they are not so different, and actually, they go hand in hand with one another. It is important for an individual to be in touch with everything that surrounds him – both culture and community.

Character Education/ Connectivity

According to Miller, understanding the importance of human connectivity in the world filled with technology is a necessary skill to teach children. Fullan highlights character education as the last C. It includes school’s commitment to helping young people become responsible, caring, and contributing citizens.

How to Foster 6 C’s in your Classroom?

So, how can you implement 6C’c in your everyday curriculum? How can you inspire your students to start developing their creativity, communicative and critical skills? You can start by trying these few methods, and see how they work for you. Changing traditional teaching ways can be hard, but it’s rewarding to see how your students transform into scholars of the 21st century.

Try AWW App for Free

Project Based Learning

Project-based learning is probably more closely associated with 21st-century learning skills than any other form of learning. According to Buck Institute for Education, project-based learning is “a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge“.

Within a project, students are involved with a meaningful real-life problem over a defined period of time. Students are required to find a solution to it through a process of asking questions, finding, analyzing and applying information and employing their creativity skills. Usually, the process also includes decision making, working in teams and reviewing for the sake of improving the final solution.

Project based learning: 6C's of education
Project-based learning. Photo Credit: zulama.com

Moving through the process, students develop skills that include problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. It’s important to emphasize that the goal of a project-based learning is not solving the problem, but gaining aforementioned skills throughout the process of solving the problem. Teach Thought lists fifty ideas for projects you can try out in your classroom.

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Genius Hour

A Genius hour is another teaching method in the classrooms of the 21st century. The movement refers to a certain amount of time during class that teacher give to students to explore their passions. Genius hour originates in Google’s practice of giving the engineers 20% of their time to work on any project they want. The idea was simple – give people the freedom to do what they want and the productivity will go up. Since it worked pretty well for Google, why not try it in the classroom?

The crucial part of Genius hour is defining a fine line between helping students to focus on the problem and letting them explore the topic on their own. While it’s OK to guide them in the beginning, at some point you’ll have to let them work at their own pace and in their own style.

Principles of Genius Hour

According to Teach Thought, there are six principles of Genius HourSense of purpose refers to a purpose students find in the topic they choose to explore. Students Design their own learning methodology. Through Inquiry & Navigation students make sense of ideas important to them. At the end of the day, a Genius hour is all about Creating something out of the learning process – a new thought, idea or a project. Socialization refers to connections students make with teachers, peers, and members of a community to help them carry out their projects. Lastly, there is an 80/20 Rule which refers to a schedule of time within a curriculum divided between a traditional class and Genius Hour.

6 Principles of Genius Hour. Photo Credit: Teach Thought

While it’s not important to follow 80/20 rule, be sure to define a certain amount of time when your students will freely explore their passions. They’ll develop critical thinking skills while exploring the topic, creativity while expressing their new knowledge, and communication skills while highlighting the importance of the knowledge they’ve gained. If you’re looking for Genius hour ideas, there’s a Google + community discussing the topic and sharing experiences.

 

Creative Thinking In Math Classroom

For years creativity was discouraged in schools. Teachers were imposing strict guidelines kids should follow when doing their assignments. There was only one correct answer and one accurate process, while everything else was wrong. In that old-fashioned setup, following rules and standards was the best way to become a successful A grade student. Luckily, things started to change lately. Teachers slowly started to recognize the huge importance of fostering creative thinking in the classroom. Math class teachers are surely one of the pioneers of creativity – inspired teaching.

Creative Thinking = Divergent thinking

When thinking about the word divergent, I’m sure you had negative connotations coming to your mind. Now, let’s stop for a moment and see what the word divergent really means. Scholars describe divergent as tending to be different or develop in different directions. Divergent thinking refers to the way the mind generates ideas beyond prescribed expectations and rote thinking. Is being different really that bad? Although we can all agree it’s not, it’s been rooted deeply in our minds that different means wrong. Why is that so?

