Companies sign intelligent education agreement
Eleven information technology and educational companies, including Tencent, Huawei, Alibaba, iFlytek and TAL, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Shanghai Education Commission on Thursday to support the city in developing intelligent education.
Under the agreement, they will explore ways to provide tailor-made education for students on a large scale with support from information technology, promoting differentiated teaching, individualized study, refined management and intelligent services. The agreement was signed before a forum at the ongoing World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai.
An initiative was also released at the forum, calling for companies to follow scientific growth rules while developing educational products with information technology and to be dedicated in inspiring students’ interest in learning and promoting their all-round development. It also called on the companies to strictly inspect the content they provide so as not to spread unhealthy information, and to guide users to properly use their products, controlling the time and frequency of use and preventing addiction. It also called for cooperation and healthy competition in the industry to share latest achievements to create a healthy, civilized, and an orderly and safe cyberspace and study environment.
At the five-hour forum, 34 officials, educators, AI experts and industrial representatives from home and abroad shared views on how AI empowers educational modernization, in front of an audience of 1,500 people on site and about 600,000 online.
Tom Mitchell, dean of the school of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, said the coming five to 10 years is the right time for AI to have a genuine influence on teaching children, and China was one of the most exciting places to study the problem.
Zheng Nanning, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said educators bear huge responsibility in the intelligent era as only when we reconstruct the talent cultivation system with support from AI technologies, can we adapt to the development of the new era.
Lu Jing, director of the Shanghai Education Commission, said the city released its second action plan for educational informatization last year to realize large-scale tailor-made education for each student with help of big data.
To achieve the goal, a total of 54 schools have been selected in a program to promote the use of information technology in education, such as school and teacher management, teaching and assessment.
Some of the schools and related technology companies shared their successful attempts at the forum.
Wu Rongjing, principal of the Luwan No. 1 Central Primary School in Huangpu District, introduced its system with a board provided by TAL that can collect information on students’ behaviors. When students do test papers on the boards, teachers can see clearly how long they spend on each question, how long they pause between each two questions and other information. With such information, teachers can have a comprehensive “digital profile” of each student, including whether he or she has understood the teaching, as well as his or her study habits. The system also provides individualized further instruction to help each student’s development.
Besides the board, the school also collects other information on students, such as their characteristics, academic performance, reading history, participation in social activities and personal interests to draw a bigger “digital profile” and help teachers find a unique development path for each student.
Bai Yunfeng, president of TAL Education Group, said at the forum that it will open four categories of scientific research data, 21 customized AI capabilities and three technical resolutions to the public to promote development of AI technology in education.
The company was among the 10 firms announced on Thursday to join the national open innovation platform for next-generation AI.