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China Has Started a Grand Experiment In AI Education


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Zhou Yi taking a math tutoring class on a computer

Zhou Yi taking a math tutoring class with Squirrel AI, which uses an AI algorithm to curate his lessons.

Credit: Noah Sheldon

Experts agree AI will be important in 21st-century education — but how? While academics have puzzled over best practices, China hasn't waited around. In the last few years, the country's investment in AI-enabled teaching and learning has exploded. Tech giants, startups, and education incumbents have all jumped in. Tens of millions of students now use some form of AI to learn — whether through extracurricular tutoring programs, through digital learning platforms, or even in their main classrooms. It's the world's biggest experiment on AI in education, and no one can predict the outcome.

But experts worry about the direction this rush to AI in education is taking. At best, they say, AI can help teachers foster their students' interests and strengths. At worst, it could further entrench a global trend toward standardized learning and testing, leaving the next generation ill prepared to adapt in a rapidly changing world of work.

From Technology Review
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