What happens when education uses Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is making inroads into all kinds of fields, even the world of education. This sector, which has so far only been seen through a cognitive lens, is today in the process of pivoting toward a new educational approach. Artificial Intelligence is more than just another trend: it has become the definitive model for delivering individually customized, personal education.

Meanwhile, according to an MGEN survey published in December 2018, 71% of people in France hold the view that the use of digital tools in a school setting helps to improve the learning experience.

Educational initiatives: the proof is in the pudding

E-learning

This concept continues to win over new fans though the way that it targets the entire population and not just students. There are many different reasons for seeking education, and the freedom to learn and the ability to keep up with that learning through different communities are just two substantial benefits.

While MOOC (online training courses) have been around for a long time, and are now an established part of the landscape, other new concepts exist and have already been tested and approved by thousands of institutions all over the world. OpenClassrooms serves as a model for the entire Ed-tech industry, as an online school that offers courses to allow learners to obtain certifications via a platform to facilitate dialog between students and their teachers.

However, cybersecurity education is another vital factor. Issy-les-Moulineaux is one of the communities that took steps in this area in late 2018, reconfiguring its computers to use the Qwant search engine due to the greater care it applies in processing personal data.

Online platforms

These are used in order to host information centrally and to encourage the formation of networks to link the various stakeholders. These virtual intermediaries also support the digitalization of paper media, which helps to conserve and distribute knowledge.

This is the case in Brittany, where faculties and students experimented with a personal, private cloud that is easier to use to view their classes and exercises. This database is the ideal way to provide access to information and to resolve issues related to carrying heavy book bags.

Sondo is an even more innovative solution. This is an online platform that offers educational materials that are adapted to work studied in high schools, with a specific focus on making them more accessible. It involves “a solution to compensate for issues with written language, such as dyslexia,” explains Sophie Hamon, Schools Relations Manager at Mobidys. The tool offers a range of facilities to support reading and comprehension, including a reading assistance bar, color coding for certain letters, and an option to read text out loud) for a range of literary books.

Another innovation in terms of accessibility: the Rhône-Alpes region, which is deploying 57 Awabot robots to help children with illnesses or disabilities to take part in classes remotely.

The teaching profession in a technological context

Students are not the only learners. Teachers also need to keep up with their subject, with many teachers being won over by the latest innovations, and voluntary communities are being formed around a common purpose.

Eduvoices brings together teachers who engage in a dialog around educational practices to find innovative solutions. The “Lab de l’éducation” also organizes hackathons with teachers, developers and designers to address specific problems. EdTech Drinks is a more informal community that also organizes monthly networking sessions in the presence of inspirational guests including entrepreneurs, psychologists, researchers and teachers.

Finally, France Apprenante brings together stakeholders in the fields of education, learning and apprenticeships, innovation, digital, and training around the common purpose of transforming local governments and enterprises, by making new ways of learning accessible to everyone. These entities all play a key role in bringing together the various players in the French Ed-tech scene.

 France: top of the class

With 300 startups, France’s educational technology sector is the second most dynamic in Europe, just behind the United Kingdom. It’s also the eighth largest worldwide (Source: Navitas Ventures, July 2018 – an Australian fund).

Indeed, the strength of the sector in France derives from the obligations of local governments to finance the digital systems and tools for the education sector.

Caisse des Dépôts, a publicly owned financial institution, triggered this technological revolution with the launch of a call for tenders to seek guidance. It has recently signed a partnership with the National Ministry of Education to support local government institutions as they modernize their facilities through loans and engineering activities.

For all stakeholders, the most important issue is providing future teachers with the training in the fundamentals of artificial intelligence for education that they need to prepare for the schools of tomorrow.

For many people, these technologies represent huge potential (in the form of resource platforms, AI, robotics, and smart devices) to modernize and customize the learning experience, to complement existing teaching practices via flipped classrooms, to restore the links between schools and families, and even to overcome anxiety during classroom orientation.

We are now entering a new era, with information becoming increasingly accessible, while learning will increasingly become an activity that is undertaken independently.

 

To read: “Smart city”: how intelligent are French towns?