The National AI Education Lab for Innovative Products in Artificial Intelligence will conduct research on smart digital education innovation. Today, October 6, the Radboud University laboratory officially opens its doors.
The use of smart technologies in the classroom has increased significantly in recent years. To exploit opportunities and prevent adverse effects, the National AI Education Lab (Nolai) was created. Radboud University is the main lead, but several universities, colleges, school boards and contractors are involved.
80 million euros
The National Growth Fund has provided 80 million euros for the development of NoIai. “There are two main areas within the lab,” says Inge Molenaar, director of Nolai and associate professor at Radboud University’s Behavioral Science Institute (BSI). “We will work with the education field to develop programs as well as conduct scientific research.”
“Until now, the market mainly determined the programs used in the classroom. They offer products and educational institutions buy them without really making their own choices about what they consider important for their students,” says Molenaar. “Now we will look at what the educational needs are. What would they like to see and use? There is also room for technical improvements. A program may well indicate whether a student’s response is right or wrong, but it is much more difficult to give proper feedback to the student about what is wrong.
Adaptive learning tools such as Snappet, Gynzy or Oefenweb certainly have added value and are already widely used in the classroom. Miller says: “In the future, the teacher will also not be replaced by a computer program, but it is inevitable to use AI more as a learning tool. When homeschooling started due to corona, many parents were amazed by all the possibilities already available. But, of course, this must be done responsibly. For example, do you want a teacher to be able to see how long and at what time your child has been working on an assignment? »
Impact in the classroom
Therefore, in addition to developing the curricula, scientific research is being conducted on the impact of AI in education. This is done both at the pedagogical/didactic level and in the areas of ethics and privacy. This involves questions such as: what kind of regulation is needed (internationally) and how do you ensure that a program gives the right feedback to the student? What type of information can or cannot be stored, and how can you ensure that all students benefit from developments?
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“Our research focuses on the opportunities offered by technology,” says Molenaar. “You can give students more insight into their own learning. Teachers may have more time and space to personally guide students. Furthermore, the intelligent use of AI can contribute to the main educational problems of our time, such as unequal opportunities and workload. »
During the Nolai kick-off meeting, co-creation discussions took place and information was gathered on program requirements. “Recently we have been working hard to set up the Nolai, and now we are really starting,” Molenaar said. The Nolai has been funded for 10 years and is unique in its organization in Europe. “In the near future, there will be regulations at European level for AI in education and the Nolai will certainly play a role in this.”
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