The Positive Impact of Artificial Intelligence (Robots)
Over the years, there has been a debate on the effects of artificial intelligence in the learning process in schools. Artificial intelligence (AI) relates to the ability and progress of a computer systems’ information technology, or other machines, to accomplish work that normally requires human intelligence and logical deduction (Ma & Siau, 2018). It is also described as the capability of a machine to function as if it has the aptitude to think like mankind (Chandra & Prihastomo, 2013). Other scholars consider AI to be applications of software techniques and algorithms, which enable computers and machines to mimic human decision making processes and perception, to effectively accomplish tasks (Murphy, 2019). It has been used in simpler tasks, such as transmission of automated phone calls and texts from banks, and in complex tasks, such as enabling an automobile with improved driver-assistance systems, to automatically stay in its lane and maintain a safe distance from the car in front of it. The subsequent study compares teaching in Saudi Arabia and New Zealand, to highlight the similarities and differences in the application of artificial intelligence. It highlights the positive impacts of AI on the countries’ education, and particularly on how it improves the learning process. As a result, the researcher seeks to answer the following research questions;
Different definitions have been presented to describe Artificial Intelligence (AI). For instance, according to Tuomi (2018), AI is a computer system having the capacity to do jobs often associated with intelligent beings. However, Grewal (2014) defines artificial intelligence as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” Grewal (2014) reveals that this field was established on the belief that intelligence, which is a central property of human beings, can be accurately described that it can be copied by a machine. Ahmed (2018) thought that AI is a type of technology that makes devices as shrewd as human beings. On a different perspective, Boyd & Wilson (2017) maintained that AI systems are digital systems that replicate and automate intelligent conduct. They use data to deduce patterns and learn the solutions to problems.
Over the years, the New Zealand government has been at the forefront of promoting the adoption of AI. Through the Ministry of Education, the government has revised the area of technology learning, to reinforce the positioning of digital technologies in its curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2018). The change is intended to ensure that all students have a chance to become digitally capable individuals; it displays the government’s increased focus on enabling students to develop their skills, so that they can be innovative developers of digital solutions, going beyond only being users of digital technologies (Ministry of Education, 2018). To ensure the success of this initiative, the government requires schools to fully integrate the reviewed learning program into their curriculum by the beginning of the 2020 academic year (Ministry of Education, 2018). On the other hand, Saudi Arabia ambition is to boost innovation and economic growth using advanced digital technologies so as to achieve its bold reform program, Vision 2030.
Digitization and artificial intelligence (AI) are the major facilitators of these expansive reforms (Jewell, 2018). As the government focuses on these programs, teachers around the country are embracing AI believing that their students will benefit from different spheres, due to its use in learning. Al-Kinani (2019) disclosed that from September 2019, Misk Schools in Riyadh will adopt AI, becoming the first schools in Saudi Arabia to adopt the teaching and learning technique. Students in these schools will learn through and be evaluated by AI, a tool which will provide each of the learners with personalized and give their teachers greater insights into the students’ performance (Al-Kinani, 2019). The schools will use CENTURY, a teaching and learning platform that utilizes AI to align learning to each learner’s individual strengths, weaknesses, habits, and behaviors (Al-Kinani, 2019). AI literacy helps students to improve their knowledge of English, math, and coding. For instance, by witnessing how their programming strategies are replicated in the learning and behavior of a machine, they can effectively understand non-concrete concepts like cause and impact. Furthermore, they can receive instant feedback from the device and repeat their ideas based upon this feedback. As a result, AI offers students opportunities for learning in a cross-disciplinary way.
Artificial intelligence items, such as games, boost learners’ thoughts and actions. According to McDowall (2017), while playing games, students are required to employ critical analysis, a practice which shapes their thoughts and actions in ways that are usually not apparent immediately. Critical literacy provided by AI can give students the capabilities and dispositions required to question how and why specific games have been developed, and the effect of these choices for the player. Moreover, it provides learners with the ability to play games in ways that meet their needs, or to alter games, or develop new ones that better display their views, values, and world beliefs. McDowall (2017) disclosed that in New Zealand, teachers use metagaming activities in their teaching, a process that entails giving students opportunities to try out and reflect on a variety of games such as digital, table top, and role plays. Games are also used to help students have practical exposure to what they are being taught, boosting their grasp of what they learn.
