Did you know that the future of education is intricately woven with the threads of AI? Dive into our latest interview at VISIONARY VOICES where we unravel the delicate dance between tailored teaching and standardized curriculum. Discover how educators need to stay ahead in the AI race and explore the evolving partnership between teachers and parents in fostering digital literacy. All this and more in an exclusive conversation between ABHIJIT SAXENA, फाउंडर, SHINKAN and Mahima Sharma, Founder and Editor, The Think Pot.
In an age where AI can personalize learning experiences, how do you maintain a balance between tailored education and the importance of a standardized curriculum?
See Mahima, it is imperative to understand the roots of tailored education and standardized curriculum as they play an important role in defining the education parameters for shaping the future of our youth.
A standardized curriculum is necessary since there is a basis on which the curriculum has been created so that our youth gets the basic and important knowledge in the formative years. Experts have worked on the same for years to create a curriculum which will ensure good fundamentals and a strong knowledge base.
The tailored education has two parts to it, one is tailored teaching methodology and the second is freedom to choose certain credits outside of standardized curriculum. The first point is a no-brainer and it takes into account the inclination of a child to a teaching methodology, for instance, there might be a child who has a scientific mindset and prefers a logical approach while there is another child who has a creative mindset and prefers a story based approach.
With the advent of AI, adaptive learning can aid in customization in the manner of imparting education. A hybrid format will ensure the best of both worlds in creating effective education.
Considering the rapid evolution of AI, how can educators stay ahead in their understanding to effectively guide students, and what role should continuous professional development play?
Continuous professional development is essential for one’s overall advancement.
Today because of AI and other advancements in literally every field it is so fast that one’s knowledge can become completely redundant in a couple of years and there would be a need to upgrade yourself continuously. AI can help customize teaching methodology as iterated earlier. It can help generate content in more consumable and relatable formats which is far more effective than the current formats. For instance, it is clear that simple rote learning which was the earlier mantra is not sufficient for education, it is all about relatability, applicability and usability of content which helps in better learning. This is something which AI has shown as its key capability in defining content for specific needs.
As AI becomes more integrated into educational tools, how can we ensure that students develop genuine problem-solving skills rather than relying solely on algorithmic solutions?
An interesting case in point is when calculators were introduced many years earlier and there was a huge resistance to the same since it was felt that there should be basic capability of mental math. However, as years passed today very little relevance is attached to mental math as compared to the ability to solve complex problems with the help of tools like computers.
Similarly, AI has to be taken as another capable tool which can allow anyone the power to work on complex problems faster rather than spending time doing mundane algorithmic functions. Additionally, educators must inculcate real-life project-based learning which will help students in tackling complex context-rich problems that demand critical analysis and innovative solutions. This categorically also addresses the issue that AI is not a threat to mankind but one of the most powerful inventions after the wheel which changed the world forever!
In a world where AI may automate certain jobs, how should education evolve to cultivate skills that are uniquely human, fostering qualities like empathy and ethical decision-making?
The rate at which AI is taking over human-based jobs is surely alarming which prompts us to be more cautious of its usage but at the same time humans have the obvious advantage of possessing a heart alongside brains and oftentimes it is a synergy between these two which influences our decision-making process.
For example, if it had not been for the empathy for the future generations to come and the worry for the world that we should leave behind for them, focus on the environment would have taken a backseat versus the cost analysis by any brain-led AI tool.
Another interesting aspect being discussed these days is that if we allow the usage of pure AI-based decision making it would have forced our children to strive even harder and forcefully acquire more and more knowledge since the belief is that we use only a small fraction of our brains. This would have made AI define our curriculum as more stringent and copious. However, the ethical decision-making of our experts ensures that humans should not be treated as robots and there should be a work-life balance for our young students
It is our core as a human being with empathy and an ethical approach which will make us use AI only for analytical and task-based usage rather than allowing it to move to the decision-making process in the larger scheme of things.
How do you see the partnership between teachers and parents evolving in the context of supporting students’ digital literacy, especially when parents may have varying degrees of familiarity with technology? What all steps individually parents need to take, as well as what joint steps need to be taken?
The generation gap between parents and children has perpetually posed itself as a challenge in various aspects of life, especially when it comes to coping with their child’s ever-evolving tech needs. The parents may or may not have the necessary understanding which could lead to a conflict with what their children need to adopt and adapt. I have seen conflicting opinions when interacting with the parents of students in a school where we were implementing AI based proctoring system for their most important practice tests for their Borad exams. The school management and teachers were more than willing to work harder and provide practice tests online since it was not possible to hold physical exams in school due to lack of time. We had introduced a concept of micro- testing to help the child a quick revision post every topic. However, some of the parents were quite adamant and resisted the possibility of increased screen time due to this. What they completely failed to grasp that the screen time would be marginally impacted as compared to what they already have. Infact, it might shift them from random surfing to some gainful use to screen time.
Teachers play a pivotal role in navigating this conflict, since a teacher belongs to a similar generation as the parents but is possibly more aware of a child‘s learning and knowledge needs especially in progressing digital literacy. And the case in point mentioned above there was an overwhelming support from teachers for the betterment of their students.
This encourages the necessity of having a real partnership between parents and teachers since both are crucial to be in tandem with the development of the child. A few steps which can be taken include, creating Parent-Teacher groups to interact frequently and discuss the progress and changes in education. Another factor could also be that teachers may organize training sessions for parents so that they can also understand the new technology and can then have meaningful discussions with their wards. An open dialogue between parents and children can lead to significant understanding being built. Teachers can have dialogues with children to help them in their decision-making process.
As technology blurs the lines between personal and academic life, how can educators and parents jointly promote a healthy integration of digital tools while safeguarding the mental well-being of students?
Due to technology being all pervasive and information and entertainment being there as a constant companion there is hardly a moment in the day when you get to sit back and think. One is constantly being bombarded with information and entertainment and this leads to lesser and lesser brain-work for the child. However, my take is that if the new tools empowers a child’s brain to work more creatively while technology takes over mundane repetitive tasks then technology will not be a threat but an enabler to well-being of students.
What can be done in this scenario is to create content and information in a manner which helps and encourages thinking by the students. KBC, the popular television series, is very innovative in that sense. It provides a lot of information, it is highly entertaining and encourages everyone to think.
The 3C technique: Digital tools can be used by both educators and parents to come up with methodology wherein it is not just Consumption but also Connection with information, Comprehension of information and helps challenge the thinking power of students! Apart from that AI is also being looked upon as taking away human effort in doing any
task, however if we look back such was the fear even when computers had been introduced but what we have seen is that with advent of new tools the brain power of a human touches newer heights. Hence it can be seen that if a Child’s brain is constantly challenged and encourages it to work more due to the new tools available it will lead to better mental growth.
About Abhijit Saxena: As the Founder of Shinkan, Abhijit aspires to usher in a new era of AI & ML, seeking the Overall Betterment of India’s Education System. He is a dedicated professional in E-Learning, passionate about leveraging technology to revolutionize education. With extensive experience, he shapes businesses, focusing on innovative approaches to assessments and proctoring, and advocates for inclusive, high-quality education, aiming to bridge the digital divide for learners of all ages and backgrounds.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above interview are the personal opinions of the protagonist/protagonists for which The Think Pot is not liable in any manner. To share your views on an apolitical and intense subject like this you can reach out to us at email@example.com