To what extent will artificial intelligence influence our way of learning or teaching? What role will virtual or augmented reality play in schools? And, above all, what global skills will be needed to survive in a clearly digital future? These are some of the questions that the Western education system and the whole world is facing right now.
We are at a key point in history, a time and context of change, advancement and adoption of new ways of developing tasks or of performing in areas, which break with everything established to date. One of the most disruptive changes, because this is such an important sector of society, and because it is a system that has made practically no progress in the last 200 years, is that of education and training.
The teachers of 2020 and beyond will be required to know how to deal with the use in the classroom not only of artificial intelligence (AI), but also of Virtual or Augmented Reality and how to incorporate mobile devices or video into our educational practices; in global skills, we will discuss skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity or emotional self-regulation; in assessment, how to give effective feedback and how to improve our assessment techniques; and finally, in sessions dedicated to vocabulary, how to ensure that the vocabulary learned (including phrasal verbs) is not easily forgotten.
Artificial Intelligence, present and future of education
One of the aspects of artificial intelligence with the greatest potential is its possibility of personalisation: if the materials can be graduated so that each student faces challenges according to his or her level, this will lead to greater involvement of the students and make them learn more efficiently. Until now, the education system has pointed out as worse the children who had difficulties with learning and obtained bad results. The IA seeks to adapt the learning model to the particular needs of each student, which is far from being worse because of poor grades, but rather the fact that the study and learning system has not been adapted to their needs. This will soon be a thing of the past.
Through analysis of a learner’s performance, the AI can automatically adjust the level of activities to be completed and identify areas of difficulty, allowing the teacher to discover what he or she needs to work on with each learner.
Augmented reality, virtual reality
The educational applications of VR devices are having a great impact that will depend on the way teachers incorporate it into their lessons or assignments. What is clear is that by creating an eminently immersive environment, great potential is obtained to make the learning process much more attractive to students.
What is truly amazing about augmented reality is that it connects something real and physical with something digital and virtual; a connection that has unlimited potential for education, for which we only need a mobile phone in our hands. As far as virtual reality is concerned, there are aspects to be taken into account such as cost and time: the more realistic and complex it is, the higher the cost, and it should be borne in mind that it will only be used for part of a lesson. However, if you have access to VR equipment and existing VR learning environments, their use is strongly recommended. In this sense, companies and platforms such as SimlabIT offer any teacher, educational centre, institution, etc. the opportunity to have all the lessons they want in VR, in the simplest and quickest way.
The most relevant global skills
The adoption of new mechanisms, methodologies and ways of conceiving certain aspects of people’s daily lives, such as the theme of education, requires that they be adopted gradually in order to participate fully in the life of the twenty-first century. It is not possible to prioritize one over the other, because they form an essential package for efficient functioning in educational, working and social environments.
For example: someone with well-developed digital skills will need to make use of creativity and critical thinking in the production and consumption of digital content; but also communication and collaborative skills to interact with people beyond their immediate geographical environment, which in turn will require intercultural and citizenship skills.