Is artificial intelligence (AI) the future of education? Governments, researchers, and organisations have highlighted that AI has the power to revolutionise education for teachers, students, and institutions. This shift has already been embraced in some educational institutions, while others have banned the use of AI tools. However, these bans are a temporary solution to a fast-paced and unavoidable shift in technology. In this blog, we’ll share how educators can embrace and benefit from AI, and share examples of AI in education.
The Importance of AI Literacy in Education
Why should educators embrace AI and prioritise AI literacy? First, AI-powered assistance will be available in many of our everyday tools. Both Microsoft and Google will have AI-powered writing features for documents, presentations, emails, and beyond. AI is becoming unavoidable and will likely be a norm in the workplace, which means AI literacy is essential for ensuring students are prepared. Other popular tools like Canva and Notion have also already released AI-powered features.
Second, AI literacy is important for navigating the increasing digital divide in education. Both students and educators can benefit from having the skills and knowledge to navigate AI. In the UK, universities have been encouraged to prioritise the AI literacy of their educators and students. Educational leaders published a set of five principles to help these universities navigate the future of AI in education. This need for AI literacy has also been prioritised and encouraged by nonprofits like The AI Education Project and even Microsoft has free resources to empower educators.
The Future of Education: AI for Educators
Educators, researchers, and organisations around the world believe AI can be a valuable resource for teachers and instructors. The Departments of Education in the UK and USA, and leading organisations like UNESCO recognise that AI can help reduce teacher’s demanding workloads. Like an intelligent and powerful teaching assistant, AI can give teachers the gift of time and mental space to focus on their students. They can prioritise providing an effective, high-quality, and engaging learning experience with their expertise, instead of managing busy work.
6 Simple Ways to Use AI as a Teacher
AI-Powered Planning for Teachers
Teachers can use AI-powered tools to kickstart their planning process, which can ultimately help them save time. These tools can be used for drafting ideas and brainstorming lesson plans. Chatbots, like ChatGPT and Bard, can help teachers work through and refine their ideas as if collaborating with an intelligent research assistant. Others have recommended that educators use these tools to draft a course syllabus that considers real pedagogical strategies. Teachers can leverage their own expertise and subject matter knowledge to tailor the AI outputs to their needs and teaching requirements.
Creative and Diverse Teaching Resources
Creating effective resources and supplementary materials for lessons can be a complex and time-consuming task. Teachers can use AI tools to generate a range of diverse and interesting explanations, analogies, and examples for their learning material. This can be particularly useful for creating examples that are culturally relevant and timely for their students. There are many ways to tailor these learning materials too, they can vary in complexity, focus on a particular idea, and be used to supplement existing materials.
Beyond the learning content of these resources, assistive AI technologies can be used when creating presentations and documents. For example, Canva is a simple design tool that can be used for creating a range of files and now has built-in AI tools like Magic Write for both design and writing. These tools can help teachers create engaging materials within less time. For students, having access to engaging and diverse learning materials can help them to conceptualise complex topics.
Adaptive Learning Materials for Students
In a class, each student is likely to have their own learning style and needs. Teachers may struggle to produce learning materials that both align with their curriculum and their students’ learning abilities. AI tools make it possible to start taking a more personalised approach to learning. These tools can help teachers create engaging learning materials and explanations for different learning levels and needs.
Teachers can further tailor their AI outputs by using their own knowledge of their student’s backgrounds. For example, if a teacher knows that some students prefer creative rather than logical examples, they can tailor their learning materials accordingly. AI makes it possible to generate diverse sets of learning materials without losing too much time.
Being able to provide personalised, diverse learning materials and lessons can help students play to their strengths while opening them up to new ways of thinking. This can also make education more accessible for those with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning difficulties, mental health conditions, or other developmental conditions.
