Youth Excellence Awardees Essay Sept 2023

KirthivarshaSivakumar_IAGB (1)

Artificial Intelligence in Classrooms

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made its breakthrough in the past couple of years and has changed how people can access information. Looking back in time, humans have come a long way with accessing knowledge; rather than flipping through hundred-page-encyclopedias, we can ask our questions on the net, and we now have the power of knowledge at our fingertips. But how does AI play a role in classrooms, especially in primary and secondary schooling?

Artificial Intelligence has found to be extremely useful in primary school settings due to its adaptive capability. Teachers can use AI to help students at an individual level, allowing students to learn at their own pace based on how a student performs in a certain subject or topic. Adaptive learning allows students to feel confident in what they learn, as well as be successful and self-directed in what they are learning, which leads them to engage more in class activities with the knowledge they have mastered. Additionally, teachers have more power of teaching classes as a whole rather than trying to keep all classes at the same pace. This allows a stronger understanding of the fundamentals of different subjects to create a stronger foundation.

In higher level studies, students can use AI as part of their learning and to help them enhance their writing skills and along with the benefits mentioned above, AI applications can be used for testing practice. With applications that can adapt the level of difficulty based on a student’s performance, this allows students to use a technique called Active Retrieval; this is a studying technique that forces a student to retrieve information from what they previously learned, and this allows students to perform better in exams at school. Using Active Retrieval with AI tools allows students to study with ease rather than spending countless hours reading a textbook repeatedly.

Additionally, the power of AI in classrooms also comes free of cost, or with a low-cost subscription for additional tools. This can be an asset to teachers and schools because this allows teachers to not have to worry about printing an endless number of worksheets or using expensive and complex applications for class lessons. Looking at a school-wide level, schools can save more money and use it to create new or more advanced opportunities for students to use, allowing them to explore their interests and creating more ways for students to be more inventive and innovative in their learning.

Despite all these benefits of AI in classrooms and learning, there are some drawbacks that must be addressed. With the power of accessing knowledge at our fingertips, some students may use AI to their own advantage, such as using an essay that is written for them, a functionality that is popular in applications such as ChatGPT and their extremely advanced versions. With tools that can produce anything with a simple command, who wouldn’t want to make use of these opportunities? To avoid such situations that will lead to penalizing consequences, it is imperative that schools give proper instructions as to how to use such tools as part of their learning. This will allow students to avoid making such mistakes in the future such as in college and job applications and in the workplace. Additionally, students could risk their privacy and security if they are not taught how to use AI applications properly, leading to an unsatisfactory experience with technology, even in a highly advanced period.

Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool that can benefit students with their education, only if used the right way. With endless possibilities with AI, students can create things that may have never been made before, which can benefit the world. On the other hand, however, there are possibilities that AI might create unfair advantages everywhere we go, which can lead to extreme disparities, if used in the wrong way. With careful and constant instruction, our current and future generations will learn to use AI in a way that will help the world to lead us to a brighter future for mankind.

– Kirthivarsha Sivakumar

Medha Bashyam

Racial Biases in College Admissions and its Impact on Indian Americans

Junior year. That’s when the real hustle begins. Taking ten more extracurriculars, applying for every award, taking the hardest classes, and doing whatever else in order to fulfill the dream. College. College is the end goal. Most of us dream of getting into the top schools across the country like Stanford and Harvard. We work extremely hard all through our high school years in order to reach that goal.

We try to become #1 in our class with the best grades and winning national competitions. We research colleges and take college tours. And that’s when we see it. College websites encourage “minority groups” to apply. We eagerly scan it looking for Asians. Surprise. Asians aren’t a minority. Colleges take part in affirmative action and to them, we make up too much of the population.

So, where did affirmative action even come from? Why did we need affirmative action? In 1968, with the death of Martin Luther King Jr, colleges like Harvard and Yale announced that they would attempt to introduce more Black students into the university. They wanted to compensate for the discrimination against colored people. Many colleges would employ racial quotas in order to compensate and show diversity. In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke that while racial quotas are unconstitutional, colleges and universities may still use race as one of the factors in admission.

On June 29th, 2023, the Supreme court altered that decision and ruled that using race as a factor in the admissions process is unlawful. So how does it affect us Indian American students? We are the first-generation of Indian Americans as most of our parents are immigrants. How do we deal with this?

