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What Challenges Face AI Adoption In Education? 18 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 29 September 2019
  • Sam Mire

Trends indicate that AI is becoming increasingly a part of the education space, but continued adoption is not a given. First, the industry must face down the immediate hurdles to adoption, whether it's cost, time, or something unforeseen.

These industry professionals shared their views on the greatest challenge to AI adoption in education. Here's what they said:

1. Dan Ayoub, General Manager for Microsoft Education

“For most educational institutions today, the first hurdle is simple digital transformation of the organization. Once institutions are leveraging the cloud and seeing the potential of smart data management, AI is a natural progression.”

 

 


2. Tom Livne, CEO and co-founder of Verbit

The main challenge lies in planning and strategizing the school’s budget. Understanding which AI-based learning tools are available and how they can benefit the students is an essential part of overcoming this challenge. Often times, it begins with the philosophical approach of the institution. If the institution takes a non-UDL(Universal Design for Learning) or a reactionary approach and only captions content when a student with a disability requests it, for example, the budget becomes very difficult to forecast.  The money spent with this approach typically only benefits the one student that requested the accommodation, making it very expensive and driving a low ROI. 

Alternatively, when institutions are proactive and have built into their policy that all videos must be captioned, it becomes much easier to budget. Content development and creation come with a great expense, including professionals’ time and expertise, props and demonstration aids, and technology to create and present the content. Missing important components, such as captioning, could lead to less efficient student engagement, and therefore, to a smaller ROI.”


 3. Sergey Karayev, Head of AI for STEM at Turnitin

“In student-facing solutions: The biggest problem is that the AI has to be working well enough to be clearly useful. When it’s complicated, it bogs down. Most adoptions for student-facing solutions are very simple like Grammarly.

For instructor-facing solutions: Teachers are skeptical that AI tech is robust enough to actually be helpful. In other words, AI needs to be a big help or faculty and instructors won’t go out on a limb to try it, but it also has to be low risk. This is why we think our product is so successful; Gradescope gives instructors full control and oversight of the grading process, so there is little risk. They can to easily review the grading results that are generated through the AI assistance, meaning they don’t hand over control = little risk. On the other hand, the reward is great. Instructors can cut their grading in time in half on a task that they do time and time again.”


4. Andreas Oranje, General Manager at Educational Testing Service

“Fairness and equity in AI and it's integration in education have been the biggest challenge faced this year. Collecting enough data to create defensible edtech products we expect teachers and administrators to adopt, and how these products integrate with existing systems and methods has also proven challenging not only for fairness but also implementation and efficacy.”


5. Joe Caprio, VP of Sales at Chorus.ai

There is a lot of hesitancy with adopting AI to use in the classroom. Many are still unsure what artificial intelligence is as well as the power it has. 

For example, UT Dallas is one of the first university programs to use Chorus.ai in the classroom. Dr. Dover plans to continue to look at AI to see if there are any other platforms can help his students prepare for their career after finishing their education.”


6. Bill Salak, CTO at Brainly

“I see many challenges in the short, medium, and long-term. The #1 challenge that I see falls into the medium-term category. This is the redefinition of the role of a teacher, and subsequently the re-training of this workforce.

In the short-term, the use of AI in education will largely be focused on improvements within our existing education systems and the roles of teachers and education workers within these systems. The products will largely be supplementary to the traditional classroom or aimed at improving efficiencies within these environments.

The medium-term will bring the most disruption as the traditional role and functions of a classroom teacher will not be enough to achieve the best outcomes. Expertise and familiarity with tools and systems unknown to the previous generation of teachers will become the norm. In many ways, this will look like the transformation that has happened in business leadership where experience and instincts were augmented with sophisticated data-driven approaches to decision making and the understanding and adoption of these new tools blended with experience and instinct created the most powerful results.”


7. Viola Lam, founder and CEO of Find Solution Ai

Although the personalized learning approach is becoming popular, the acceptance rate towards new technologies is relatively low among Hong Kong schools. Knowledge in AI for the education sector is inadequate while the development of AI products is in an early stage. As local schools are conservative in general, more introductions with demonstrations on AI 

products or services are needed to enhance their confidence and knowledge of new technologies. 

Therefore, we anticipate gaining trust from schools by doing school tours regularly, attend exhibitions internationally and locally to enhance the exposure as well as letting the fields to understand the advantages of integrating AI into education.”


