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How can AI, robotics and blockchain technology transform digital education: OECD's Digital Education Report 2021

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Artificial intelligence(AI) and robotics and blockchain technology when used in a coordinated and combined manner, can potentially revolutionise the education system. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) report of 2021 brought to the fore the growing importance of robotics, AI and blockchain technology in the education field ranging from schools to universities.

The report highlighted the need for advancement or digital education in recent times citing the following conditions of the present scenario:

With the Covid-19 pandemic, many schools transitioned to digital learning to continue the education of the childrenHowever, screen fatigue and stress in adapting to digital devices for a prolonged time created problems in gearing up the learning processTechnological preparedness and the use of innovative technology can better prepare schools around the world to carry out effective digital education
The three advanced technologies of the times AI, blockchain and robotics are already being used in some countries. A look at each of them :


AI and its growing relevance in education:

AI can improve digital learning experiences by making them more interactive, and adaptive in the following ways:It can help teachers gauge the varying attentiveness and focus of different students and the areas where they get bored and the areas where they pace upAI can enable amateur teachers to perceive and get an idea of the classroom in a better way like when to slow down, speed up, and ask questions to stimulate a passive classThe learning analytics can help in creating hands-on assessments and exams through simulations, in vocational settingsAI technology can help in reintegrating learning and assessment, using real-time data and feedback to help students
The role of Robotics in digital education:

The effective usage of robotics will require reinventing the role of teachers to a good extent. Robotics in combination with AI can help in improving the teaching quality of human teachers in the following ways:Social robots are constantly fed a stream of data and have a huge potential to disrupt teaching and learning. For instance, while one studies Psychology on a computer, the computer can in turn gauge the way Psychology is being studied by the pupil and make the learning experience a lot more granularRobots can easily perform some routine actions of the teacher. For instance, it can take 2 students to a corner of the classroom and have a 10-minute French conversation while the rest of the class works on action verbs with the human teacher
The growing importance of blockchain:

Blockchain has been claimed to be the most mature technology through applications among the three technologies covered in the reportThe blockchain can unburden the education system of the task of maintaining decades of data of certificates and degreesBlockchain-verified qualifications can make the entire process of providing certificates, and maintaining humongous amounts of data and records extremely fluid, easy and manageable
The OECD report concluded by underscoring the following points about implementing these technologies :
The relationship between the usage of technology and learning outcomes varies greatly across nations
The teachers need to invest themselves in learning about using AI and robotics, and in optimising them with a humane approach to impart the best possible education to the students
The technology yields the best results when humans are involved in using and benefiting from it and not when they are left to their devices.

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