AI and the Transformation of Self-studying

Born out of the frustrations of solitude necessitated by frequent lockdowns, a greater focus on improvement of the self through the booming online learning industry has emerged. Forbes estimated that even before the outbreak, the online education market is forecasted to reach $350 Billion by 2025, with the current situation prompting significant growth. With increasing numbers of people taking the initiative to sharpen their minds, and many more struggling to find ways to find both educational and entertaining ways to engage children whose development is being stalled by the pandemic, we look at ways AI can provide the platform for progress.

Boundless Imagination and Grounded Intellect

Just by interacting with AI you can increase creativity and develop new skills within education as a whole. For instance, through the VIA Pixetto’s partnerships with schools we have demonstrated how it can be utilized in a wide variety of ways, be it by detecting  whether someone is wearing a mask, or creating games for the elderly. The sheer diversity of possibilities offered by the technology’s machine learning and AI capabilities facilitate tremendous opportunity for increasing creativity. The thriving ‘maker-community’ on social media and beyond is fueled by demonstrations of the potential this technology offers, how it can streamline so many elements of everyday life, or simply perform cool tricks! Whichever way it is used, AI’s natural versatility allows users to indulge in their imaginative impulses. Utilizing this technology in continuously unique ways enables students to imprint their own stamp on their learning and embrace their individuality. AI offers a new frontier of possibilities to explore, and can be done from the comfort of your own home.     Even the way AI technology is operated can help develop valuable learning skills. Coding robotics inherently requires systemic thinking in order to achieve success (understanding how AI makes sense of the world around it). Systemic thinking is defined as the knowledge of how different parts of a system can influence one another: knowing that the technology functions as a result of number of various inputs and elements all working in tandem, and that problems often don’t occur in isolation but in relation to one another is paramount to success. It greatly aids critical thinking as creators must consider all elements of a challenge in order to successfully tackle it.

‘The future is still so much bigger than the past’

Finally, with so many different aspects of life incorporating technology, involving AI within the learning process gives today’s students a fundamental advantage over past generations. We have seen how digital natives (those who were born surrounded by technology) have thrived even within established organizations, with their ability to bring a sharpness to idea development and drive forward outdated thinking to adapt it to the modern day.

The further integration of the technology into education and working environments shows no sign of slowing down as the acceleration of technological development continues. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, once said of his creation “The future is still so much bigger than the past”: despite beginning as an area of study over 60 years ago, this saying is even more poignant in regards to AI progression. With AI considered by many as the next stage in the humanity’s exponential technological progress, having an understanding of how these systems work and why they are important, especially from such a young age, will be invaluable in educating the next generation of talent. Justin Aglio, Director of Academic Achievement and District Innovation of Montour School District in Pennsylvania, talks about the necessity of learning these skills: “AI is not part of the future anymore: it’s the present. If we aren’t teaching it to them (students) now, they are going to be dinosaurs by the time they leave school”.

In order to have a future working alongside all the benefits AI can bring to a safer, more streamlined working environment, a fundamental understanding of what makes the technology so special will be crucial. Indeed, for those complete beginners, the VIA Pixetto is built for those who are just being introduced to the core concepts of AI, not only allowing for the creation of fun, simple projects with the integration of more simplistic programming platforms (such as Blocks) allowing for a totally inclusive learning experience.    

With the technology more accessible than ever before and a clear increase in the utilization of AI across industry, there has a never been a better time to explore the possibilities yourself. Not only are you learning the fundamentals of a technological development that is shaping the modern world but you’re furthering your own capacity for learning across all mediums, enhancing important skills like creativity and systemic thinking along the way. By using AI to educate, not just the next generation but all of us, we seek to expand our minds beyond the capacity we could expect from contemporary, more homogenized, classroom education. Your development is in your hands: take the first step in your AI learning journey!

Written by Stan Buckley, PR, Social Media Marketing and Marketing Communications intern at VIA and a Business Studies graduate from Lancaster University.

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