Moreover, McDowall (2017) stated that primary school teachers in New Zealand provide their students with opportunities to review different types of games, such as those related to commerce and nature conservation. For instance, one of the teachers in the country allows her students to play and give responses on the mechanics and content of a card game. The teacher uses this game to teach her students about the conservation of birds. Another teacher demonstrated the digital game, Never Alone, to her students using published reviews on the game, so as to help the learners to come up with their own reviews on commercial games. According to McDowall (2017), reviewing games involves analyzing their various individual parts, as well as how they work together. Furthermore, it enables them to understand languages, texts, and symbols with ease.
Students receive effective classroom instruction and support when their teachers adopt AI as the mode of instruction. Murphy (2019) established that a variety of Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) can be comparatively effective sources of classroom instruction. They also support learners in the study of topics that are amenable to a rule-based AI architecture. Researchers have compared the scores on researcher-developed or standardized tests adopting both ITS and traditional formats (Murphy, 2019). Their findings reveal that ITS-based instruction gives higher test scores than traditional formats of teacher-led instruction and online instruction that do not follow ITS styles. Also, ITS produces learning results comparable to one-on-one tutoring and small-group instruction. These findings are common across academic levels, content domains, and study quality such as randomized controlled trials and quasi-experiments. As a result, AI is appropriate for primary school teachers who desire to realize increased performance among their students.
Teachers can easily determine the future of their students through the application of AI strategies in their tutoring, enabling them to manage the learners appropriately for better academic outcomes. Based on Murphy’s (2019) findings, machine learning, a technical approach to AI, offers predictive value in education. Machine learning utilizes statistical algorithms to develop or learn a prediction model, by processing voluminous multivariate data linked to the concept of interest. Rather than humans programming a set of professional rules into the system, the system identifies patterns displayed by the forecaster variables, or characteristics, on the one hand, and the outcome variable of interest on the other. As shown in Figure 1, AI allows dynamic scheduling and predictive analysis whereby, through predictive computing, teachers can learn students’ habits and determine the most appropriate study schedule.
Figure 1: Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in education for students (Daria, 2017).
Figure 2: The AI program advantages for schools and teachers (Daria, 2017).
A machine-learning approach might be utilized to pinpoint the relationships between student traits and their performance from their early school years. The machines can provide students’ information such as school attendance, early test scores, and credits earned, all of which would be noted as predictor variables. They can also be used as input features of the system and consequent on-time completion of high school, an outcome variable of interest. Through these processes, the system can determine whether there are early indicators that a learner is likely to drop out at a future date. Teachers can then attempt to intervene to avert students’ abandonment of education.
Artificial intelligence enables students to participate in learning processes, a factor that boosts their grasp of what is taught in class, thus resulting in better performance. Information presented by Faggella (2019) revealed that AI’s digital and dynamic nature presents opportunities for students to engage in teaching processes, a benefit not provided by textbooks or in the fixed classroom environment. The use of games or robots, for instance, allows increased student involvement in learning, since the learners play games or use the robot, with the guidance or evaluation of their teachers.
Description of Methodology
In this study, the researcher used the qualitative research method to collect both primary and secondary information. The qualitative research method entails reliance on non-numerical data, such as words and pictures relating to the issue under study, to make conclusions (Eyisi, 2016). The choice of qualitative research method was motivated by the fact that in psychosocial research, this method helps researchers to collect factual data to answer research questions (Hammarberg, Kirkman, & Lacey, 2016). Also, qualitative methods of research are the best when a researcher seeks to answer questions about experience, perspectives, and meaning, usually from the position of participants who are more knowledgeable of the issue being studied. This factor helps researchers to collect factual and reliable information since the respondents have a first-hand experience about the subject of study.
Primary research processes comprised the use of observation and questionnaires. The researcher attended 5 primary school lessons in New Zealand, and received 5 video recordings of Saudi Arabia primary schools’ teaching sessions. The visit to the classroom and the video recordings were used by the researcher to observe how the teachers in both countries applied AI in their instructions. Observation and field notes allowed the researcher to keep and comment upon impressions, behaviors, non-verbal cues, and environmental contexts that may not be adequately captured through the interview responses (Sutton & Austin, 2015). The researcher noted the different forms of AI used in different lessons and classes, and how both the teachers and students participated in the learning process.
In addition, the researcher interviewed the 10 teachers who taught in the lessons, and at least 15 students from each of the classes. The researcher opted to use interviews because qualitative research entails gaining insight into people’s feelings and thoughts (Sutton & Austin, 2015). As a result, through the interviews, the researcher was able to access or understand the thoughts and feelings of the participants. The observation and interview revolved around the research questions that formed the basis of this research. The interview questions included:
Secondary research involved an analysis of secondary information sources such as journals, articles, and online sources like websites, presenting information regarding AI, particularly in New Zealand and Saudi Arabia. The researcher identified information from the secondary sources that could answer this study’s research questions. After analyzing the sources, the researcher extracted the content relevant to the research question, interpreted it and interpreted it in this study. The authors of the secondary sources are acknowledged in this study through referencing, a process that was adopted by the researcher as a way of adhering to research ethics and preventing the violation of the ethical principle of plagiarism. Since qualitative research is inductive in nature and involves the exploration of meanings and insights in a particular situation (Mohajan, 2018), the researcher explored the occurrences in the classrooms, and the responses given by the respondents to find answers to this study’s research questions.
