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Don’t fear AI, learn to use it well, says expert at Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival 2024

Don’t fear AI, learn to use it well, says expert at Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival 2024
5 May 2024 08:27


New-age technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can play a transformative role in education by delivering personalised learning experiences and improving student performance.

This was a resounding message at the panel discussion titled ‘Enhancing Private Education: Using Artificial Intelligence in Personalised Learning,’ held at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) on Friday.

“Artificial intelligence will not overshadow traditional centres of education like schools and universities. Instead, the technology will complement educators and help them deliver more impactful learning experiences,” said prominent AI researcher and trainer Yasmine Al Rawi.

In the session moderated by Dr. Mania Suwaid, Al Rawi drew an inspiring parallel with Alan Turing, the British mathematician whose work during WWII involved breaking the Enigma cipher, to illustrate the groundbreaking impacts of AI.

“Schools are not just for academic training but are arenas for developing soft skills and creativity. Our educational institutions should embed futuristic technologies in their everyday work to improve efficiencies. A teacher in a class of 30 may not be able to give equal attention to all students, but if we have AI-aided applications that can monitor students’ emotional responses while doing assignments and provide real-time assessment, it could be a game changer”, she opined.

“This kind of technology could enable educators to better understand students’ struggles or ease with assignments, enhancing their ability to offer support even without direct supervision,” Al Rawi further noted.

Discussing the need for responsible integration of AI in educational settings, Al Rawi pointed out the critical role of parents and teachers in instilling values in children. She likened AI's introduction to past technological advances, such as television and the internet, and said, “The focus should be on guiding children to use these tools responsibly and ethically.”


Al Rawi also mentioned Futurepedia, a platform showcasing the latest AI tools from picture-to-text and text-to-video conversions to natural language processing, which can assist teachers in creating innovative lesson plans for grades 1 through 12. Furthermore, she noted the existence of innovation hubs such as the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) in Sharjah, which support the development of new ideas and startups, including potential startups in sectors like fintech.

The UAE's broader integration of AI, from smart policing initiatives by the Ministry of Interior to general government operations, illustrates the national commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology. “AI is vital not only in the education sector but also in safeguarding society,” she concluded.

The 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival is running in Expo Centre Sharjah until May 12 and features a host of activities and talks. The latest edition has a strong lineup of authors and experts from varied industries.

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