News on the progress of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has increased at an exponential rate in the past few years and no organisation can apparently say how AI will affect their organisation in detail.
Carrying out a search on the internet on AI and Education will show papers from UNESCO, the USA Office of Educational Technology and the EU commission outlining their recommendations. However, to find the policies of the UK you must search within the departments website to discover the statement:
“We're seeking views on how generative artificial intelligence (AI) is being used across education in England, and the opportunities and risks it presents.”
So at least progress is being made.
The above statement refers to a consultation that was to be closed at 5.00pm on 23rd August 2023.
In the European Commission’s 112 page publication on AI was the statement:
“While many writers and government ministries have expressed their hope that AI will save teacher time (Bryant et al. 2020; Miao and Holmes 2021b), others have suggested that AI will at some point make teachers de facto redundant – or at least their role will be reconfigured as classroom orchestrators/technology facilitators……”
The above comment shows how serious the potential problem of AI and Education must be taken. I comment on this passage towards the end of this article.
Factors to be considered
- AI has been with us for many years in many disguises from to the point where Google AI can make a phone call for you. We live in this world that is destined to become more shaped by AI, but it needs to be controlled.
- AI is already improving traditional teaching methods by enhancing the students’ best aspects and correcting their flaws.
- AI can be available for students 24/7, encouraging remote learning. It can even take care of many tedious administrative tasks allowing teachers more time to focus on their students.
- AI is not only proper support for students with learning disabilities but can also help bridge the language gap for non-native students. Speech recognition and subtitle generation tools enable learners to access information delivered in foreign languages, making knowledge exchange easier and borderless.
The Way Ahead
I do not believe for one minute that AI will make teachers obsolete. It is and will continue to be a great asset to teachers, but the role of a teacher goes beyond teaching to a specification from some examining body. They are also instrumental in preparing students for the life they must face beyond schools, colleges and universities. The lockdown taught us how many children had to be taught social skills once they returned to a formal educational environment.
Wishing all students young and old a successful year ahead.