Will AI enhance or replace teachers?

Perhaps 2023 will be remembered as the year when there was global interest in artificial intelligence in education (AiEd). Though still in its early stages, many expect AI could lead to significant changes in education. It's often said that teachers need to be ready to embrace the future. However, it's not always clear what guidance and support teachers receive to prepare themselves for this future. In this newsletter, we identify relevant international experiences on how to train, upskill, and guide educators through the changing but also fascinating landscape of AiEd (blog).

1. What disruption can AI create in the education sector and beyond?

The website Will Robots Take My Job suggests that the automation risk for teachers due to AI is fairly low. However, the website indicates that other professions may be at higher risk of automation, such as Accountants and Auditors. This website is grounded in an influential study conducted by the University of Oxford which states that AI will make many jobs easier to do for low skilled employees. With an increased scope for automation. There is a call for educators to consider how to bridge these gaps and leverage the potential of AI for positive and inclusive outcomes. Without policy interventions to increase access, AI could exacerbate the digital divide in education.

2. What competencies will teachers need to effectively adopt AI?

Digital skills for teachers are in high demand in many countries. However, existing digital skills or competency frameworks are currently under revision. An interesting example is the UNESCO AI Competency Frameworks for Teachers and School Students. Here is a Call for Comments on the draft AI Competency Frameworks for Teachers. The proposed Frameworks outline a progression of understanding, applying, and creating AI competencies across various aspects. You can also follow its live collaborative production (but remember: this is a work-in-progress). Korea has also reported work in this field.

3. Where I can find guidance to support teachers in AiEd?

The following selected AiEd resources highlight the potential of AI technologies to transform education by providing personalized and adaptive learning experiences, feedback and evaluation, creative and critical thinking skills, and data analysis and insights for students and teachers. However, they also acknowledge the challenges and risks of using AI in education, such as reliability, accuracy, ethics, bias, misinformation, privacy, and safety. These resources are: Toolkit for AI in Education (by AI Teaching); AI Guide for Elementary Teachers (by ISTE); AiEd Toolkits for Educators and Policymakers (by AI Education Project); Pedagogical and Ethical Guidance for Educators (by European Digital Educational Hub Reports); and Academic Dishonesty (by the University of Chicago).

4. What does the evidence say about teaching with AI?

The evidence is still preliminary, here’s a selection of results to consider:

  • GPT-4 could support inclusive and effective education for Generation Z in Indonesia, with proper adaptation, ethics, and safety (e-journal.president.ac.id).
  • GPTeach provides benefits such as reduced time pressure and varied student personas for teachers-in-training, allowing novice teachers to practice teaching with simulated students generated by GPT (edarxiv.org).
  • AI can augment teachers in providing feedback, assessment, and guidance to students, help teachers by developing tailored lesson plans or homework (op.europa.eu)
  • ChatGPT can be used to generate feedback and evaluation for English as a foreign language (EFL) learners, such as error correction, scoring, and rubrics (langedutech.com).      
  • Some of the AiEd tools are geared toward improving students' math and science skills (ieeexplore.ieee.org).

5. Videos to learn more about AiEd, teachers and the road ahead
--This series of short videos by Ethan Mollick offers an introduction to ChatGPT and how it can be used for various teaching purposes: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0EdWFC9ZZrUAirFa2amE4Hg05KqCWhoq

--How Taiwan is Bringing in Generative AI to Help Students Learn English:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLn1Of6EnYY&ab_channel=MicrosoftAsia

--Will AI Replace Teachers? Thoughts by Dr Wayne Holmes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9VldgqtLfc&ab_channel=Asia-EuropeFoundation

*This note was prepared by the EdTech Team*

Posted in Education and ICT on Oct 24, 2023

Cristóbal Cobo