Empower teachers via AI and edtech solutions, educators urged

Technology can magnify capabilities such as power, time and data, rather than totally replace traditional solutions, Microsoft’s Worldwide Education Partner Strategy leader David Gibson said, as he attempted to quash fears about Artificial Intelligence making the role of teachers obsolete.

“No tool has genuinely replaced its predecessor,” he said.

“Are we going to replace the teacher with an AI agent? Well, we might replace certain functions. But then perhaps if we do this well, if we pay attention, then we should see that change really transform the way that we’re able to deliver that learning and that instruction of the online experience as well as the on-campus experience.”

Gibson expressed the potential that AI might have to inform a teacher if a student is falling behind and said there are already examples of futuristic edtech in action such as students who are able to use live translation agents, either auditory or written, to understand their teacher better if they struggle with the taught language.

While many universities across the world have had to adapt to edtech in light of this year’s pandemic, one institution has been pioneering online learning since its inception.

Ducere Global Business School has only ever provided online degrees in partnership with major universities across four continents.

Founder and CEO, Matthew Jacobson, shared with the participants the benefits to including an online-learning model.

The business school chief explained the importance of creating diversity of options in the higher education market.

Educators only offering campus based education will be limited in the market, he suggested. It’s not a competition between online and on campus due to the fact that students who choose either method of study are typically from completely different demographics, he said.

Jacobson used an evocative analogy to illustrate his point further.

“You could be selling Mercedes cars and you’re going to sell a €200k Mercedes, but you’re also going to sell a €30k Mercedes. So, of course, you want to be having that opportunity to sell a €200k car and you’re going to make a great commission on that,” he said.

“But there are many people who are just not in the market for a €200k car and you could be selling 1,000 cars at €30k where you’re still going to make great revenue and great commission… You want to capture everyone. Some will be higher commissions, some will be lower, but you want to capture everyone in that marketplace.”

Finally the CEO and founder of Certifaction, a Switzerland-based blockchain company, shared the benefits of the technology for the higher education system.

Benoit Henry told the webinar that diploma fraud is widespread as fake diplomas are very easy to forge or to buy online and verification of a diploma takes up to six weeks, so most employers don’t bother.

Yet, employers and international students alike seem to be keen on a diploma with a “digital fingerprint”, with 83% of viewers polled on the webinar agreeing that digital credentials make an institution more appealing towards international students.

ICEF vice president of Business Development, Martijn van de Veen, hosted the event during the organisation’s annual Berlin conference – this year held virtually as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 16,600 meetings were held by 1,552 attendees across the three-day event.

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