AI (Artificial Intelligence) can potentially transform K12 education in numerous ways. It has become increasingly popular in education, as it is seen as a way to improve learning outcomes and increase student engagement. In this article, we will explore how AI impacts K12 education and overview its benefits and challenges. So, how can AI help in K12 education?
Benefits of AI in K12 Education
The promise of AI in K-12 education is vast, with numerous potential avenues for transformation. A short-list might include examples such as:
Dropout Prevention with AI. These initiatives can be used to detect better early warning signs of potential trouble giving staff time to intervene before it’s too late
Decrease Grading Time with AI. We're all familiar with Scantron, typically used in multiple-choice and true-false tests, but AI is now being used for short-form fill-in-the-blank and dynamic multiple-choice assessments. As technologies improve, AI will become proficient in understanding essays to help free-up teachers' time, allowing them to focus more on instruction and student interaction
AI and Personalized Learning. AI helps teachers customize instruction, implement student-specific SEL activities, and adjust content pacing for individual students – all of which help teachers meet students where they are and create a learning environment tailored to each student’s needs, regardless of their ability level.
AI as a Language Barrier Assistant. AI is being used to aid students with communication and language barriers. For example, students with vision or hearing loss use technologies such as the new PowerPoint plug-in Presentation Translator that produces real-time subtitles for classroom presentations.
Improving Diagnostics using AI. AI can help guide instruction, giving teachers the ability to pin-point better specific concepts that may present obstacles to student learning, which in turn allows for customization of lesson plans to shift focus from concepts the student may have already mastered to spending time on those concepts that are more difficult – further maximizing instructional time for teachers and students alike.
AI Challenges: The Validity of Student Work
Educators and policymakers want to ensure that AI enhances teaching and learning, not replace it. A memorable example is the recent introduction of Chat GPT into present-day education vernacular. This has brought some challenges associated with its use by students. That’s why ChatGPT was recently banned in prominent US school districts such as LA USD, New York City DOE, Prince George’s County Schools, Seattle Public Schools, and Charlotte-Mecklenberg Public Schools. OpenAI’s generative ChatGPT is prompting schools to revise their software use policies on school servers and support education outside of school grounds when school devices are used.
Despite these concerns and district-wide bans since its introduction in November 2022, a February 2023 survey conducted by The Walton Family Foundation found that 67% of surveyed teachers felt ChatGPT and similar AI technologies should not be banned. With their recent release of a new classifier designed to distinguish between human-written and AI-written content, Open AI is doing its part to quell school officials’ worries about plagiarism and cheating dominating K12 and higher ed discourse.
AI’s Reliability and Accuracy
While student cheating is a concern with technology such as ChatGPT, so is the tendency to provide wrong or misleading answers. Reliability and accuracy, generation of false positives, and difficulty in recognizing nuances of human behavior are often cited as the biggest concerns of AI-based systems. These systems rely upon algorithms, and the fact is that these algorithms may not always be accurate. To work accurately, AI-based systems require an immense amount of data to be effective, and this data may not always be accessible.
The impact of AI on Personalized Learning and Instruction
Pointing out similar concerns as the internet and Google began to find their place in the classroom, Betty Chandy from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education feels that Chat GPT and similar AI technologies will become ‘tools to empower teachers to meet students’ needs more efficiently and effectively.’ Instead of signaling a trend that opens the door for cheating. plagiarism, misinformation, and replacement of teachers with technology; Chandy sees these technologies evolving to become great teachers’ assistants. ‘I do not see a future in which any kind of technology replaces teachers.’
To help guarantee the authenticity of student work, Chandy recommends using tools like Google docs to track the development of students’ work to ensure they are not copying/pasting from Chat GPT. Additionally, building project-based learning scenarios focused on local and authentic contexts will minimize students' likelihood of relying upon Chat GPT. Though AI may be used to guide their work similarly to how the internet is currently used, individual expression, thoughts, and ideas are a requirement of well-developed projects and cannot be accomplished via AI technologies.
Saving Time for Teachers with AI
Ed-tech influencer and the Easy Ed Tech Podcast host, Dr. Monica Burns, sees Chat GPT and similar technologies as a golden opportunity to help teachers save time in their day-to-day classroom workload. A proponent of teachers working smarter, not harder, Burns details 7 time-saving tips teachers can use in their classrooms immediately.
Email Reminders. Generating email reminders for parents or students by typing in the prompt ‘write an email reminder to parents to bring in field trip money by Thurs’ and Chat GPT will write the email providing teachers with the opportunity to customize dates, times, locations, etc.
Student Guides. Using Chat GPT to create guides students could use in writing descriptive essays by asking Chat GPT for tips on strategies students can use to help them strengthen an opening paragraph of a descriptive essay or consistency of voice or similar.
Improve sentences. Chat GPT can make the text more comprehensible by generating succinct phrases and sentences to improve the clarity of a student’s writing. Students can type ‘Make this sentence more concise...’ into the prompt box and paste the sentence they want to revise.
Guide research. Chat GPT can also aid research by asking the technology ‘Where can I go to find...’ specific research. Google will generate a similar list, but Chat GPT will provide answers and descriptions that differentiate the various research sources available on a given topic, thereby increasing the efficiency of the initial search for resources.
Simplify paragraphs. Have Chat GPT help you create a simplified explanation or to make directions for students more concise or less confusing by typing in ‘Simplify this paragraph’ and then pasting the statement(s) into the prompt to simplify vocabulary and sentence structure to make it easier for students to understand.
Explain processes. Use Chat GPT to break down a process by asking Chat GPT to ‘Explain the process of...’ which will generate a stepped-out process you can edit and customize.
Guide student writing. Prompt Chat GPT generates a set of writing prompts that can be shared with students on a given topic.
Though it is not intended to produce final results for any of these tips, Burns recommends using Chat GPT as a tool to develop initial ideas or lists, which can then be customized and revised depending on their intended use with students. Starting from a blank canvas is sometimes challenging – Chat GPT provides material teachers can use to help jump-start some of these common tasks and save teachers lots of time.
AI and Student Engagement
AI can also be used to increase student engagement in the classroom. AI-based systems can be used to create interactive lessons and activities tailored to each student's interests and abilities. Additionally, AI-based systems can track student progress and provide real-time feedback to teachers and students, helping to ensure that students stay focused and engaged in their learning.
Real-time AI is being utilized nationwide to help schools ensure that school devices remain used, not for accessing distracting YouTube or gaming content, but for learning. Deledao, the developer of InstantAI™ technology, is leading the field in providing schools with a powerful solution that recognizes web content ambiguity, contextual nuance, and inventive spelling. Using InstantAI™, the Deledao ActiveInstruct solution gives instructional teams a powerful tool teachers can use to share digital resources, build flexible groupings, and engage 1:1 with students. At the same time, InstantAI™ technology ensures students remain engaged with the lesson plan content. Teachers are no longer tied to their screens, policing a matrix grid of student screens to close tabs or lock browsers of students who’ve ventured down digital rabbit holes. ActiveInstruct™ gives digital learning environments back to teachers, freeing up class time to help students!
The implications for the use of AI in K12 are virtually limitless. With the help of AI, K12 institutions can leverage data to improve student outcomes, identify areas of improvement, and create a personalized learning experience for each student. AI can also support teachers in improving their instructional practices and providing targeted support to students who need it. As a result, K12 institutions that embrace AI will be better equipped to meet the needs of their students and prepare them for success in the 21st century.
Employing revolutionary InstantAI™ technology, Deledao ensures your online students remain on task and target for success.
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