In response to the research question “What is artificial intelligence?” the respondents presented varying definitions. The respondents comprised 10 teachers and 150 students from different schools in New Zealand and Saudi Arabia. One of the teachers stated, “Artificial intelligence is the use of programs in the teaching and learning processes.” Another teacher defined the phenomenon as “the use of computer software in teaching” while another thought that “artificial intelligence are items used to substitute manpower to make work easier.” Similarly, the students presented differing views as their teachers. One of the learners stated; “Artificial intelligence are equipment used to make work easy,” while another thought; “artificial intelligence is using devices that help in doing work.” Another student stated; “artificial intelligence is a name used to define instruments that make work and learning enjoyable,” while another thought; “artificial intelligence is the use of tools that make work easy and cheaper.”
All respondents contacted by the researcher indicated that they use artificial intelligence in their school. One of the teachers stated; “Yes. We use artificial intelligence frequently in our school because it helps us teach with ease.” Another teacher responded with, “Yes. Our school has acquired computers that are used in learning processes.” The students supported the views of their teachers. One student stated; “We have artificial intelligence devices both in class and in the field,” while another one revealed; “We play computer games in the classroom.” The observations made by the researcher in the 5 lessons attended in New Zealand, and the video recordings of teaching processes received from Saudi Arabia, revealed that the teachers exposed the learners to different artificial intelligence processes.
The respondents identified different types of artificial intelligence used in their classrooms. Two of the teachers stated; “We use computer games to make learning enjoyable,” while another teacher stated; “we use automated marking and grading systems in our school.” Another teacher revealed; “we use computers to keep our students’ records,” as another clarified; “we have supplied our students with iPads that contain the contents of different subjects we teach.” Another teacher revealed; “we use artificial intelligence to contact our students’ parents and inform them about their children’s performance.” The students presented similar sentiments, thus supporting their teachers’ responses. One of the students confided to the researcher; “Everyone in my class has an iPad we use during learning,” while another stated; “we use computers during English lessons, especially when filling puzzles and constructing sentences.” Another student clarified; “We have questions with answers in school computers, which we use during learning.” The researcher identified these artificial intelligence devices during the visit to the 5 schools and the video recordings. For instance, in one of the classrooms, the teacher was using a projector to display the content he was teaching his students. In a different school, students relied on computers to access digital books that are used in learning.
The respondents indicated that they frequently use AI in their teaching/learning. In response to the question; “How often do you use AI?” one of the teachers responded; “In our school, we use AI on a daily basis,” while another teacher stated; “We use AI frequently, especially while teaching science and language subjects.” A different teacher revealed; “We use AI throughout our teaching.”
Many of the respondents confirmed that there are numerous benefits arising from the use of Artificial Intelligence in learning. One of the teachers argued; “AI helps us to keep student records, making it easier for the teachers and parents to track their children’s performance.” Another teacher argued; “AI makes our teaching easier as we can display to the students what is being taught.” In a different view, another teacher stated; “AI improves students’ performance as it helps n imparting knowledge in the learners,” while another argued; “AI makes teaching cheaper because the contents being taught in schools can be duplicated and distributed among students, reducing the need of purchasing many books.” Also, the students believed that AI gives them better learning outcomes. For instance, according to one of the learners; “AI makes learning full of fun because through games, we enjoy our lessons.” Another student stated; “Computer content makes our learning easier because we can refer to them in our iPads.”
Discussion of Findings
The researcher established that Artificial Intelligence has multiple definitions, and therefore, lacks a universally agreed definition. From the definitions presented by the many scholars whose studies were considered in this study, and the responses of the respondents to the interview questions, it was apparent that AI means different things to different people. For instance, from the information retrieved from Ma & Siau (2018), the researcher learned that AI is the ability of information technology facilitated by computer systems, or other machines, to perform roles usually done by humans. This description resembled that of Chandra & Prihastomo (2013) who believes that AI is the proficiency of a machine to function like human beings. Other scholars such as Murphy (2019), Tuomi (2018), Ahmed (2018), and Boyd & Wilson (2017) agree that AI involves the use of computers and machines to do human roles. The views of the respondents reflected these definitions, though in different perspectives. For instance, some of the respondents revealed that AI involves the use of programs in teaching and learning processes to do human tasks. Based on these definitions, the researcher concludes that AI, in teaching and learning, involves the use of devices such as computers to facilitate learning processes. The researcher also asked the respondents about their experience of using different applications and games on their teaching. Also, teachers’ views were sought regarding whether they agreed and disagree about the efficiency with which they could find AI tools such as applications and games that matched to the standards of the curriculum. Although, some of the teachers admitted that some commercial applications and games are not meant for educational purposes, they can be used to teach core curriculum. They revealed that there are a variety of applications and games that support the core curriculum.
