In October, a symposium gave educators critical insights into how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used to transform how libraries and museums function and improve learning opportunities and outcomes for Australian children.
The AI in Libraries and Museums Symposium – held in Sydney by Microsoft Australia and Civica – offered critical insights into the use of AI and analytics in cultural institutions, and the possibilities they present to increase customer engagement and improve service delivery.
Microsoft Australia recently announced that it is working with Civica to enhance its Spydus Library Management System, creating an AI-powered search and management platform that makes access information that was previously hard to access, much more discoverable.
The digitised and AI-infused solution also increases the accessibility of information for hearing and vision impaired users who can benefit from the accessibility and access tolls that are available in the Azure platform.
‘AI will be a fundamental skill in the future’
Catherine Devine, Microsoft’s Business Strategy Lead, Libraries and Museums, said there were some crucial takeaways from the Symposium for school principals.
“AI is about finding patterns in data and applying those to enhance existing educational services,” Devine told The Educator.
“As a transformative technology every school should leverage it to improve education outcomes, and every student should be aware that it will be a fundamental skill for the future.”
Devine said the use of AI and analytics present schools with some unique opportunities to enhance service delivery and student outcomes.
“AI allows for the personalisation of the education experience, ultimately improving educational outcomes for students, as opposed to one approach for all students,” she said.
Devine said that for libraries, AI will be “pivotal in expanding discoverability of content.”
“There is so much rich data available in libraries that is difficult to access,” she said.
“AI significantly speeds the identification and searchability of the contents of library documents and books. Ultimately, this will positively impact the speed of research discoveries.”
‘Enhancing the overall learning experience’
UTS executive director of data science, Dr. Fang Chen, said that when it comes to the education sector, there have been some exciting developments in data science and AI analytics.
“The most exciting development from an educational point of view is seeing how these technologies could soon be used to help enhance student engagement and improve overall learning performance,” Dr Chen told The Educator.
“AI is a rapidly expanding and innovative force that is set to change the landscape of many traditional sectors and businesses.”
Dr Chen said that for educational institutions, including universities, it’s imperative they provide timely training to their students and staff so that they have the know-how to deliver AI based solutions for their communities.
“It’s up to universities to lead the way in data science and AI analytics, especially when it comes to multidisciplinary research and their own operations too,” Dr Chen said.
“AI in educational institutions is no different to other sectors. With new and emerging technologies like AI, we must ensure we carefully design trails/tests to evaluate the result against key objectives and identify the rules and regulations surrounding the implementation of these technologies.”