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How can artificial intelligence enhance education?

12 February 2019

The transformative power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) cuts across all economic and social sectors, including education.

“Education will be profoundly transformed by AI,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Teaching tools, ways of learning, access to knowledge, and teacher training will be revolutionized.”

AI has the potential to accelerate the process of achieving the global education goals through reducing barriers to access learning, automating management processes, and optimizing methods in order to improve learning outcomes.  

This is why UNESCO’s upcoming Mobile Learning Week (4-8 March 2019) will focus on AI and its implications for sustainable development. Held annually at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, the 5-day event offers an exciting mix of high-level plenaries, workshops and hands-on demonstrations. Some 1200 participants have already registered for the event that provides the educational community, governments and other stakeholders a unique opportunity to discuss the opportunities and threats of AI in the area of education.

The discussions will evolve around four key issues:

  • Ensure inclusive and equitable use of AI in education – including actions on how to address inequalities related to socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity and geographic location; identify successful projects or proved-effective AI solutions to break through barriers for vulnerable groups to access quality education.
  • Leverage AI to enhance education and learning – improve education management systems, AI-boosted learning management systems or other AI in education applications, and identify new forms of personalized learning that can support teachers and tackle education challenges.
  • Promote skills development for jobs and life in the AI era – support the design of local, regional and international strategies and policies, consider the readiness of policymakers and other education leaders and stakeholders; and explore how AI-powered mobile technology tools can support skills development and innovation.
  • Safeguard transparent and auditable use of education data – analyze how to mitigate the risks and perils of AI in education; identify and promote sound evidence for policy formulation guaranteeing accountability, and adopt algorithms that are transparent and explainable to education stakeholders.

During Mobile Learning Week, UNESCO is organizing a Global Conference on AI (Monday 4 March) to raise awareness and promote reflection on the opportunities and challenges that AI and its correlated technologies pose, notably in the area of transparency and accountability. The conference, entitled “AI with Human Values for Sustainable Development” will also explore the potential of AI in relation to the SDGs.