AI used for Education must be driven by teachers not inflicted on teachers

Teachers need to be central agents in deciding how AI is used in education. Perhaps we should talk about EdAI rather than AIEd to make this point. It is teachers who will be the orchestrators of when, and how, to use AIEd tools. In turn, the AIEd tools, and the data driven insights that these tools provide, will empower teachers to decide how best to marshal the various resources at their disposal.

Orchestrator1More than this, though, teachers – alongside learners and parents – should be central to the design of AIEd tools, and the ways in which they are used. This participatory design methodology will ensure that the messiness of real classrooms is taken into account and that the tools deliver the support that educators need – not the support that technologists or designers think they need.

Teachers who take part in these processes will gain increased technological literacy, new design skills, and a greater understanding of what AIEd systems can offer.

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The increased introduction of AI-powered tools will serve as a catalyst for the transformation of the role of the teacher. AIEd is well placed to take on some of the tasks that we currently expect teachers to do – marking and record keeping, for example.
Freedom from routine, time-consuming tasks will allow teachers to devote more of their energies to the creative and very human acts that provide the ingenuity and empathy needed to take learning to the next level.

As this transformation takes place, teachers will need to develop new skills (maybe through professional development delivered through an AIEd system). Specifically they will need:
• A sophisticated understanding of what AIEd systems can do to enable them to evaluate new AIEd products and make a sound judgement about its value to them, and their students
• To develop research skills to allow them to interpret the data provided by AIEd technologies, to ask the most useful questions of the data, and to walk students through what the data analysis is telling them (for instance, using Open Learner models)
• New teamworking and management skills as each teacher will have AI assistants in addition to their usual human teaching assistants, and they will be responsible for combining and managing these resource most effectively

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Most excitingly, with the evolution of the teacher’s role will also come the evolution of the classroom, as AIEd tools allow us to realise what it is unrealistic to expect any teacher or lecturer to do alone. For example, making the positive impact of one-to-one tutoring available to every child, or realising effective collaborative learning (a difficult activity to keep on track without some form of additional support).

 

This post is an adapted extract from Intelligence Unleashed published by Pearson.

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