Why we need to stop being afraid and start getting creative.
This school year has been eye-opening when it comes to AI. In my seven years as an educator, I have never been so sure that the trajectory of how we educate students is about to be overhauled.
AI will change the game more than the pandemic or anything else.
It started with text-to-image software. Mind-boggling the first time you see and experience it. Then, I implemented images I created into creative free-writing opportunities. It was an excellent tool but had limited applications in the classroom.
Then Chat GPT happened. The tremendous power of a chatbot that can learn from your conversations with it should take humanity to another level. I say that, and I don’t believe I am exaggerating, which is scary.
I understand people being skeptical and afraid, I am, but facing our fears is the only way forward, and we need to be creative while we do it.
What’s on the line?
As educators, we must figure out the best way to help students prepare for the future. It’s our responsibility to give our students the tools to be successful.
The newness of AI’s capabilities does not allow us to ignore it if it can improve the education of our students. We must adapt to new technology, not for us, but for our students.
In the near future, the students that can effectively utilize AI will have better outcomes than those who cannot.
AI in the classroom is a valuable tool that has the potential to enhance education and help students succeed, but it requires us to be creative and overcome our fears.
The Benefits of AI in the Classroom
Access to information and resources
The internet already supplies us with seemingly infinite information, but wading through the vastness of the data using a search engine can take time and effort.
With access to AI, this process can be streamlined. For example, imagine having a conversation with a search engine, letting it know how to improve its results to help you find the sources you are looking for. Well, AI has that ability.
Ease of access to data is an enticing proposition. Any data AI has access to is readily at the fingertips of the user.
Increased efficiency and accuracy
Students can learn at a faster pace when using AI. This is because it can generate responses to a wide variety of nuanced questions quickly.
With time, accuracy will also improve. The nature of AI is that it can learn, so eventually, it will be the most accurate place to find information.
Teachers could use AI in classrooms to answer student questions with the power of the internet behind them. Or students could use AI to answer their questions and only come to the teacher if they are stuck.
Differentiation is essential for educators to ensure students with different abilities are challenged. For example, imagine a teacher creating an assignment and using an AI tool to differentiate it. This would save vital time and energy and keep students engaged in learning.
Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and other personalized learning plans, are already utilized in both public and private schools. These plans ensure students get the services they need to succeed in the classroom. Imagine having an AI that could help improve this process.
An AI could be trained to recognize areas where a student is succeeding and struggling or adapt a learning plan more regularly. But, AI has the power to personalize learning even further.
For example, a student could explore a historical topic with AI, asking questions until they feel they have a strong understanding. Then the AI could quiz the student based on the material to test knowledge. Next, AI could help the student fill any gaps.
Overcoming the Fears of AI in the Classroom
Fear of job loss for teachers
AI can do a lot of things, but it can’t replace teachers in the classroom. However, teachers might become more valuable if they are adept at using AI.
At the end of the day, AI is a tool. It is only as valuable and creative as the person inputting commands. It can’t supervise kids, help them regulate, or notice a situation that needs to be addressed.
Building strong relationships with students is super important to me as a teacher, and I think it’s a place I add value that AI could not replace.
Fear of student misuse
Students misusing AI is another fear. For example, AI could complete assignments for students, stopping them from learning what is intended.
AI could also mislead students if they are not careful. Sometimes, it takes a discerning eye to realize when AI-generated information should not be trusted.
Although these concerns are valid, they are similar to concerns related to internet use. If we properly train students to use AI, they will be more able to use it properly. Ignoring AI or trying to prohibit it outright would not fix these problems.
Getting Creative with AI in the Classroom
From using Chat GPT, I can attest that AI has the power to enhance creativity. Different forms of AI could be utilized in the classroom to help kids unlock their creativity. Helping students who struggle with getting started would be a welcome benefit.
As teachers, we need to think about how to integrate AI into activities and projects. Finding the appropriate balance of AI use will be difficult, but it could extend student learning if used correctly. The possibilities are incredible.
It will be interesting to see how quickly teachers can adopt and incorporate AI into their practice. Finding and sharing educational uses for AI could be a big part of the next chapter of education.
We need to stop being afraid of AI and get creative with it. It has the power to benefit both teachers and students immensely. Access to information, increased efficiency, and further personalization of learning are only a few benefits of AI in the classroom.
It’s crucial for educators to not only embrace AI in the classroom but also get creative with it. AI presents a unique opportunity to drastically improve education without burdening teachers.
Teachers, educators, schools, and districts should put doubts aside and embrace the future of AI in the classroom. Every moment counts when it comes to improving student outcomes.
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