One of the many, many things that I would like to accomplish this year is to publish an iOS app to Apple's AppStore. Given that the company is making a large push to Swift UI, I've been investing an hour or two every day to watching some of the many videos from this year's WWDC. These have been incredibly interesting and have given me quite a bit to think about with regards to modern application design, but they're also showing me some of the things that I've not had to think about for several years and how these technologies have evolved. Tools like Augmented Reality and Machine Learning. Watching the videos I'm often scratching my head not because of the complexity of the implementation, but because I just can't see how these could possibly be useful outside of a few niche situations. However, when I compare this to the buzz around these two terms in educational software circles, AR and ML are being positioned as the greatest thing since 3-ring binders.
What am I not understanding?
In my mind, the use case for Augmented Reality involves learners heading out into the world and using the device as a window to seek clarification or confirmation. I can see this as being quite useful when people go into nature in search of specific insects or plants, and an AR-enabled bit of software confirms a person has found something. This is also true for Machine Learning, where a lot of data can be collected and processed locally while out in the field. For STEM subjects, these two tools can give people the visual confirmation or interaction necessary to firmly ingrain a concept into a person's mind. There are some mathematical concepts that I use very often now that were impossible for me to understand in high school, and it took a video on YouTube many years ago to unlock the how of an equation so that I could understand why and when we use it. A video is not the same as AR or ML, but these two technologies can be used to derive the visualizations based on input from the physical world.
However, I don't write tools for students or teachers of STEM subjects. My software is all about skills training with languages making up the bulk of the courses. The educational circles I belong to online for this area of study all rave about the buzzwords including AI … but I don't quite understand their excitement. The use cases are far too niche and still much better suited to a real person with real experience teaching a class.
Am I just not seeing far enough? Am I biased against "intelligent" software? These are certainly possibilities.