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AI development promoting educational reform, innovation

TAL Education Group Chairman and President Bai Yunfeng on Monday said that the integration of artificial intelligence and education was moving towards the in-depth field of educational ecology, promoting the innovation and reform from educational concept to teaching technology.

Bai delivered a keynote speech titled “the Innovation of education development in the era of intelligence” at the International Forum on AI and the Futures of Education.

“At present, AI is driving profound changes in every industry and field,” said Bai, adding that the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has a profound effect on everyone’s way of learning and living.

As an enterprise with the mission of “making education better with love and technology,” TAL Education Group also deeply feels the opportunities and challenges of the future, he said.

Bai shared three related cognition and exploration practices.

“First, the development of online education contributes to the promotion of fairer and better-quality education,” Bai said that at the beginning of the year, the COVID-19 outbreak left more than 1.4 billion students and youths around the world facing the interruption of education. As a response, TAL Education Group quickly launched online public welfare free classes, sending the whole subject and a large number of quality-oriented education courses to thousands of households through online live broadcast technology, with more than 60 million daily hits on the live stream lessons.

Meanwhile, TAL Education Group also completed the free deployment of the live broadcast teaching system for 595 public schools, benefiting more than 30,000 teachers, he added.

A research of the Education Research Institute of TAL Education Group and the Beijing Normal University has showed that online education could make up for the scarcity of educational resources in underdeveloped areas and effectively promote educational fairness, said the chairman.

He added that through the cooperation with China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and the “Xiwang.com” platform for public welfare educational resources, TAL Education Group has delivered teaching resources to remote mountainous areas in the scarcity of educational resources.

“At present, 40 counties and districts in 18 provinces have been covered, benefiting more than 100,000 teachers and students.”

In Sichuan Province’s Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, TAL Education Group customized Yi-Mandarin bilingual learning module for preschool children, said Bai. “It integrates speech recognition, semantic evaluation and other technologies and loved by children.”

He added that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded the Certificate for the 2020 Demonstration Project on AI and Inclusive Innovation to the Project, recognizing the contribution of the project to the protection of minority languages and the promotion of fairness and inclusion.

Also on Monday, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Stefania Giannini signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Wan Yiting, Executive President of TAL Education Group. The two parties will establish Internet and AI-based online study systems that are capable of withstanding crises on a global scale.

“Second, the development of AI is promoting the educational reform and innovation, with the future prospect turning up,” Bai said.

He believed that the development of AI and big data is opening the “black box” of the learning process. “Through online education and its combination with offline education will make individualized teaching a more scientific possibility.”

He said the 2018 pilot project of Shanghai Huangpu Luwan No. 1 Primary School, a cooperation between TAL Education Group and Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, was a good example. Smart paper, pen and other stationery were used by students, which could accurately record their behavioral processes.

Based on data analysis, educators could not only understand what the students master and how well they have mastered in real time, but also find their “ability map” and potential, laying a solid foundation for the large-scale application of individualized teaching, Bai added.

“Third, while developing AI and online education, attention shall also be paid to the protection of ethics.” Bai said that ethical issues have always been a key in the research and development of teaching and learning in TAL Education Group.

In cooperation with UNESCO, TAL Education Group has launched a research project on ethics in science and technology, aiming at exploring the underlying causes of conflicts between new technologies and traditional education and trying to propose positive solutions.

TAL Education Group will actively give feedback to UNESCO on the practical exploration and experience in AI education, constantly extending the boundaries of “child-centered” education, and deeply planting the protection of children’s rights in every field of education science and technology, he said.

“We are willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with domestic and foreign colleagues, deepen collaborative innovation in intelligent education, push forward talent training, strengthen intellectual property protection, and share the development dividend of intelligent education with all, so that children can become beneficiaries of high-quality education,” Bai said.

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