8. Martin Basiri, Co-Founder and CEO of ApplyBoard

While there isn’t much of a challenge for students, as it ultimately enhances their learning experience, the challenge lies with parents and schools. To adopt a new way of thinking and learning, accepting the alternating role of the human element from something as personal as education, seems to be the biggest challenge.”

 


9. Paul Mumma, CEO of Cerego

“Educators, trainers, and students are generally reluctant to integrate AI into their curriculum when the technology is difficult to use or implement. The AI-based technology needs to be something they can naturally add into their day to day. The user interface must be simple and straightforward for both the student and the teacher. When educators feel intimidated by a technology or feel it will complicate their teaching strategies, they are unlikely to integrate it into their classroom. To be successful, technology creators need to understand the teacher's point of view and create a product that caters to their needs and workflows.”


10. Jiajia Zhang, Product Manager at Gooroo

“Training educators and teachers to design comprehensive curriculums that can adapt based on student’s learning needs.

There’s also this challenge in training teachers to become familiar with technology and integrate it into their class. The students of this generation learn very differently from their teachers. They are extremely comfortable with technology and the digital environment, and it's not surprising to see students better at technology than their teachers.”


11. Jennifer Jones, Ph.D., CEO of Green Ivy Schools

“There really is no challenge. Big AI companies will make sure it is adopted. They are expert at seducing teachers, who then take that starry-eyed fascination back to their school and district leaders, who then hand over contracts. It is a formula tech companies have perfected for the last 20 years.  AI developers that see opportunity in education will identify the budget and student performance weaknesses in schools and present themselves as easy solutions. And AI will become a fixture.”


12. Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley

“I believe the greatest challenge to A.I. adoption in education today is a lack of access to data and the complexity required in building systems that consider a wide variety of data points. To successfully implement A.I. in education, designers will need to look at the student’s vision for themselves and weigh this against their deficiencies. This requires a 360 degree look at the individual’s personality. Only then can you factor in other various curriculum learnings and ideas to set the student on an optimal path for their future.”


13. Franz Chen, CEO of Ponddy Education

“There are two factors that slow the adoption of AI in education. The first is the fear in implementing systemic changes. The learning curve in adopting a new methodology or technology takes time to understand and integrate and the process can be intimidating.  There isn’t much difference between a classroom a hundred years ago and today. There is still a teacher, students, desks, a chalk/white board, and textbooks. The second factor is resources. Technology implementation requires IT support/expertise, professional development, the proper equipment and bandwidth all of which are costly budget items.”


14. Chris Nicholson, CEO of Skymind

“Schools can be slow to adopt new technology, both because budgets are constrained, and new technologies require that people be trained to use them, which is a slow process.”

 


15. Mike Dierken, CTO at Varsity Tutors

“There are two top challenges – accessibility and unintentional bias. People no longer leave school and stop learning. With online resources, there are now AI-powered educational tools beyond traditional schools and institutions, but these are not always available or accessible to all. Cost and convenience are being addressed but there is more work to be done. Another challenge is bias within data skewing results and recommendations. This is a hot topic but requires real commitment to address.”


16. Dee Kanejiya, founder and CEO of Cognii

“Regulatory frameworks can sometimes pause a challenge when a new technology is being introduced. State governments can play a bridging role between AI innovators and educators to increase opportunities for professional development.”

 

 


17. Tom D'Amico, Associate Director of Education for the Ottawa Catholic School Board

“I would suggest that funding challenges are preventing the spread of AI in the K-12 education field at this time. An additional challenge is the lack of expertise around security related to new technologies in K-12 such as AI and this leaves school boards vulnerable.”

 


18. Alain Goudey, Chief Digital Officer at Neoma Business School

The #1 challenge of AI adoption in education is the creation of value for the students’ experience. We are still at the beginning of the story and we need to assess the real contribution of AI technologies to the learning process or to the way students experience the school. Then, when the value has been proven, the challenge is definitely to transform the habits of faculty members and the global education community. 

Teaching with AI is very different than the traditional approach as you must gather a students data throughout the whole journey: this data concerns the students’ habits, the assessments, their way of learning, etc, and therefore it requires a high level of digitalization within the school.”

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About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.

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