June 09, 2023 13:13
Korea is pushing to use artificial intelligence in teaching students amid a growing failure of the public education system to meet the needs of its charges.
The plans include using AI to answer students' questions and electronic textbook apps, according to the Education Ministry on Thursday.
AI programs will also be used to analyze students' strengths and weaknesses and come up with tailored teaching strategies.
That will in theory free teachers up to look after the mental welfare of students and invite them to debate and discuss issues rather than drilling hard facts into them from the blackboard.
The ministry plans to incorporate AI first into math, English and IT lessons and come up with electronic texts starting in 2025. Three years later it hopes to expand AI-assisted teaching to Korean, social studies and science.
Korea will be the first country in the world to incorporate AI into public school education amid a growing awareness that schools can no longer cope with their tasks and are powering a spiral of ever more expensive after-school tutoring.
According to the ministry, the crux of the AI teaching plan is that lessons can be tailored to students' individual needs. AI textbooks will gauge a student's progress, level of understanding, time it takes him or her to solve problems, and other factors to help them study more effectively.
Teachers can then use the data to offer students feedback on how to improve their grades, while parents will be able to access information on their child's educational achievements.
Education Minister Lee Ju-ho said, "At present, teachers are able to assess the academic levels of students only after mid-term exams, but in the age of AI textbooks that will only take a few days."
The programs will feature chatbots that can answer questions from students, but only if they are pertinent to each subject to prevent frivolous use. They will also be blocked from producing the kind of Google essay that devices like ChatGTP produce.
Asked about alarming meltdowns in current AI systems, Lee Ji-won at the ministry promised that the apps will be closely screened to ensure that they only pass on "proper" information.
They will be designed not to let students who excel in a subject get ahead of the rest of the class by "peeking" at upcoming lessons. This has sparked accusations that the uniform system will slow gifted students down, but the ministry insists the aim is to ensure that 80 percent of students in a class do not lag behind.
AI will be used from third grade, while first and second graders will continue to be taught by humans.
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