OECD Digital Education Report 2021, CIO News, ET CIO

Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics and blockchain technology, if used in a coordinated and combined way, can potentially revolutionize the education system. The 2021 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report has brought to the fore the growing importance of robotics, AI and blockchain technology in education from schools to universities.

The report emphasized the need for progress or digital education in recent times, citing the following conditions of the present scenario:

  • With the Covid-19 pandemic, many schools switched to digital learning to continue their children’s education
  • However, screen fatigue and the stress of adapting to digital devices over a long period of time created problems in preparing for the learning process
  • Technological readiness and the use of innovative technologies can better prepare schools around the world to deliver effective digital education

The three advanced technologies of the time AI, blockchain and robotics are already being used in some countries. A look at each of them:AI and its growing relevance in education:

  • AI can enhance digital learning experiences by making them more interactive and adaptive in the following ways:
  • It can help teachers gauge the different levels of attention and concentration of different students and the areas where they are bored and the areas where they are speeding up
  • AI can enable amateur teachers to better perceive and build a picture of the classroom, e.g
  • Learning analysis can help in creating practical assessments and exams through simulations in professional settings
  • AI technology can help reintegrate learning and assessment, using real-time data and feedback to help students

The role of robotics in digital education:

  • Effective use of robotics requires a major redesign of the role of teachers. Robotics combined with AI can help improve the quality of lessons taught by human teachers in the following ways:
  • Social robots are constantly fed with data and have enormous potential to disrupt teaching and learning. For example, while learning psychology on a computer, the computer can in turn measure how psychology is being studied by the student and make the learning experience much more detailed
  • Robots can easily perform some of the teacher’s routine tasks. For example, it can bring 2 students to a corner of the classroom and have a 10-minute conversation in French while the rest of the class works on action verbs with the human teacher

The growing importance of blockchain:

  • Blockchain has been claimed to be the most mature technology by applications among the three technologies covered in the report
  • The blockchain can relieve the education system of the task of storing decades of data on certificates and degrees
  • Blockchain verified credentials can make the whole process of issuing certificates and managing massive amounts of data and records extremely fluid, easy and manageable

The OECD report concluded by highlighting the following points about the implementation of these technologies:
The relationship between the use of technology and learning outcomes varies greatly across countries
Teachers must invest in learning how to use AI and robotics and optimize them with a humane approach in order to provide students with the best possible education
Technology delivers the best results when people are involved in using and benefiting from it, not when left to their devices.


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