While we are just at the beginning of seeing the ways in which generative artificial intelligence (AI) can shape our world, we have already begun to see areas (and potential) areas of benefit in all industries, including AI.
In a time when teacher turnover is extremely high due to the demands for time and energy, and student needs continue to increase, AI provides an opportunity for relief and enhancement – shifting the role of teachers and giving them more space to focus on what is truly best for students.
Here are just a few ways AI is poised and ready to benefit education and our students (and teachers):
Streamline teacher roles
While I don’t believe AI can (or should) replace good teachers and educators, it can (and should) be used to automate some of the tasks they have been doing, giving them more time and energy to focus on the students. Some of these tasks might include grading, creating content, data entry, or administrative tasks. For each of these areas, while AI cannot take over sole responsibility, it can help streamline and cut down on time spent by teachers.
While AI will never replace the value of authentic assessment, for other means of assessment, it can assess large amounts of data quickly, apply a consistent (less biased) lens to any assessment, and quickly create personalized assessments based on the needs of those being evaluated. Using AI can complement other forms of human assessment in order to give a more comprehensive and accurate view of student learning.
By using AI tools, students can receive personalized content that meets their needs, interests, and level – all at their own pace. Additionally, these tools can provide real-time feedback to a classroom in a way that a single teacher just can’t, helping students to identify areas of improvement and immediately provide the needed resources and support.
Inclusivity and accessibility
All students have different needs when it comes to how they learn best, and using AI can help us to address them more effectively. AI can be used to provide materials in different formats so that those with hearing, sight, or mobility challenges can be included. It can source and create materials that represent various cultures and backgrounds so that all students feel represented. It was translate materials from one language to another, minimizing language barriers. It can support and/or challenge students according to their needs to that all students are getting what they need.
Ultimately, all of this leads to engagement. When students are able to get material at the level they need and that pertains to their interests and get real-time feedback while feeling seen, they are more likely to be engaged. And when they are engaged, it creates a much more effective and joyful learning environment.
I want to be very clear in that I appreciate the challenges inherent in the development of AI and absolutely advocate for intentional, thoughtful usage. I also fully recognize that we are only a few months into exploring the possibilities for this new technology. And, I believe AI hold so much potential to benefit all of education.
AI should not replace teachers. It should not replace solid pedagogy and curriculum. It should not replace the relationships between teachers and students and the human-touch that is so essential in education.
Rather, this is an incredible opportunity to reshape the role of teachers so that they are able to focus on empowering students in their learning and fostering skills like creativity, critical thinking, and compassion. Through the partnership between teachers and AI, we can create effective and joyful classrooms where students are engaged and getting exactly what they need while teachers are less burdened by the millions of tasks that come with the profession.