This first thing to recognize is that the education system was not built on a level playing field. The first schools were for white men whose family owns property. Eventually, schools needed to adapt to the growing ethnicities. Schools would create schools in order to separate women and people of color. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that immigrants of Indian origin could lawfully immigrate to the United States without any racial quotas. While this has become more inclusive over time, Indian American students are still not on the same level. White people are still among the highest percentages of races in colleges and universities.

Second, while colleges do want to provide an education to people they believe will be leaders, they will still be looking out for their own benefits. Colleges accept legacy students because it is a huge part of their funding. Millionaires go to Ivy Leagues and donate millions of dollars. Then, their grandchildren can come in and take spots because it helps the colleges raise money. Colleges also want a diverse campus. This helps their publicity and marketability to students looking for rich culture. Schools attempt to bring in more people from minority groups, effectively reducing spots for Indian Americans. Unfortunately, Indian students are not recognized as a minority group on campus. Although we are a minority in the United States, we dominate on college campuses. We aim high in academia and that is reflected in universities. This means that even if we have the same qualifications as somebody else, if the college is looking to diversify the campus, the other person may be selected if they are from a minority group.

The issue is not necessarily affirmative action. It is the education system. Our system allows for stereotypes to be drawn about the applicants. There will always be biases that we, as the applicants, are not aware of. Even if we don’t mention race, how can we know that they won’t assume our race based on our names or extracurriculars? How can we know that there are no other prejudices against people? We can’t. All we can do is try our best and hope that the education system works with us and not against us.

-Medha Bashyam

Sachit Kurup

How AI Is Changing The Classroom

Picture this: Little Timmy, a bright and curious young boy, found himself in a constant battle against drowsiness as he tried to stay attentive during Ms. Johnson’s history class. With each passing minute, his eyelids grew heavier, and his head slowly dipped towards his desk. After realizing that he had missed out on a bunch of important material due to his accidental slumber, Little Timmy decided to take matters into his own hands. Determined to catch up, he turned to the power of AI for help.

Timmy discovered an AI-powered educational platform that offered personalized learning experiences. With its adaptive algorithms, the platform identified what he knew, and what he didn’t, and created a solid study plan just for him. Artificial Intelligence has emerged as a groundbreaking technology that is revolutionizing various aspects of our lives. In the field of education, AI is reshaping traditional teaching methods and paving the way for a more personalized and efficient learning experience. This essay explores the transformative potential of AI in the classroom and its impact on education.

One of the ways AI is changing the classroom is through personalized learning. Intelligent tutoring systems and adaptive learning platforms use AI algorithms to assess student strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. By adjusting the content, pacing, and instructional strategies, AI makes sure that students get personalized education, allowing them to learn at their own pace and achieve better academic results. This personalized approach promotes student engagement, encourages a deeper understanding of concepts, and improves overall learning experiences.

In addition to personalized learning, AI has majorly improved the assessment and feedback process in the classroom. AI models can analyze student responses, providing feedback and generating detailed performance reports. This automated grading system not only saves time for educators but also ensures consistent evaluation. Teachers can instead focus on providing targeted support and offering personalized guidance to students based on their individual needs. The instant feedback provided by AI systems promotes self-improvement and encourages students to learn.

AI-powered technologies, such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, are also transforming the classroom into an interactive learning environment. These technologies allow students to engage in virtual simulations, experiments, and explore real-world scenarios. By improving the learning experience with AI programs that provide instant guidance and feedback, students can develop a deeper understanding of complex concepts and apply their knowledge in practical and meaningful ways. Immersive experiences encourage creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, preparing students for the challenges of the future.

In conclusion, AI is majorly changing the classroom environment. From personalized learning experiences to instant assessment systems, AI is reshaping education as we know it. The integration of AI promotes personalized curriculums, encourages engagement, improves feedback processes, creates immersive learning experiences, and provides important insights for educators. Embracing the constantly evolving power of AI in the classroom holds the key to discovering new possibilities and revolutionizing the way we teach and learn. As we explore the future of education, it is important to use the benefits of AI while also recognizing the special contributions that human teachers bring to the learning experience.

-Sachit Kurup