The potential of disruptive learning technologies –


AI and education: AI Smart Mentor in the field of education – Towards a paradigmatic revolution

contributed by John Arnaudfounder, teacher

If the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled a digital evolution in the field of education, which until then had struggled to reform, the advent of new technologies, such as AI, has enabled a company like OpenAI , with its ChatGPT bot, to achieve mass adoption within months.

And that’s not all, OpenAI receives a billion visitors each month and claims 100 million active users. Education is not immune to the digital revolution. AI is poised to transform not only the process of teaching and imparting knowledge, but also the way schools operate.

The dream is to individualize education, a vision that even the French Renaissance philosopher Montaigne emphasized in his Trials (I, 26) by emphasizing the ineffectiveness of mass pedagogy: “As for teachers who (…) undertake, with the same pedagogical method (…) to orient many minds of various sizes and shapes, it is not It’s no wonder that, among a whole bunch of children, they hardly find two or three who really benefit from their teaching.

See also 10 roles for artificial intelligence in education

An intelligent mentor allows us to adopt a more humanistic approach to education by serving as an ally who can strengthen the power of the mind by encouraging introspection, a guide that promotes active learning on the part of the student. and a benevolent advisor capable of finding personalized strategies to solve specific user problems. At a time when governments around the world show their impotence and inability to adequately address the individualization of learning pathways, with a particularly pronounced inability to address the problem of overcrowded classrooms – an average of 25 students per classroom in secondary, the intelligent mentor seems to impose itself naturally as the only answer to real progress of an institution of minds, because each individual must progress at his own pace and overcome his own difficulties according to the very constitution and the particularity of his mind.

The potential of disruptive learning technologies

Imagine having an advisor capable of organizing your daily, weekly and monthly tasks and optimizing your time while taking into account your personal constraints, your workload, your habits and your desires. Each student may be able to approach extracurricular activities with more serenity. The smart mentor can also help the student discover new educational remediation strategies based on many early assessments to solve constant or occasional problems. A student will finally be able to know precisely where he is and what he needs to do to improve.

The data collected by the AI ​​would also be useful for teachers, as they could adapt their teaching and opt for a more targeted and effective differentiated pedagogy. These data can also be useful to the student, to facilitate his understanding through a questioning system inspired by Socratic dialectics, aimed at bringing out the ideas he carries within him, often called maieutics, or at constructing a more hard-hitting from a rhetorical point of view.

See also How disruption in education can create lasting change

The use of AI is no longer meant to be replaced, as is often the case with AI chatbots, not so much because of the tool itself, which can be used for educational, but because it allows the intellect to accept passivity, which comfortably threatens its growth and sovereignty. – but rather to ally with forces that can be used for our upliftment. That’s what cosmologists and astrophysicists do when they use high-powered calculators to figure out what their minds couldn’t even conceive of without the aid of these machines.

“…it is necessary to recognize that humans are always behind in interpretations, many of which have only been possible because an instrument has sharpened their vision. »

It is true that behind the machine itself, there is still a human being who remains dependent on his own incapacities, his prejudices and deeply rooted mythologies, from which reasoning cannot entirely free itself; it is one of the dangers of AI, but it is not linked to all forms of reflection. Nevertheless, it must be recognized that humans still lag behind in interpretations, many of which have only been possible because an instrument has sharpened their vision. The history of scientific progress is accompanied by a history of the techniques that made it possible.

The future of education does not stop at this form of individualization allowed by the disembodied intelligent mentor supposed to reinforce the capacities of the mind, but at the activity of the mind implemented through pedagogies by projects advocated for a long time by Montessori schools but also by innovative institutions. such as OMIA, EJM or ISB. However, the future of education is also progressing alongside the extension of the digital space, which is at once immersive, interactive and collaborative. When an AI such as the intelligent mentor is integrated into immersive universes, such as metaverses in virtual or mixed reality, the educational result is impressive: the course takes place live, led by the professor giving the course in a dedicated space such as the Ancient Rome.

Students can then take notes and deepen their understanding by interacting with different monuments or discussing with illustrious figures such as Caesar or Cicero. They can also collaborate in the reconstruction of ancient buildings located in the Roman Forum, use their coding skills in a fully digitized world and participate in role-playing games through which they can not only test their knowledge, but also reason about many strategies. politicians, thus sharpening their capacities. critical judgment and faculties of analysis and reflection.

“The future of education does not stop at this form of individualization permitted by the disembodied intelligent mentor and supposed to reinforce the capacities of the mind, but at the activity of the mind implemented through project-based pedagogies…”

Assessing what they have learned from the course can also be achieved through quizzes, the results of which can also identify exactly what needs to be reviewed and reworked to effectively achieve each student’s goals. All this thanks to the personalized advice of the intelligent mentor or the personal education assistant, which now takes the form of an avatar. This is precisely the vision that the efforts undertaken by the American start-up Nova are trying to achieve.

As we can understand, the future of education goes through the adoption of new technologies such as AI, as well as immersive technologies, initiated in recent years, which have enabled significant paradigm shifts, such as the individualization of education and active learning, with an emphasis on student activities through the implementation of projects and experiments aimed at developing analytical, critical judgment and creativity in a spirit of collaboration and with a transdisciplinary approach going beyond the arbitrary borders of the different disciplinary fields which constitute the common base of knowledge and skills.

Students can now be accompanied by their teacher, who can effectively adapt their teaching now that they have precise data on each student, and by the intelligent mentor in a dialectical approach favoring questioning on certainties, in a process of individualization. where each Each person can shape his thoughts and faculties at his own pace, gradually becoming master of his own existence. Is there anything more humanistic than redefining an education that can lead each individual to become what he really is, leading each to self-awareness and the development of his own strengths, guiding each entity to become, in the words of the poet William Ernest. Henley, the “captain of their soul, the master of their destiny”, sovereign and free to enlighten all of humanity?

New technologies are also facilitating the shift from a passive upbringing, which generally molds conformist and institutionally docile individuals, to the establishment of analytical and critical minds with creative imaginations, minds capable of understanding the complex workings of the world. , to shape themselves, realize their full potential and shape future worlds.

This transformation occurs through a personalized, digitally integrated and collaborative educational journey that responds to their unique needs and contemporary issues. In this course, experimentation is fundamental, allowing each student to rediscover the pleasure of learning through creation, the joy of acquiring knowledge and the thrill of going beyond what they thought they could accomplish on their own.

Jean Arnaud, professor of literature, philosophy and commerce; Founder of the Start-Up Ed-Tech Nova; and speaker at SXSW EDU.


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