Technology has developed by leaps and bounds and has penetrated into our daily lives in so many ways. It almost seems as if one cannot live without technology because our dependence on it has increased by many folds. Artificial intelligence remains to be a hot topic for the past few years because progress and development in this field is continuous and in fact exponential. The kind of inventions and developments being made today was thought to be impossible by man decades or centuries ago. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be utilized in many ways and it can create a negative or positive impact based on the way it’s handled. We are well aware of the ways in which AI has been misused (history has taught us) and the ways in which it has led to destruction. However, on the other side of the coin, AI also helped in tremendous ways and, specifically, artificial intelligence in education is one area that has benefitted massively.
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No matter how a child is, he or she has every right to education. No one is any less than another, and every individual deserves an opportunity to study. Despite this universal principal, children with learning disabilities (dyslexia, language processing disorder, auditory processing disorder, etc.) are shunned, discriminated, and often underestimated. As a member of humanity, we cannot be mere witnesses of children being deprived of access to quality education and being treated unfairly by society. We need to be active participants and try our best to solve issues that lie in front of our eyes. As such, there are a few parameters that AI has to stick to in order to benefit the field of education.
The majority of parents who have children with learning disabilities are concerned about their children’s future, fear their children being bullied and being unable to cope with their peers. This fear does not stop with education but goes beyond and extends into career prospects and job opportunities as well. Parents anticipate that their child would have to face rejections one after another at the workplace. These concerns and fear are birthed from the inequity and prejudice that the society harbors. Though AI has not come up with concrete solutions, progress is taking place and hopefully, a decade or so from now, we will be able to see all kinds of children (with and without learning disabilities) sitting together in a classroom and learning together harmoniously. However, for this to happen, scientists and social advocates have to stick to a few principles and have to bring this smoothly into the education system. Elitism has become a huge problem and everyone has become used to running after marks and grades. The blind chase after grades and ranking has caused people to have such a parochial view on the purpose of education and in order for a change to take place, someone has to break this cycle.
Technology is not cheap and it hence its certainly going to incur some cost which may be off one’s budget. If AI can benefit children with learning disabilities, that is half the battle won. But the other half of it is whether everyone can afford it and make use of it. An important social responsibility that product manufacturers have (especially in the arena of education), is that it should be economical and friendly for use by everyone. It is essential for some sort of system to be put in place (perhaps a financial aid scheme) to establish equity and ensure everyone can benefit from AI despite socio-economic background. Once resources are easily available, tapping into them will be easy and tutors will do the necessary to help their students excel.
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Artificial intelligence is constantly pushing the envelope and opening new doors of opportunities for students and while all this sounds too good to be true, it is important to keep in mind that we should become complacent at any point in time; anything could happen if the wrong choice is made. Perhaps, with artificial intelligence in education, we can produce an equitable system and this will help break prejudices and stop others from looking down on children who have learning disabilities. All this requires time and effort and most importantly, each and every one of us have to be the change we want to see in the world (as per the words of Mahatma Gandhi) without waiting for others to find solutions.