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Researchers Assessing AI’s Ability to Measure Student Engagement

Artificial intelligence flows into all economic sectors, and education is no exception. In fact, it is expected that artificial intelligence will grow 47.5 percent in the U.S. education market between 2017 and 2021. It is not expected that artificial intelligence will replace teachers, but it could change the way they do their jobs. It could help differentiate and individualize lessons that enable students to progress at their own pace, and it can make lessons for each student more interactive and fun. AI also enables students to get as much tutoring as they need and extends the limits of the available resources and learning opportunities in the classroom.

Researchers at the University of Montreal are partnering with Classcraft, an ed tech firm, to explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to measure student engagement and investigate potential changes in classroom management. The research will be carried out with data collected on the technology of Classcraft, which attempts to use engagement management tools to improve the school climate, academic scores and social-emotional learning, and reports from Education Week.

This study reflects a movement to deploy AI to schools to improve social cultures, but critics claim that the technology could deliver the wrong information, as well as leave the personal data of students exposed to potential breaches, notes from Education Week.

The Classcraft engagement management system— which the organization says is in place across 160 countries in 75,000 classrooms— allows educators to give points for positive, supportive behaviours including empathy. However, the software does not currently predict how the issues will improve the climate, nor does it provide teachers with ideas for change.

Artificial intelligence can be beneficial for teachers in helping teachers take over the mundane or time-consuming parts of teaching and free up more time to spend with students and plan their lessons. Moreover, the data collected can help schools identify excelling students and those struggling and provide the personalized support they need to succeed. Theoretically, the cracks will cause fewer students to fall. Artificial intelligence is not going to substitute teachers, but it can give them more time and resources to do their jobs and help those they serve.

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