AI in Education: Empowering Learners & Educators in the Digital Age

AI in Education

AI is used to personalize education, provide targeted feedback, and streamline administrative tasks for educators. It empowers learners by adapting to their individual needs and preferences, making education more accessible and effective in the digital era. Esteemed panelists at 27th Elets World Education Summit in Malaysia delved further and explored how integration of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in educational settings is enhancing the learning experience.

Prof. Ts. Dr. Salwani Binti Mohd Daud, the Vice-Chancellor of the University Malaysia of Computer Science & Engineering in Selangor, Malaysia, was involved in the development of the National AI Road Map for Malaysia, which was launched in 2022 and spans from 2021 to 2025. She has been appointed to a task force by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) to oversee the implementation of this national road map.

The National AI Road Map in Malaysia includes a focus on the responsible use of AI, and Prof. Ts. Dr. Salwani recognizes the importance of ethical considerations in AI adoption. She acknowledges that it’s challenging to prevent people from using generative AI tools like GPT-3 for various applications, including education. She emphasizes the need to use AI responsibly.

Key ethical considerations outlined by Prof. Ts. Dr. Salwani include:

  • Equity and Accessibility: Ensuring that everyone has access to generative AI for teaching and learning.
  • Privacy of Data: Addressing concerns related to data privacy when using AI.
  • Transparency: Encouraging transparency in AI algorithms to make their functioning clear to users.
  • Pedagogical Considerations: AI should complement, not replace, educators in the teaching and learning process.
  • Technical Considerations: Ensuring the robustness, security, and continuous monitoring of AI applications.

In the National AI Road Map and in alignment with UNESCO’s guidelines, they have identified principles for responsible AI adoption, which include fairness, reliability, safety, control, privacy, security, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, and the pursuit of human benefits and happiness. Developers are expected to adhere to these principles when implementing AI solutions.

Prof. Ts. Dr. Salwani also mentions relevant UNESCO documents, such as guidelines for GPT and artificial intelligence in higher education, ethics of AI, and guidance for generative AI in education and research, which institutions can use as references when incorporating generative AI into their educational and research activities. She stresses the importance of being knowledgeable and expert in AI to make informed decisions when using AI tools.

Lata Bavisi, the President of EC-Council University located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, emphasizes the importance of recognizing that AI is an integral part of education and is here to stay. She acknowledges that educators must embrace AI’s presence and adapt to the changing educational landscape.

She divides education into three core components: accumulation, assimilation, and application. While the way information is accumulated has evolved, educators need to ensure that AI-synthesized content is accurate, ethical, and relevant. Additionally, the role of educators in guiding students on the application of knowledge becomes vital, as AI covers most other aspects of education.

Bavisi underscores the need for educators to focus on teaching students how to apply their knowledge effectively, as this is the key to personal and professional success. She believes that creating critical thinkers is the ultimate goal of education.

Discussing the risks associated with AI in education, Lata Bavisi highlights the ethical considerations and legal frameworks that must be in place. AI has the potential to level the playing field for students, but it also requires a responsible approach to address the associated risks.

As the president of EC-Council University, which specializes in cybersecurity education, Bavisi expresses concern about the rapid technological changes and the challenges they pose for ensuring the security of organizations, government departments, and nations. Keeping up with evolving cybersecurity threats and preparing students for this dynamic field is a substantial responsibility.

She stresses the importance of educators taking a responsible approach to AI in education, ensuring that students are equipped to apply their knowledge effectively and that ethical considerations are at the forefront. She also highlights the challenges of staying updated in fields like cybersecurity and the need to prepare students for the changing landscape of technology and security.

Joo Ming Thang, the Group Chief Information Officer at UCSI Group of Institutions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has introduced several technological advancements to enhance the educational experience.

