The Impact of AI on Student Engagement in Education

The Impact of AI on Student Engagement in Education

In the realm of education, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been met with both excitement and skepticism. Khanmigo, one of the AI-driven tools developed by Khan Academy, takes a unique approach by not providing direct answers to student queries. Instead, it prompts students to think critically by asking them questions and guiding them towards finding solutions on their own. This method encourages independent problem-solving and enhances students’ cognitive skills.

Khanmigo has been piloted by over 100,000 students and teachers across the country, providing valuable data for analysis. The tool aims to assist students when they encounter challenges or cognitive roadblocks while working independently on specific skills or concepts. By offering hints and encouragement, Khanmigo aims to help students overcome obstacles and gain a deeper understanding of the material. However, the full extent of Khanmigo’s impact on student engagement is still being evaluated, with Khan Academy planning to release data on student-bot interactions and engaging third-party researchers to assess its effectiveness.

Saga Education, a nonprofit organization, is also exploring the use of AI feedback to enhance tutoring sessions. By incorporating AI models that recognize and prompt tutors to encourage students to explain their reasoning and engage in deeper discussions, Saga Education aims to improve student engagement and motivation. The analysis of tutoring sessions revealed that tutors who received AI feedback were more proactive in employing these prompts, leading to increased student engagement. However, Saga Education is proceeding cautiously with the implementation of AI feedback, emphasizing the value of human coaches in the education process.

Experts predict that AI will play an increasingly significant role in education, as seen in the development of emotionally intelligent AI by OpenAI and Hume AI. These AI models can analyze tone of voice and facial expressions to infer users’ moods and respond with empathy. While emotionally intelligent AI may enhance the user experience, it may fall short in fostering genuine student engagement. According to Michael Littman, a computer science professor at Brown University, students inherently understand that AI lacks real concern for their well-being and academic success. This fundamental barrier may prevent students from forming meaningful connections with AI tutors.

While AI shows promise in providing feedback on student essays and assisting with learning tasks, concerns remain about students’ reliance on AI as the primary audience for their work. A study published in the journal Learning and Instruction highlighted the AI’s capability to offer valuable feedback on student writing. However, the study also raised questions about students’ motivation to put effort into their work when their primary audience is an AI system. As AI continues to evolve and become more integrated into educational settings, striking a balance between leveraging its capabilities and preserving human interaction and engagement will be crucial for fostering a conducive learning environment.

AI has the potential to revolutionize the education sector by providing personalized support, feedback, and guidance to students. However, maintaining a human touch in the educational experience is essential for cultivating meaningful student-teacher relationships and fostering genuine engagement. As educators and researchers continue to explore the possibilities of AI in education, finding the right balance between technological innovation and human interaction will be key to maximizing its benefits for student learning and development.

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