Expert believes EdTech companies must push the limit at Gitex 2021

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An EdTech specialist in Abu Dhabi suggested that educational technology businesses go beyond their comfort zones and build products and release features to make it a revolutionary teaching tool.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) for education continues to serve the lowest common denominator of pain points, the lowest hanging fruit, basically the problems that are easiest to fix and have been addressed by several platforms,” said Jumana Salem, EdTech vice-president of Injazat, the home-grown national technology champion for Digital Transformation, Cloud, and Security Solutions based in Abu Dhabi.

She claims that current educational technology simply addresses and alleviates teachers’ administrative issues, but that much more can and should be done.

In order for AI to have the desired impact, we (the EdTech industry) must take on the following challenge: imagine the best teacher you’ve ever had, then design your next feature, product, and roadmap to serve that instructor. It’s simple to create time-saving tools, auto-grading systems for multiple-choice questions, and classroom reports,” says Salem.

But we don’t need any more of that; what we need is for AI to be as revolutionary for teaching as it has been for so many other fields.

Salem made the remarks during a Gitex Global panel discussion on AI, XR, and emerging tech that is revolutionizing end-to-end education.

When asked if AI will replace teachers, Salem responded, “This is a false choice; there is no situation where it is either a robot or a teacher.” A good teacher is someone students can look up to and relate to; someone who wants their students to get better every day; and someone who demonstrates through her own actions what it means to have grit, to show respect, and to make mistakes and try again.

Given the increasingly unpredictable future, our children will definitely face, a teacher can exemplify compassion and resilience, values we have a responsibility to instill in them.

While AI has the potential to achieve amazing things in other fields, she explained that it is only used in education to meet the most basic demands.

“We must urgently shift the conversation to: how do we get AI to accomplish more of what we really need it to do?” Today, AI is brilliant at teaching and measuring basic abilities, but we demand a lot more from our children,” she said.

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