The double-edged sword of AI in education

Article by Rose Luckin: “Artificial intelligence (AI) could revolutionize education as profoundly as the internet has already revolutionized our lives. However, our experience with commercial internet platforms gives us pause. Consider how social media algorithms, designed to maximize engagement and ad revenue, have inadvertently promoted divisive content and misinformation, a development at odds with educational goals.

Like the commercialization of the internet, the AI consumerization trend, driven by massive investments across sectors, prioritizes profit over societal and educational benefits. This focus on monetization risks overshadowing crucial considerations about AI’s integration into educational contexts.

The consumerization of AI in education is a double-edged sword. While increasing accessibility, it could also undermine fundamental educational principles and reshape students’ attitudes toward learning. We must advocate for a thoughtful, education-centric approach to AI development that enhances, rather than replaces, human intelligence and recognises the value of effort in learning.

As generative AI systems for education emerge, technical experts and policymakers have a unique opportunity to ensure their design supports the interests of learners and educators.

Risk 1: Overestimating AI’s intelligence

In essence, learning is not merely an individual cognitive process but a deeply social endeavor, intricately linked to cultural context, language development, and the dynamic relationship between practical experience and theoretical knowledge…(More)”.

A Generation of AI Guinea Pigs

Article by Caroline Mimbs Nyce: “This spring, the Los Angeles Unified School District—the second-largest public school district in the United States—introduced students and parents to a new “educational friend” named Ed. A learning platform that includes a chatbot represented by a small illustration of a smiling sun, Ed is being tested in 100 schools within the district and is accessible at all hours through a website. It can answer questions about a child’s courses, grades, and attendance, and point users to optional activities.

As Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho put it to me, “AI is here to stay. If you don’t master it, it will master you.” Carvalho says he wants to empower teachers and students to learn to use AI safely. Rather than “keep these assets permanently locked away,” the district has opted to “sensitize our students and the adults around them to the benefits, but also the challenges, the risks.” Ed is just one manifestation of that philosophy; the school district also has a mandatory Digital Citizenship in the Age of AI course for students ages 13 and up.

Ed is, according to three first graders I spoke with this week at Alta Loma Elementary School, very good. They especially like it when Ed awards them gold stars for completing exercises. But even as they use the program, they don’t quite understand it. When I asked them if they know what AI is, they demurred. One asked me if it was a supersmart robot…(More)”.

ChatGPT in Teaching and Learning: A Systematic Review

Paper by Duha Ali: “The increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in education has raised questions about the implications of ChatGPT for teaching and learning. A systematic literature review was conducted to answer these questions, analyzing 112 scholarly articles to identify the potential benefits and challenges related to ChatGPT use in educational settings. The selection process was thorough to ensure a comprehensive analysis of the current academic discourse on AI tools in education. Our research sheds light on the significant impact of ChatGPT on improving student engagement and accessibility and the critical issues that need to be considered, including concerns about the quality and bias of generated responses, the risk of plagiarism, and the authenticity of educational content. The study aims to summarize the utilizations of ChatGPT in teaching and learning by addressing the identified benefits and challenges through targeted strategies. The authors outlined some recommendations that will ensure that the integration of ChatGPT into educational frameworks enhances learning outcomes while safeguarding academic standards…(More)”.

Training new teachers with digital simulations

Report by the Susan McKinnon Foundation: “This report shows the findings of a rapid review of the global literature on immersive simulation for teacher preparation. It finds that immersive digital simulations – and corresponding supports – can create significant positive shifts in trainee teacher skills, knowledge, and self-efficacy. The evidence is strong; of the 35 articles in our review, 30 studies show positive improvements in trainee teacher outcomes. The 30 studies showing positive effects include studies with rigorous designs, including a comprehensive systematic review with many well designed randomised controlled studies (the ‘gold standard’ of research). Benefits are seen across a range of teaching skills, from classroom management and teaching instruction through to better communication skills with parents and colleagues.

Six active ingredients in the implementation of digital simulations are important. This includes incorporating opportunities for: [1] instructional coaching, [2] feedback, [3] observation, [4] visual examples or models of best practice, [5] high dosage, that is, practicing many times over and [6]
strong underpinning theory and content… (More)”.

Brave New Words: How AI Will Revolutionize Education (and Why That’s a Good Thing)

Book by Salman Khan: “…explores how artificial intelligence and GPT technology will transform learning, and offers a road map for teachers, parents, and students to navigate this exciting (and sometimes intimidating) new world.

A pioneer in the field of education technology, Khan examines the ins and outs of these cutting-edge tools and how they will revolutionize the way we learn and teach. For parents concerned about their children’s success, Khan illustrates how AI can personalize learning by adapting to each student’s individual pace and style, identifying strengths and areas for improvement, and offering tailored support and feedback to complement traditional classroom instruction. Khan emphasizes that embracing AI in education is not about replacing human interaction but enhancing it with customized and accessible learning tools that encourage creative problem-solving skills and prepare students for an increasingly digital world.

But Brave New Words is not just about technology—it’s about what this technology means for our society, and the practical implications for administrators, guidance counselors, and hiring managers who can harness the power of AI in education and the workplace. Khan also delves into the ethical and social implications of AI and large language models, offering thoughtful insights into how we can use these tools to build a more accessible education system for students around the world…(More)”.

