Blended Learning Meets Artificial Intelligence: Digital Brain in the Classroom

NL64 DigitalBrain

Iman Fiqrie@William E Hamilton

(LCDR USN,ret), CPLP, MBA, BS, AA, ACB, CL

The classroom of the future probably won’t be led by a robot with arms and legs, but it may be guided by a digital brain”1.

Digital technology and blended learning in the classroom

Seems we all know technology advances are moving extremely fast and also where we stand with digital technology these days. The longer we wait to get started learning about what we need to know—the farther behind we’ll be and the longer it’s going to take to catch up. The pain threshold will keep getting bigger and bigger!

There has been a huge paradigm shift in digital technology and many just aren’t getting on board with these changes— business as usual. Maybe they never heard the saying that when a paradigm shift comes and you don’t get on—you’ll be left behind? It may not be for lack of want, but either way we must take the first steps and initiatives ourselves if we expect significant change; perhaps we don’t take the initiative because there are no perceived or real consequences if we don’t change?

Just the same, in many schools across the country in the U.S., figure 1 refers, in a program called Teach One, the classrooms of the future are here now—that’s right.

Figure 1 – 2016-2017 School Partnerships (http://www.newclassrooms.org/)

These classrooms of the future could have as many as 100 students and 15 teacher-assistants in them. The room is cordoned-off by white boards and sections; each given a name or area, e.g., Botanical Gardens, Rose Garden, etc. In the morning when the students come in— they either go to their assigned new section and start work on their laptops or refer to the monitor up front as to where to go. Students are either doing individual work (virtual instruction or virtual reinforcement) or group work as directed by the Digital Brain (Brain) and supported by the teacher-assistants (TA).

Sometimes the Brain, i.e., voice of the brain, initiates instruction by asking the students a few questions and applying the answers to an algorithm and determining the next activities, seat arrangements and student assignments. The TAs also support this process and may give supplemental instruction or actions as appropriate.

There are mixed reviews about the Teach One program and like every good thing, someone must say something negative about change. As these programs are costly, someone does have to answer for the return on investment and actual progress.

The bottom line is that many leaders, adults and politicians talk about change, leveraging technology and doing the right things—but seem to be gripped themselves by no appetite for technology. Reality check—our children, staff and colleagues see what we do and not just what we say. If we really want the kind of technology change that’s going to make a difference— then we must lead that change by example and demonstrate its core principals, beliefs and actions. That’s my opinion, tell me what you think?

References


Huntsberry, W., Some Benefits and Drawbacks of Blended Learning, KQED News, 12 January, 2015, accessed 23 December, 2016.

A classroom where artificial intelligence is used as part of blended learning

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