One notable achievement is the development of a digital e-wallet, which, to his knowledge, makes UCSI University the only institution in Malaysia with such a system, endorsed by the Central Bank of Malaysia. Additionally, they have implemented license plate recognition technology for parking, completely eliminating the need for physical parking tickets, thanks to AI development within the university.

Joo Ming Thang shared a personal anecdote about his 10-year-old daughter using a chatbot, GPT, to aid her with writing an essay in Chinese when she was not proficient in the language. He highlighted that rather than discouraging such creative and innovative use of AI, educators should guide students on its proper application.

He discussed the integration of AI into various aspects of education. For example, they use OCR technology and AI for visa and passport verification during student enrollments, significantly streamlining the process. They have also reduced the time spent on parking payments by implementing an app that allows students to make payments using license plate recognition technology.

Joo Ming Thang emphasized the importance of embracing AI in education and utilizing it to make tasks easier and more efficient. He discussed AI’s potential for enhancing the student experience, reducing enrollment times, and improving attendance tracking using QR codes and location-based technology. He also mentioned the use of AI in automotive safety, where it can adjust headlight brightness and deploy safety features automatically.
Joo Ming Thang stressed that educators should not fear AI but should leverage it to simplify tasks and enhance education. He believes that the effective application of technology in education is the key to adding value to higher education institutions.

Prof. Anurag Singh, the Director of the Institute of Business Management at GLA University in Mathura, India, acknowledges that the adoption of new-age technologies, including AI, is happening rapidly among students. However, he observes hesitancy and reluctance among trainers and faculty members to embrace these technological changes.

Prof. Singh emphasizes that AI is here to stay, and it is just the beginning of a significant transformation in education. He commends the initiative of the Ministry to introduce AI for educators and emphasizes the need to scale up quickly to keep pace with the evolving technological landscape.

He believes that digitalization has democratized education, making access to knowledge and information more accessible and equitable. The ability to use search engines effectively levels the playing field for learners from diverse economic backgrounds and geographical locations. Prof. Singh highlights the fear of the unknown as a common human tendency, leading to reluctance in embracing new technologies, and he encourages educators to overcome this mindset.

Prof. Anurag Singh emphasizes the importance of educators adapting to the changing landscape and understanding that if students are quickly adopting new technologies while instructors lag behind, they may lose the ability to effectively assess and analyze student performance. Bridging the gap between students’ technological proficiency and educators’ willingness to adapt is crucial.

Dr. S B Goyal, the Director of Faculty of Information Technology at City University Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, reflects on the adoption of AI and technology. He analogizes the use of technology to having a knife in hand – it can be used for productive or destructive purposes. Dr. Goyal emphasizes the importance of considering people, processes, technology, and structure when implementing technology.

He observes that while technology standards are advancing rapidly, people’s mindset and readiness to embrace these changes are slower to evolve. Drawing a historical parallel, he mentions how the introduction of calculators was met with resistance by the mathematical community. Likewise, he highlights the example of GPT-3, which was originally introduced in 2020 but wasn’t widely known to the general public until later.

Dr. Goyal stresses the need to adopt and adapt to technology, emphasizing that mindset plays a crucial role. He believes that, just as individuals drive cars without detailed knowledge of their inner workings, they can use technology effectively even without an in-depth understanding of how it functions.

He suggests that individuals should receive training and education in AI, and he anticipates the inclusion of “prompt engineering” in the curriculum, a subject related to providing instructions to AI systems effectively. Dr. Goyal underscores the importance of AI in various fields, including cybersecurity, and encourages embracing technology and teaching it effectively.

He shares an anecdote about his 8-year-old son’s natural ability to work with technology, highlighting that younger generations are more adaptable to new technology. He believes that while technology, like a bicycle or a helicopter, offers choices, it is crucial to make informed decisions and ensure a thorough understanding of its applications, especially in fields like research paper writing.

Dr. S B Goyal concludes and emphasized the need to make thoughtful decisions about technology adoption and encourages embracing AI while maintaining a deeper understanding of its applications and implications.

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