Shaping the Future of Learning: The Role of AI in Education 4.0

WEF Report: “This report explores the potential for artificial intelligence to benefit educators, students and teachers. Case studies show how AI can personalize learning experiences, streamline administrative tasks, and integrate into curricula.

The report stresses the importance of responsible deployment, addressing issues like data privacy and equitable access. Aimed at policymakers and educators, it urges stakeholders to collaborate to ensure AI’s positive integration into education systems worldwide leads to improved outcomes for all…(More)”

Power and Governance in the Age of AI

Reflections by several experts: “The best way to think about ChatGPT is as the functional equivalent of expensive private education and tutoring. Yes, there is a free version, but there is also a paid subscription that gets you access to the latest breakthroughs and a more powerful version of the model. More money gets you more power and privileged access. As a result, in my courses at Middlebury College this spring, I was obliged to include the following statement in my syllabus:

“Policy on the use of ChatGPT: You may all use the free version however you like and are encouraged to do so. For purposes of equity, use of the subscription version is forbidden and will be considered a violation of the Honor Code. Your professor has both versions and knows the difference. To ensure you are learning as much as possible from the course readings, careful citation will be mandatory in both your informal and formal writing.”

The United States fails to live up to its founding values when it supports a luxury brand-driven approach to educating its future leaders that is accessible to the privileged and a few select lottery winners. One such “winning ticket” student in my class this spring argued that the quality-education-for-all issue was of such importance for the future of freedom that he would trade his individual good fortune at winning an education at Middlebury College for the elimination of ALL elite education in the United States so that quality education could be a right rather than a privilege.

A democracy cannot function if the entire game seems to be rigged and bought by elites. This is true for the United States and for democracies in the making or under challenge around the world. Consequently, in partnership with other liberal democracies, the U.S. government must do whatever it can to render both public and private governance more transparent and accountable. We should not expect authoritarian states to help us uphold liberal democratic values, nor should we expect corporations to do so voluntarily…(More)”.

Data Must Speak: Positive Deviance Research

Report by UNICEF: “Despite the global learning crisis, even in the most difficult contexts, there are some “positive deviant” schools that outperform others in terms of learning, gender equality, and retention. Since 2019, in line with UNICEF’s Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Programme, Data Must Speak (DMS) research identifies these positive deviant schools, explores which behaviours and practices make them outperform others, and investigates how these could be implemented in lower performing schools in similar contexts. DMS research uses a sequential, participatory, mixed-methods approach to improve uptake, replicability, and sustainability. The research is being undertaken in 14 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America…(More)”.

The 5 Stages of Data Must Speak Research

Data Science for Social Impact in Higher Education:  First Steps playbook: “… was designed to help you expand opportunities for social impact data science learning. As you browse, you will see a range of these opportunities including courses, modules for other courses, research and internship opportunities, and a variety of events and activities. The playbook also offers lessons learned to guide you through your process. Additionally, the Playbook includes profiles of students who have engaged in data science for social impact, guidance for engaging partners, and additional resources relating to evaluation and courses. We hope that this playbook will inspire and support your efforts to bring social impact data science to your institutions…

As you look at the range of ways you might bring data science for social impact to your students, remember that the intention is not for you to replicate what is here, but rather adapt them to your local contexts and conditions. You might draw pieces from several activities and combine them to create a customized strategy that works for you. Consider the assets you have around you and how you might be able to leverage them. At the same time, imagine how some of the lessons learned might reflect barriers you might face, as well. Most importantly, know that it is possible for you to create data science for social impact at your institution to bring benefit to your students and society…(More)”.

AI chatbots do work of civil servants in productivity trial

Article by Paul Seddon: “Documents disclosed to the BBC have shed light on the use of AI-powered chatbot technology within government.

The chatbots have been used to analyse lengthy reports – a job that would normally be done by humans.

The Department for Education, which ran the trial, hopes it could boost productivity across Whitehall.

The PCS civil service union says it does not object to the use of AI – but clear guidelines are needed “so the benefits are shared by workers”.

The latest generation of chatbots, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), can quickly analyse reams of information, including images, to answer questions and summarise long articles.

They are expected to upend working practices across the economy in the coming years, and the government says they will have “significant implications” for the way officials work in future.

The education department ran the eight-week study over the summer under a contract with London-based company, to test how so-called large language models (LLMs) could be used by officials.

The firm’s researchers used its access to a premium version of ChatGPT, the popular chatbot developed by OpenAI, to analyse draft local skills training plans that had been sent to the department to review.

These plans, drawn up by bodies representing local employers, are meant to influence the training offered by local further education colleges.

Results from the pilot are yet to be published, but documents and emails requested by the BBC under Freedom of Information laws offer an insight into the project’s aims.

According to an internal document setting out the reasons for the study, a chatbot would be used to summarise and compare the “main insights and themes” from the training plans.

The results, which were to be compared with summaries produced by civil servants, would test how Civil Service “productivity” might be improved.

It added that language models could analyse long, unstructured documents “where previously the only other option for be for individuals to read through all the reports”.

But the project’s aims went further, with hopes the chatbot could help provide “useful insights” that could help the department’s skills unit “identify future skills needs across the country”…(More)”.