A Discussion with Education Visionary Sonia Agarwal Bajaj on AI’s Role in Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders

Sonia Agarwal Bajaj

Redefining Early Education Sonia Agarwal Bajaj on Harnessing AI for Future-Ready Learning

What inspired you to become an educator? How has your journey evolved since then?

Sonia Agarwal Bajaj: I have always been attracted to impact businesses that drive change. While I have been associated with the education industry for a decade with multiple ventures that forayed in college counselling, upskilling, the problem was very clear to me.

We needed to start focusing on holistic and relevant learning early on. To shape our next future leaders, the outlook towards early education had to change and that led to the start of little chipper international, a preschool that ranks #1 as a future ready preschool in India today and has been ranking amongst the top 10 for the last four years.

We are always looking for new techniques, methodologies to improve and reimagine early education. This includes using AI effectively to boost learning and even launch little future founders, an early entrepreneurship and financial literacy program in May 2024.

What inspired you to integrate AI into education? What impact do you envision it having on the future of learning?

Sonia Agarwal Bajaj: There is no doubt that AI is the future and as educators we will need to learn how to use the AI tools available to boost in-class learning. Educators can use various AI tools to bring alive children’s coloring sheets, explore a story where the children have agency and perhaps even bring giant dinosaurs inside the learning areas.

In addition to AI tools being used to introduce another format of interactive learning, it can also be used by educators to monitor children’s learning and suggest personalized learning plans.

How do you balance the use of AI technology with the importance of human interaction and mentorship in education?

Sonia Agarwal Bajaj: In the evolving landscape of education, maintaining a delicate equilibrium between AI technology and human interaction is paramount. While AI promises innovation, the bedrock of learning remains rooted in human connections.

Particularly in formative years, these interactions are pivotal, shaping socio-emotional and linguistic growth. AI tools will best serve as enablers, enhancing educational experiences under human guidance. While AI can be a great tool to boost creativity, if used irresponsibly, it can also slump creativity and independent thinking.

Using the correct age-appropriate AI tools in presence of children and using other AI tools would be critical.  

What developments in AI do you anticipate will have the most significant impact on education in the coming years?

Sonia Agarwal Bajaj: When AI technology advances, educators will probably use it more for multiple educational duties such as structuring lessons, mapping student’s progress along with creating personalized lesson plans for students to do at home, creating songs, stories to captivate children. 

As the world of AI continues to expand, the ethics around data privacy will continue to pose a challenge. Educators and parents will both have to be mindful of the same.

AI will thus be used to simplify elevate learning in-class and outside learning but will not be able to replace the warmth of a physical human that brings age-appropriateness, intuition, compassion, and the non-verbal excitement.     

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