There was evidence that both New Zealand and Saudi Arabia use AI in their education sector. From the information retrieved from New Zealand’s Ministry of Education (2018), the researcher established that AI in education is one of the initiatives of the New Zealand’s government. This is confirmed by the initiation of Digital Technologies in its curriculum in the country. Similarly, AI is promoted and applied in Saudi Arabia. Students in different schools, like Misk Schools in Riyadh, will soon use AI to boost their literacy skills. The situation in these countries was revealed by the interview respondents, who identified the different types of AI used in their schools. Some of the AI used in schools include computers, digital content, iPads, and projectors.
This study identified numerous benefits associated with the use of AI in teaching and learning. For instance, from the information collected from Nasir (2017), the researcher learned that AI improves students’ cognitive and collaborative abilities, and helps them to develop different literacies from an early age. In addition, it helps learners to improve their performance of English, math and coding. Furthermore, the researcher established that AI tools, such as games, boost learners’ thoughts and actions. This was established from the information given by McDowall (2017) who argued that games require critical analysis, which in turn improves the players’ thoughts and actions, thereby improving their academic performance. Other benefits identified by the researcher include the promotion of student participation in learning, enjoyable classroom environment, facilitates the storage of students’ records, makes teaching and learning easier, helps students grasp what they are taught, and makes education cheaper because teaching content can be duplicated and distributed to students.
Ahmed, H. E. (2018). AI advantages & disadvantages. International Journal of Scientific Engineering and Applied Science (IJSEAS), 4(4), 22-22. Retrieved from http://ijseas.com/volume4/v4i1/ijseas20180104.pdf
Al-Kinani, M. (2019). Misk Schools introduce artificial intelligence into Saudi classrooms. Arab News. Updated 18 April 2019. http://www.arabnews.com/node/1484146/saudi-arabia
Boyd, M., & Wilson, N. (2017). Rapid developments in Artificial Intelligence: How might the New Zealand government respond? Policy Quarterly, 13(4), 36-43. Retrieved from https://www.victoria.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/1175176/Boyd.pdf
Chandra, R., & Prihastomo, Y. (2013). Artificial Intelligence definition: A review. Master of Computer Science, University of Budi Luhur. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d959/ad041acca7570a7229e51c18a297bb7ca0b2.pdf
Daria R. (2017). AI and Education or How to Create an Advanced Artificial Intelligence Program. Cleveroad. https://www.cleveroad.com/blog/ai-in-education-or-what-advantages-of-artificial-intelligence-in-education-you-can-gain-
Eyisi, D. (2016). The usefulness of qualitative and quantitative approaches and methods in researching problem-solving ability in science education curriculum. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(15), 91-100. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1103224.pdf
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Table 1: Definition of Artificial Intelligence
|Ma & Siau (2018) Chandra & Prihastomo (2013) Murphy (2019) Tuomi (2018) Ahmed (2018) Boyd & Wilson (2017)||Ability and progress of information technology computer systems or other machines to accomplish work which normally requires human intelligence and logical deduction.It is the capability of a machine to function as if it has the aptitude to think like mankind. AI is the applications of software techniques and algorithms that enable computers and machines to mimic human decision making processes and perception to effectively accomplish tasks.AI is a computer system having the capacity to do jobs often associated with intelligent beingsAI is a type of technology that makes devices shrewd as human beings to build the human’s lifeAI systems are digital systems that replicate and automate intelligent conduct.|
Table 2: Positive impact of Artificial Intelligence
|McDowall (2017) Murphy (2019) Faggella (2019)||Artificial intelligence items such as games boost learners’ thoughts and actions. AI helps students have practical exposure to what they are being taught, boosting their grasp of what they learn.It helps students to receive effective classroom instruction and support. Helps teachers to easily determine the academic future of their students in their tutoring enabling them to manage the learners appropriately for better academic outcomes. Artificial intelligence enables students to participate in learning processes boosting their understanding and performance.|
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