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Understanding Artificial Intelligence Tools in Nigerian Education

Learning experiences that are individualized and catered to each student’s needs can be offered by Artificial Intelligence -powered educational systems. AI brings up moral questions about fairness, accountability, transparency, and prejudice in the algorithms that affect education. What is the situation in Nigeria?

Unfortunately, automated technology is rapidly leaving Nigeria behind with constant advancement. With plans to create tech-savvy Nigerian youths who in the nearest future would communicate less with humans and more with computers, automated technology is essential to their curriculum according to Rise Networks, a Data Science, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Powered Learning, Research and Work Readiness Company in Lagos, Nigeria. “Africa must deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve access to education by providing remote and low-cost learning options and personalised learning;… reduce waste and increase efficiency in resource use,” said Awolowo Dosumu, a former Nigerian Ambassador to The Netherlands, who was represented by Managing Editor/Editor-in-Chief, African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Edward Dickson, during his keynote address at the International Symposium on Digital Transformation and Public Service Delivery.

The adoption of AI tools in Nigerian education has the potential to bring about several benefits, including:

Enhanced Learning Outcomes

AI-powered educational platforms can provide personalized learning experiences, tailored to the individual needs of students. This can lead to improved learning outcomes, as students are able to learn at their own pace and according to their learning style, which can result in better retention and understanding of the content.

Increased Access to Education

Virtual classrooms powered by AI can provide access to quality education for students in remote or underserved areas, where physical classrooms may be limited or nonexistent. This can help bridge the gap in educational opportunities between urban and rural areas, and provide access to education for marginalized populations, ultimately increasing overall literacy rates and educational attainment in Nigeria.

Improved Teaching Practices

AI tools can assist teachers in creating more effective instructional strategies by analyzing data on student performance, identifying areas where additional support may be needed, and suggesting relevant teaching materials. This can help teachers tailor their teaching methods to the specific needs of their students, resulting in improved teaching practices and better student outcomes.

Time and Cost Savings

Automated assessments using AI can save time and resources in the grading process, allowing teachers to provide timely feedback to students and focus on other important aspects of teaching. Virtual classrooms powered by AI can also save costs associated with building physical infrastructure, and can reach a wider audience of students, potentially reducing the cost of education for many.

Enhanced Creativity and Critical Thinking

AI-powered educational tools can foster creativity and critical thinking skills in students by providing opportunities for problem-solving, analysis, and decision-making. Virtual simulations and interactive learning experiences can engage students in hands-on learning, allowing them to develop their creativity and critical thinking skills, which are essential for the workforce of the future.

Issues with AI Technologies in Nigerian Education

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot created by OpenAI that became live in November 2022. It generates text/answers on any subject in response to a prompt or query. ChatGPT is fine-tuned from a model in the GPT-3.5 series. ChatGPT and GPT-3.5 were trained on an Azure AI supercomputing infrastructure.

The CEO of OpenAI and developer of ChatGPT, Sam Altman, recently acknowledged that the AI chatbot might “eliminate” many jobs. In an interview with ABC News, he added that “people should be happy” that the company was “a little bit scared” of the potential of AI.

However, the new Artificial Intelligence has already been banned across all devices in some public schools in Europe and America due to concerns over its “negative impact on student learning” and potential for plagiarism. Also, according to local press, some students in Nigeria are already sampling the tool and using it to answer questions that would have required them to think.

Altman said that the company will develop ways to help schools discover AI plagiarism, but he warned that full detection isnt guaranteed.

“We’re going to try and do some things in the short term,” Altman told StrictlyVC’s Connie Loizos in an an interview.

“There may be ways we can help teachers be a little more likely to detect output of a GPT-like system. But honestly, a determined person will get around them.”

He claimed that people have long been integrating new technologies into their lives — and into the classroom —and that those technologies will only generate more positive impact for users down the line.

The CEO’s statement come after schools that are part of the New York City Department of Education and Seattle Public School system banned students and teachers from using ChatGPT to prevent plagiarism and cheating (also mentioned above). However, some reports suggest that Chat GPT-derived text scores as low as 5% for plagiarism when tested. For some tools, under 20% is an ‘acceptable’ score.

While the adoption of Artificial Intelligence tools in Nigerian education has significant potential benefits, there are also challenges that need to be addressed, which also includes:

Access and Equity

One of the major challenges in adopting AI tools in Nigerian education is ensuring equitable access to these tools, particularly for students in rural and underserved areas with limited internet connectivity and technological infrastructure. There is a risk that the benefits of Artificial Intelligence tools may only be accessible to students in urban areas or those with more resources, exacerbating existing disparities in education.

Training and Capacity Building

The effective use of Artificial Intelligence tools in education requires skilled educators who are proficient in using these technologies. However, there may be a lack of adequate training and capacity building opportunities for educators in Nigeria to effectively integrate AI tools into their teaching practices. This can hinder the full realization of the potential benefits of AI in education.

Data Privacy and Security

Artificial Intelligence tools in education often rely on the collection and analysis of large amounts of data, including student performance data and personal information. Ensuring the privacy and security of this data is crucial to protect the rights and interests of students and educators. There may be concerns about the misuse or unauthorized access to student data, and appropriate measures need to be in place to safeguard data privacy and security.

Ethical Considerations

AI raises ethical concerns in education, such as bias in algorithms, fairness, transparency, and accountability. There is a need to ensure that Artificial Intelligence tools are designed and implemented in an ethical manner, taking into consideration issues of bias, discrimination, and social impact. Ethical guidelines and frameworks should be in place to ensure responsible and ethical use of AI in education.

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