Engaging Assessments for Learning Comprehension
To assess students’ comprehension and help them engage with some light retrieval practice, teachers can use AI tools to create simple assessments. Things like quizzes, group discussion activities, or puzzles can be easily generated within minutes using AI tools. These can be created using reliable sources of information such as trusted websites or documents.
Teachers can regularly check up on their students’ learning progress using these simple, low-stake assessments. These in-class assessments can be particularly useful for those who are concerned by students using AI to complete homework tasks. It is also recommended to give students homework tasks that involve exploring AI in a responsible and critical way.
AI Tutors and Feedback Tools
Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing, can be used for personal and work-related tasks. However, there are also AI systems and tools that have been developed for the educator sector. In some countries, these tools are set to become a norm. These developments are likely to include AI-powered tutors that can provide personalised feedback for both teachers and students. We’ll share more about this in the next section.
AI in Education: Real World Examples and Developments
Teaching with AI by OpenAI
OpenAI, the developers behind ChatGPT and the powerful GPT-4 model, have curated a list of examples, prompts, and resources for teachers. Some of this guidance comes from experts at Wharton Interactive, who created a free five-part video series to help educators start using AI. Educators have used ChatGPT to create quizzes, lesson plans, and even for role-play. Graduate students were encouraged to role-play and engage in complex and challenging conversations based on their learning material. Others have also highlighted how valuable these tools can be for non-English speakers.
Hong Kong Universities AI Collaboration
Microsoft has partnered with eight Hong Kong universities to encourage the use of AI education. Students will be encouraged to explore AI models through the Azure OpenAI platform for learning, writing, designing, and coding. Notably, tools like ChatGPT and Bard are not openly accessible in Hong Kong, and educators were in favour of banning such tools over plagiarism concerns. However, the security and filtering capabilities of Microsoft’s OpenAI Azure solutions have made this collaboration a possibility. This will allow leading higher education institutions to set the tone for practical and responsible AI use in education.
AI-Systems in South Korea and Singapore
Countries like Singapore and South Korea have been preparing for the future of AI in education. Their goal is to create personalised learning experiences for students while reducing busy work for teachers. Singapore aims to become a world leader in AI by 2030, while South Korea seeks to level the playing field between public and private school students using personalised AI tutors. Each country is also seeking to improve the AI literacy of its educators and students within the next two to three years. Many other countries are also committed to these AI goals within education and seek to collaborate with researchers, governments, and organisations to guide this revolution in the education sector.
AI-Powered Learning Tools
For students and teachers, there are many learning and education-focused tools being developed. These AI-powered tools can often provide a safer, more reliable experience as they can be trained to only generate content from a given set of learning materials.
Khan Academy has a built-in AI that can provide assistance for teachers and tutoring for learners. Khanmigo offers personalised one-to-one tutoring for students. While teachers can benefit from AI-guided lesson planning and student feedback. Students can also use Khanmigo to improve their AI literacy by learning how to use, prompt, and navigate AI in a safe environment.
Jamworks is an AI-powered note taking, revision and lecture recording tool. This tool was designed to help students focus in lectures with distraction-free note taking features. Students can review their lectures in a quick, easy and accessible way using the power of AI. Jamworks can generate lecture summaries and flashcard-style quizzes from the recorded lecture content. This ensures students are learning from the most relevant and important learning materials.
Jamworks also provides students with an AI chatbot trained exclusively on the content of each lecture. There are a number of creative and engaging prompt templates to help students learn, understand and explore topics of interest or subjects they don’t quite understand in new and exciting ways.
Click to try the Jamworks AI note taking and revision features for yourself.
AI and the Future of Education
AI is likely to play a significant role in shaping the future of education. However, this is still an ongoing learning journey for everyone. Researchers, governments, and organisations are still addressing the concerns around the safety, credibility, and reliability of AI tools. There is ongoing guidance and best practices being shared, but it is clear that AI literacy will be essential moving forward. This can help students and teachers navigate AI in a critical and responsible way while benefiting from this developing technology.
Click here to see an example of cutting edge AI being used for education.