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How AI has already reshaped digital learning behind the scenes 

Students in a circle using mobile devices

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become such a significant point of discussion in the education sector that the Department of Education released a special report in May 2023 outlining its recommendations for safely developing and integrating AI into edtech. The 67-page document — which aims to help decision makers “prepare for and make better decisions about the role of AI in teaching and learning” — covers topics ranging from how to reduce biases when developing AI to the importance of designing AI using modern learning principles. 

This report came on the heels of ChatGPT’s official launch in November 2022, which introduced a new level of sophistication in AI-assisted research and content generation. Since then, educators’ reactions to the software have been mixed, with some embracing it as an exciting new tool and others worrying it could mark the end of critical thinking in the classroom.  

Popular user-facing AI engines like ChatGPT may continue to shake up traditional approaches to education in the coming years. However, other forms of cloud-based AI have already been working behind the scenes to support digital education for the last several years.  

AI is already helping schools in the background in many different ways, including: 

Keeping students safe from inappropriate or malicious content 

School web filters have come a long way since the early, appliance-based offerings. At one time, school IT professionals had the difficult task of maintaining and uploading block lists that explicitly instructed their web filter on which sites students were not allowed to access. Keeping up with these lists was burdensome, and IT teams did not have much flexibility when it came to bending the rules for special occasions or specific purposes. 

As AI became trained in identifying suspicious and malicious content, cloud-based web filters like Lenovo NetFilter began to integrate AI to detect and automatically block potential threats, such as sites containing malware, as well as potentially inappropriate websites. IT teams can still upload block lists based on their policies and preferences, however their AI-driven web filter will also update these lists on the fly without necessarily needing human input. 

Moreover, AI-driven safety products such as Lenovo NetFilter+ can leverage keystroke monitoring to recognize and flag potentially concerning conversations or web searches that take place on school-managed devices. After the program flags a concerning conversation or behavior, administrators and educators can review the context and decide whether further intervention is needed to protect the student(s) involved. 

Keeping endpoints safer from ransomware and other cyber threats 

The education sector has seen a 114% increase in monthly cyberattack volume since 2021. In fact, education is the most targeted industry every month, with an average of 2297 cyberattacks against educational organizations each week in the first half of 2022. That’s a 44% increase compared to the first half of 2021. 

There are several reasons cyber attackers are targeting education. Schools maintain large databases of student, staff, and parent information, which can be tempting for hackers. These threat actors hope some of the schools they target will not have the resources or experience to protect this data the way a bank or large enterprise might.  

In addition to helping detect and block threats at the web filter level, AI baked into endpoint security software can provide another layer of protection against cyberattacks. SentinelOne for the education space uses AI to help schools bolster their cyber defenses against ransomware, attacks, identity theft, and more with full transparency across their networks and endpoints. 

SentinelOne autonomously detects and responds to attacks. In the case of a ransomware attack, the software’s endpoint detection and response system identifies malicious files as soon as they try to install themselves on the endpoint, disables them, and deletes them from all endpoints across the school system. If an attacker successfully infiltrates a device, SentinelOne can even roll back the device to a healthy state, decrypting files and subverting the ransomware’s capabilities.  

Predicting device issues to reduce downtime 

Classrooms are interrupted an average of 15 times per day by tardy students, other teachers and administrators dropping by, school announcements, and multiple other factors outside the teacher’s control. That’s all on top of the most common daily classroom interruption — student discipline issues. 

To facilitate continued, focused learning time, it’s vital for teachers to limit distractions. When one student experiences a device failure or system crash, it can bring learning to a halt for the entire class while the teacher tries to troubleshoot the issue.  

Lenovo Device Intelligence (LDI) Plus software uses AI to provide school IT professionals with analytics about their entire fleet of Lenovo devices to help pro-actively predict issues and failures. IT admins can see health scores for every device, and when a concern rises, they can dive deeper to pinpoint problems. This enables them to make repairs or updates, order replacement parts or devices, reducing the chances of device downtime during class.  

Get the best of AI-driven edtech in one bundle with Lenovo 

Student-and teacher-facing AI may be an emerging technology, but in the background, AI has been underpinning a variety of edtech software programs for several years, under the direction of school IT pros. This has unleashed new capabilities, efficiencies, and protections that make daily life better for teachers and students — often without those end users recognizing AI has even been at work. 

If you’re an edtech decision maker hoping to deliver AI-driven safety and analytics solutions to your school or school system, the Lenovo ecosystem is a one-stop shop.  

Take advantage of great savings by bundling Lenovo NetFilter, Lenovo NetFilter+, SentinelOne, LDI+ — and our award-winning classroom management software LanSchool — to deliver the best of AI-driven edtech within your budget. See the bundle deal 

 

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