This article justifies the urgent need to change the curriculum in the Philippines given the rapid pace of development in artificial intelligence and robotics in education. Read on to appreciate what robots can do in education and why there is a need to change the curriculum.
In 2017, my student in the Diploma in Teaching Course in Thailand gave me the idea how fast the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the world, particularly in the field of education. “Robots are coming our way! They are already here and might replace us – teachers in a very short period of time,” he said.
In Thailand, the use of artificial intelligence and robotics in education has been intensified as it pushes forward to digital economy era or the so-called, “The Age of Automation.” Yes, almost everything can be done with the use of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI)!
With the rapid expansion of technology and digital applications, we have now the robotic nurses and surgeons. We also have automated vehicles or driverless cars. There is also a translation app and a device that will automatically translate your utterances and be able to converse with foreigners in real time.
If we have robotic nurses, surgeons and translators, can we also have robotic teachers? What can AI and robotics do in the field of education?
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Education
With softwares and apps available in the market, you can easily assess the performance of students. The use of Moodle, Edmodo, Google Classroom, and Schoology, among others can help you a lot in assessing students’ performance. Paper and pencil tests can easily be constructed in the Learning Management System. All you have to do is encode the questions, set the correct answer, and upload it. On the other hand, your students receive the test and answer it. Then, their scores will be displayed on their screens and on your screen as the subject teacher.
For written responses like essays, you can easily check and mark their papers even if you have a lot of students. You can also give immediate feedback whether their papers are plagiarized or have errors in grammar, spelling and mechanics.
There are also grammar and vocabulary games that would help determine your students’ level of proficiency. Proficiency tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, and TOEIC are in digital form. You can do a test preparation online or even take the actual test online in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
2. Personalization and Differentiation
In many Asian countries, large classes are evident. With 40 – 60 students, it is hard to treat students one by one and give them immediate feedback.
Nowadays, there are robots that can read the facial expressions of students whether they find the lessons difficult or not. Robots can also distinguish which students must be given extra lessons or a simplified explanation of the lesson.
You can also check class attendance through QR codes. If a student does not belong to your class, the app can give you information about the student’s classroom, subject and teacher. A notification is also sent to the parents if their children are present or not. All students’ records are in the dashboard so that the advisers can easily monitor their students’ over-all performance.
Likewise, parents can also keep track the progress of their children. There is a learning management system than can let parents monitor the performance of their children.
Thus, academic performance can easily be traced, monitored and evaluated by the teachers, students, and parents as well. Students are treated individually and able to excel in their academic pursuits.
3. Teaching and Learning
Robots are being developed as teaching assistants or real teachers. They can now deliver lectures like humans do! They can also give a lot of information and answer questions from the students.
In some cases, robots are used as instructional materials. For example, robotics are used in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) classes to explain the concepts and processes involved.
In a university that offers Technopreneurship Curriculum, both teachers and students can make their own robots, apps, or devices and sell them to interested individuals or companies. This kind of curriculum is getting popular in Korea and India, and hopefully in the Philippines.
Why Change the Curriculum
Anticipating automation and artificial intelligence in education, the curriculum must be changed. There is a need to train and retrain people to use new technologies that would require for new skills and competencies.
For example, schools around the world are now integrating the 21st Century skills such as communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration (4Cs) in their curricular programs. In this way, education is able to make people “humans.”
According to Jack Ma, “We can’t compete with robots in terms of knowledge. Teach people with soft skills such as teamwork, independent thinking, believing, and caring for others. These are the important skills that can distinguish us from robots”.
The kind of curriculum in the Philippines must change from content-driven into technology-driven curriculum coupled with skills and experiences. This means that teachers must use technology (robots and AI) to facilitate the lesson; teach soft skills to students, and provide the students with the experiences in which they can create and innovate ideas through problem solving, research and development.
Now, let’s go back to the question raised by my student. Can robots replace us? Perhaps, they can take our jobs in the future. But are we going to allow this?
If our answer is “No”, then we should use robots only as our tools to make things faster and easier for us. We need to equip ourselves with skills necessary to have a meaningful life – a kind of life that is stress-free and where we have more time to spend with our families and friends.
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