[Note: This is a guest post from Carey Cruz on education.]

When we come across the term ‘artificial intelligence’, some of us may think of science-fiction movies featuring Hollywood stars, while others may relate the term to anything to do with computers. What is artificial intelligence? Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behaviour in computers.

Ever since the first modern computer was invented scientists and educators alike were constantly finding new ways to encourage students with their learning through the use of artificial intelligence. The first ever intelligent tutoring system that was invented in the US in the 1970s was called the SCHOLAR CAI (computer assisted instruction) by Dr. Allan M. Collins and Jaime Carbonell. The program was developed to analyze human dialogues to learn how human tutoring and question and answering strategies were made. That was the beginning of artificial intelligence and education.

What does artificial Intelligence and education mean?

Edutechwiki defines it as a research community that is interested in the intersection of artificial intelligence, research, learning and education. Intelligent tutoring systems, intelligent learning environments, adaptive hypertext systems and other computer-supported collaborative learning system all fall under artificial intelligence and education. These are all means educators use to enhance and help students with their learning.
Intelligent tutoring systems is a program that gives instant and tailor made instructions designed specifically for a student or learner to help them with a task, or simply put, Intelligent tutoring systems or ITS replaces a human tutor with a machine. One good example of an ITS is the Mathematics Tutor, a program that assists student to solve word programs using fractions, decimals and percentages.

One great advantage of the ITS is that since the program is custom built for a particular student depending on their aptitude or mastery of the subject matter, the student can learn on their own pace. However, ITS programs are intensive and time-consuming to build, especially since expert knowledge and resources are needed to be able to build an effective ITS.
Intelligent learning environment is a program in which the student is put in a problem solving situation and one good example of this is a flight simulator where the student will know what it’s like to fly a “real airplane”. There has also been an upsurge of interest in using educational electronic games as an intelligent learning environment program. However, there are arguments about how effective it would be.

Adaptive hypertext systems or adaptive hypermedia is a program that is used in many e-learning or distance learning courses. It is a system that offers the right links or content for the learner. Adaptive hypermedia is akin to web personalization.

When used the right way, this program will give students an influential set of approaches and guidelines to be used with their learning. But on the other hand, like all other programs that can be used to enhance learning, the use of adaptive hypermedia can also be abused.

Computer-supported collaborative learning systems is an educational method used where learning takes place through social interaction with the help of a computer or the internet. CSCLS is a great tool for educators to use to help and improve their student learning. Some teachers though find it more time-consuming to monitor their students learning, review and grade it, as opposed to classroom discussions.

The Future of AI and education

More and more Universities and colleges are now offering online degrees and they will all be relying on artificial intelligence programs to help enhance and encourage the learning of their students which only means that more AI systems and programs will be developed. AI in education is here to stay.

Carey is a professional writer and a chief editor at a company providing essay writing services. She writes for a variety of online sites and blogs about topics such as education in general, academic writing and teaching.

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