By Kevin Berkopes, CEO, Crossroads Education
I developed Crossroads Education, an Indianapolis-based technology and professional services company, while a faculty member at IUPUI. Our mission is to build a new human ecosystem for education, one built upon the power of human connection augmented by technology. I want to focus on the potential impact of artificial intelligence — or AI — on education as we strive to prepare people for the knowledge economy.
To date, technology in education, which I’ll call EdTech, has focused on furthering our ability to present, share and record knowledge, as well as support the logistics of cost-effective, distributed education systems. This simplifies technology’s impact, making it an incremental fix to a broken traditional education system. This misses the true power of technology in education.
We must learn from industry about the power of technology to create highly personalized products that grow our individual potential to do more than what we can achieve on our own. Industry has focused on this human system capacity for years — why do systems focused on human learning lag? The lag is potentially the stickiness of the status quo, in which we believe that people learn best when a highly competent individual imparts knowledge to a mass of novices. It would seem that we have the longest-standing longitudinal study available that this system does not work on almost any metric.
So, how can EdTech be designed to include advances in AI as well as consider the potential for Intelligence Augmentation, or IA, in learning environments? Machines do not — and will never — have the creative capacity, social skills or perceptiveness that people excel at. With this recognition, we can position AI and IA to work in tandem — where the human operator can digest vast volumes of information quickly and learn through experience, rather than learn through memorization. We can build distributed systems of human learning in which peers can drive learning that is augmented through the data-analysis capabilities of AI. We could, potentially, heighten our ability to collaborate and recognize the shared power of neuro-diversity.
These ecosystems for collaboration are not a vision of a distant future; they are quickly becoming reality in our time. Crossroads Education, through its Learning Commons license, is building an ecosystem where we empower those who are learning to connect and build more robust learning networks. Essentially, a person who is learning can also teach. Throughout the state of Indiana, visitors to a Learning Commons can find young people at the start of their education career working with and collaborating with their peers — a collaboration that is already augmented by our technology.
Through the partnership of human creativity and the power of AI and IA to augment our experiences, we could promote collaboration as the mechanism for learning rather than competition. The goal of learning, then, in this technology-rich environment, is to teach others while you continue to strengthen your own capabilities.