MWC Shanghai 19, AI+Education Panel" The future of education" with NAYTEA

MWC 19 Shanghai – AI + Education Panel


Sharon Xueqing Feng, Founder of NAYTEA, moderated the AI + Education Panel for MWC in Shanghai, China on June 27, 2019. Comprising the panel were some key representatives from progressive education companies, including Kong Cong, Head of Operation AI Lab at TAL Education Group; Wei Cui, Co-Founder & Chief Scientist at Squirrel AI Learning by Yixue Group; and Zoe Zhou, Head of Marketing at Udacity.




The topic for discussion—the Future of Education!


How would you describe the current situation and implementation of AI Education?

Wei Cui: Regarding AI Education development occurring in the US, for instance; there are two main focuses. One is computer vision using a camera focused on the student and the other, Natural Language Processing (NLP).

If we link computer vision technology with education, then it becomes the “double teaching” model which is now popular in China. The camera can track the student’s facial language (expressions) and with data analysis it can be determine if the student is focused or frustrated. This can provide valuable feedback to the teacher who can adjust the learning process for increased effectiveness.

Second, NLP can provide assistance to teachers by scoring the basic parts of a homework assignment. This helps reduce a teacher’s workload allowing her more time to focus on teaching or preparation of educational experiences.

Third, Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) brings students into close contact with robotics at home and in the schools. Students can talk and interact with a robot to create or enhance a learning experience.

Zoe Zhou: I could say AI Education in China “started late but is developing very fast.” Udacity is very involved in supporting the growth of the AI industry. Three years ago, the students from China who were learning AI at Udacity accounted for only 3% of all students. Today, 30% of our student population is learning about AI.




The above questions and answers are not an exact transcript of this panel discussion, rather a synopsis of the essential elements of what was di

The topic for discussion—the Future of Education!

How would you describe the current situation and implementation of AI Education?

Wei Cui: Regarding AI Education development occurring in the US, for instance; there are two main focuses. One is computer vision using a camera focused on the student and the other, Natural Language Processing (NLP).

If we link computer vision technology with education, then it becomes the “double teaching” model which is now popular in China. The camera can track the student’s facial language (expressions) and with data analysis it can be determine if the student is focused or frustrated. This can provide valuable feedback to the teacher who can adjust the learning process for increased effectiveness.

Second, NLP can provide assistance to teachers by scoring the basic parts of a homework assignment. This helps reduce a teacher’s workload allowing her more time to focus on teaching or preparation of educational experiences.

Third, Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) brings students into close contact with robotics at home and in the schools. Students can talk and interact with a robot to create or enhance a learning experience.

Zoe Zhou: I could say AI Education in China “started late but is developing very fast.” Udacity is very involved in supporting the growth of the AI industry. Three years ago, the students from China who were learning AI at Udacity accounted for only 3% of all students. Today, 30% of our student population is learning about AI.

Second, students at Udacity, not only the young students but also some of the more experienced ones who were pursuing studies in other disciplines, now want to transfer to a career in AI. Many of our students complete their course of study and become successful AI engineers at companies like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent.




What is the biggest challenge we face today in AI Education?

Kong Cong: Aligning education with industry is very important. The AI educator must know both academia and technology. And technology should serve education. What if we sent engineers into classrooms to develop algorithms to assess the effectiveness of learning?

The shortage of qualified AI teachers is another issue in AI Education.

Zoe Zhou: AI education is still very new, so finding the right teacher is one challenge. The issue is that AI Education is a very broad field of study. The solution is to break down the knowledge points and categorize them into different fields. Then teachers can dedicate refining their expertise to one specific knowledge point instead of the full AI Education spectrum.

Second, how we structure the AI education system is also very important. Students come with different backgrounds and experiences. Some of them may be good at software and some of them may be familiar with self-driving cars but lack of knowledge of software. How we set up the education system to accommodate these differences can be a challenge.

Third, we always seem to be trying to catch up with cutting-edge technology. It is important for adult students pursuing AI Education to learn up-to-date technology and keep up with the latest trends in AI present in the global leaders, tech giants like what Google , Facebook, and Baidu.

Will AI replace the teacher in the future?

KongCong: Teaching subject matter is different from developing people. Being a fully educated and well-rounded human being requires more than just knowledge; it includes learning about love, ethics, passion, and empathy among other natural human qualities. No matter how developed technology becomes, robots will never fully replace a teacher’s ability to demonstrate the better qualities of what being a human being is all about.

WeiCui: AI contributes to making a teacher’s work easier and more efficient. Digital classrooms of the future will never fully replace a teacher’s role in educating students.

Sharon: How to develop AI Education, fully reap the benefits, and empower teachers of today and tomorrow is certainly a topic worth the attention of experts in education and technology as well as the leaders of great companies. Representatives of business and government must continue to work together and put forth the effort to use AI Education to make the future a great place for everyone.



The above questions and answers are not an exact transcript of this panel discussion, rather a synopsis of the essential elements of what was discussed.

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