AI can help special needs education

Tushar Singh, CEO of Minute school talks about the importance of AI in special needs education. Photo credit: Leslie Ishimwe
AI Hub's robots. Photo credit: Leslie Ishimwe

Artificial Intelligence (AI) wants to help improve the way instructors teach special needs students with detectors that collect data from students and determine what they’re lacking.

Durham College held a “tech talk” hosted by Tushar Singh, CEO of the Minute School which is an application that helps students academically with practical exercises in Maths, Economics, Physics and more. About 40 people attended the event, organizers say.

“We have to be particularly sensitive and especially more sensitive when it’s students with special needs. The reason for that is that AI is a decision-making system and it can and will develop a bias based on the data received,” Singh says.

For instance, a camera positioned in a classroom will detect if a student is paying attention and the data collected at that time will be used to determine what a student is struggling with, Singh says.

However, if the detector is set up to evaluate students without special needs, it might detect “ADHD” on a student who’s not paying attention in class, even though the student does not have that disorder, he says.

To fix that problem, Al will re-evaluate the patterns of the product used in the classroom. Al will also ensure the product is more user-friendly and less authoritative, Singh says. To do that, data must be collected based on the learning process of a student whether the student is in class or outside of class using social media.

Although evaluating students in such a method might be effective, Singh says, “We also have to evaluate on the risks and the rights of the parties involved.” He says the only way the data collected can be kept private is if a “governance process” is set up to see how the data is being used and what is being done with the results.

Singh also presented the “experiential learning platform for teenagers,” which is a measuring tool used when students are going through different scenarios. The product will be evaluating how well they’re doing to determine whether the student needs assistance rather than always guiding them. This will also help to boost the student’s confidence, Singh says.

Singh emphasized to better help students with special needs, it is important they “understand that they’re not isolated.”

Al Hub will host another event on cybersecurity, Nov. 30th, room SW103, Oshawa campus. The time will be announced in the next few days.