In this article, we will examine whether artificial intelligence has made a difference in education.
By reviewing the use of AI in the classroom, we hope to define whether it is still seen as a threat or an enhancement to teachers and teaching.
Of course, everyone has different opinions, but there is growing evidence of a pathway forward for using AI effectively. Indeed, as more schools embrace and experiment with the idea, we are constantly learning better ways to utilise this new technology.
Experimenting with AI in the Classroom
Many teachers have led the AI revolution by embracing and trialling it differently. By accepting there are both risks and opportunities, they have discovered the benefits whilst acknowledging difficulties such as ethical considerations.
A growing number of Open AI resources and tools have made AI more accessible to schools.
Of course, the burning question remains: Will AI replace teachers?
It is perfectly natural to fear new advancements in technology. And the past popularity of exploring how AI will be the end of humanity as we know it is a dystopian theme that influences many sceptics.
The reality is that over the past year, all industries have become more accustomed to the presence of AI and its potential benefits. Rather than seeing it as a replacement, it is more often viewed as a way of enhancing productivity and streamlining workload.
Benefits of AI in the Classroom
One of the undisputable facts is that today’s students will grow up with AI technology and will almost certainly be using it at work in the future and be accustomed to it being part of their everyday lives.
It is no longer a case of whether education should use AI but more about how it should be used.
1. Reducing workload
A common theme expressed by AI users is that there are many opportunities to reduce time spent on administrative tasks using AI. The advantage is that it frees up more time for teachers to spend on aspects of teaching and planning that directly improve pupil outcomes.
2. Enhancing Learning and Teaching
Teachers have reported that AI can generate tests and questions, allowing pupils to research and evaluate independently.
AI can make learning more accessible and positively impact disadvantaged pupils or those with SEN.
Certainly, AI can be an effective way of engaging pupils and encouraging participation.
What are the concerns about using AI in the classroom?
It seems fair to say that the UK government has not yet caught up with some ethical issues about using AI in the classroom. They are investigating these issues and hopefully will update education leaders as policy is debated and formed.
AI plagiarism in assignments is a particularly tricky area to police. With the availability of AI to write for students, it is increasingly urgent for robust systems to be in place to identify where AI has been used in assessment situations.
Of course, during this early phase, many reports from students accused of using AI vehemently refute that to be the case.
In addition, there are worries about the accuracy of the information provided by AI.
One of the ways teachers can tackle this is to ensure students are taught to assess AI content and check for accuracy. It could be a good way of showing pupils how to correctly evaluate and reference their sources.
Our Conclusion about AI in the Classroom
We recommend that all teachers keep up-to-date with emerging ideas about AI. School leaders should ensure they are developing school policies to cover AI use and be ready to respond to advice from the government as it appears.
Meanwhile, we have reason to be more optimistic about how AI could shape education and revolutionise some areas of teaching and learning. Will AI replace teachers in the classroom?…we think it is highly unlikely!