As children, our divergent capability operates at a genius level. Starting with our education, the system teaches us that doing things differently is wrong. Due to the system suppression, the ability to think divergently decreases drastically as we grow.

creative thinking in math classroom- divergent thinking

What exactly the divergent thinking has to do with creativity? The definition of creativity is the ability to come up with original, unique solutions to problems or ideas. In other words, creating something new, a new value. That being said, thinking differently than others is actually required if you want to come up with something different, something unique. So, basically, thinking divergently is a key to creativity.

Fostering Critical Thinking Inside Classroom

The world we have known is changing rapidly. Set of skills we have now, might not be valid in few years. The ability to adapt to new conditions and situations is a crucial skill. Employers want you to look beyond the answers. Creativity is valued as the most important business skill, while creative thinking is one of the keys to economic prosperity in the 21st century. So, how can we prepare our children for this fast changing, hectic environment?

creative thinking in math classroom - importance of creativity in schools
Photo Credit: Dylan Wiliam

By allowing students to nourish their creative thinking in the classroom you are preparing them for the world outside of it. Turn your classroom into an open space of free thinkers and wonderers. Allow your students to use new thinking tools, to tweak solution paths and facilitate new processes. The best way for students to learn how to think creatively is to let them think creatively. Let them test, revise and draw conclusions from their own judgments. With time, they will become more and more confident in their thinking.

Creative Thinking in Math Classroom

Lack of creative thinking in math classroom results in memorizing techniques, without imagining how, where or why to use them in real life. Setting up an environment in which mistakes are allowed, and making sure that your students know there is more than one solution to a problem will go in favor of creativity. Math is as much about posing problems as problem-solving, and at that point, the creativity is in noticing there is something to investigate. Another powerful tool in supporting students as independent, creative thinkers is the use of questioning. In this environment, classroom needs to value difference and learn from that diversity and creativity. I have listed few techniques that will help you out in boosting creative thinking in math classroom.

Number Talks

Number talks are sessions where students present various solutions to math problems. They are not using pencil, pen, calculator or algorithm, but only their mental process often referred to as mental math. Students solve problems by breaking and decomposing numbers. Once they solve the problem, they need to explain the logic of their solutions to the entire class. It is a great way of both facilitating students’ creative thinking and practicing their argumentation. 

creative thinking in math classroom - number talks
Photo Credit: Catherine Reed

Teachers usually structure number talks in a way that students sit on their seats, while a teacher writes down their solutions on a board. It sometimes may be hard for all the solutions to fit a board, causing that some of them have to be erased. Further on, students might not be able to see all the writings on a board from their seats. AWW has a simple solution to these problems. Use AWW as an online smartboard and let your students solve problems from their seats. Solutions will display both on a smartboard or a projections screen and their own devices. You can manage students’ participating rights, as you don’t want them all to be able to draw at the same time.

creative thinking in math classroom - number talks
Photo Credit: Catherine Reed
Writing Their Own Problems

One of the ways to spark creative thinking inside the classroom is by letting your students write their own math problems. Benefits of this practice are various. You can assess whether your students can apply higher-level thinking skills. Students can improve their argumentation skills while they practice explaining the logic behind their problems. You will also get a feedback at which level of understanding are they, as they will come up only with the problems they can personally solve. Students will include their personal stories and experiences into their explanations. Thanks to that, you will learn a great deal about your students’ interests and life outside of a classroom.

 

 

Beginner’s Guide to Paperless Classroom

Starting with Paperless Classroom

If I ask every teacher what would make their work better, their answer would probably be – more efficient and organized classroom. More time for students and less time doing paperwork. Paperless classroom is an concept which, if implemented thoughtfully and carefully, can make your teaching wishes come true.

However, when starting to think about going paperless, you’ll have to consider some facts. As in every concept, you have to take into account both benefits and challenges. At the beginning, set your expectations low, and see how the paperless concept works for you. Test it. Adapt it to your needs. When you’re ready, set the goals and keep track of them.

Paperless Classroom
Courtesy of: Paul Gigliotti

Benefits of Paperless Classroom

The two most obvious benefits of paperless classroom are smaller cost and less time spent for printing out. Printing out endless number of assignments, homework, syllabi and exams, can be cumbersome and exhausting work. Not to mention, the costs of paper, ink and maintenance can add up to enormous sums. Average American school pays $25,000 annually just for the costs of paper! This alone is a reason enough to start considering implementation of a digital classroom concept.

Beyond these obvious benefits, there are other perks of implementing paperless classroom system into your school. Paperless implementation can result in a more sustainable and efficient workflow. No more “dog ate my homework” or misplaced exams. Another big value of having a cloud based system is access to data. Teacher can access student data and see whether he’s turned in his homework right from his couch. Deeper analysis of student data can show how student progress over time.

Benefits of Paperless Classroom
Courtesy of: chalkup.co

Not doing things old way, can create a lot of extra time for student collaboration end engagement. Doing things digitally can save time and make more engagement friendly environment. Concepts like flipped classroom and blended learning are some of the examples of fostering collaboration with the use of paperless technology.

When kids got all the learning materials available in a cloud base or LMS system they can access it whenever they want. Discussions started in classroom can continue at students’ homes. Moreover, Students can share their homework or a group assignments with friends and collaboratively solve problems. As a teacher you can access their assignments in real time end even help them with their struggles from your home.

Students can engage with the lessons in the way they find more comfortable. Gamification is the perfect example. Students can feel more like they’re having fun, than actually learning, and thus likely to involve more. Furthermore, digital audio-visual formats like videos and screencasts are by a definition more engaging way of consuming information then one-dimensional textual forms.

Challenges of Paperless Classroom

No system is perfect. There are several challenges to think about when transitioning to paperless. The obvious one is access to internet and devices. Both of them cost money. In addition, there are tools that you’ll use to transform your class to digital. Whether it is a comprehensive system or a simple app you’ll have to think about money that you’ll need to invest in it. Lastly, think about the hidden costs. Many of products have freemium pricing models. If you don’t pay attention to small print, you may unknowingly end up being charged for an increase of a service.

Paperless ClassroomAnother challenge is a question of training. As much as systems are becoming more easy to use, there is a certain time period that’ll need to pass before accommodating with it. We recommend you to take a trial period or demo version before actually buying a product. That way, you can avoid buying a product that you don’t feel comfortable with. Bad customer support can also be a deal breaker. Call out or send a ticket to test customer support promptness and how they’re dealing with problems.

Lastly, there’s a mind shifting challenge. Abandoning habits created for years is hard. Many older generation teachers, that didn’t grow up in the internet age, can have an aversion towards digital tools. Moreover, they can think there’s nothing wrong with printed exams and handwrite red-pen homework corrections. As a result, they can feel confused and reluctant. However, younger colleagues can help them out discover pain points when using technology and explain them that tools are not here to replace them, but to help them use their time more efficiently.

Practical Steps to Go Paperless

♦ Build up your digital learning materials repository. LMS systems or cloud platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox are probably the best solution to collect and store all your materials. Recently, AWW has introduced embed option for Canvas, Edmodo and Moodle.

 

Paperless Classroom with Cloud Storage♦Create digital lessons/assignments. There are so many tools on the market that enable you screencast your lessons, make video tutorials and record your audio explanations or student’s thoughts. With AWW you can create and save unlimited number of lessons. Use text, drawings, images and files to create intuitive and fun learning materials.

♦ Distribute lessons digitally. It is important that you can easily distribute your lessons and assignments. AWW app has made a great tool that will help you share your saved lessons with a click of a button to entire class.  

♦ Collect completed assignments the same way you distributed it. Students can easily turn in their AWW assignments by sharing them to Google Classroom.

♦ Monitor progress of your students. When we’re talking about monitoring progress over time, yet again, LMS systems come in handy .

♦ Connect with parents. Share grades, lessons and assignments with parents and keep them in the loop.