By Rahul Subramaniam
As the buzz surrounding AI tools like ChatGPT sweeps the globe, we are bound to see this technology pervade every aspect of our lives. This reality is no different for educators and academic institutions. When the freakishly capable chatbot was first released in late November, it sent teachers into a panic, raising immediate ethical concerns. Amid the havoc, however, is there a silver lining? ChatGPT may serve to improve the lives of teachers and streamline the pedagogical process as a whole.
For starters, automated grading and personalized feedback can revolutionize how teachers grade assignments, tests, and essays. This technology could help alleviate the arduous task of grading hundreds of multiple-choice or short-answer questions, and could even provide feedback on written assignments, generating personalized feedback for students based on their performance. This increased customization can account for a wider range of learning styles and be the next big step in the race toward personalized learning, which tailors teaching methods to the unique particularities of every student’s individual needs and mind.
Not only will ChatGPT change the way assignments are assessed, it can also support teachers to develop lesson plans and other teaching materials. By leveraging the power of ChatGPT, teachers can generate new ideas for classroom activities, find relevant academic articles, and even generate writing prompts or discussion questions. In doing so, the tool frees up instructors to support individual students and innovate novel approaches to curriculum delivery and retention
Thanks to technology, education is growing increasingly democratized, but it also runs the risk of becoming less engaging. Luckily, AI tools can facilitate online teaching by providing prompts to facilitate online class discussions. With tech-enabled learning management systems or virtual classrooms, teachers can provide students instant access to accurate information and answers to their questions. This can help students learn more efficiently as they receive information in real-time.
To promote inclusion of multilingual students, teachers can use this tool to translate course materials or communications into different languages with a high degree of accuracy. With ChatGPT’s language translation capabilities, teachers can easily translate course materials and communications into other languages, allowing students to access information in their native language and enabling effective communication and learning.
While AI’s benefits seem endless, we must acknowledge and tackle the various ethical concerns with irresponsibly incorporating these tools in the classroom:
Lack of human touch: AI can deliver personalized learning experiences, but may lack the human interaction necessary to support emotional growth for students. A teacher can motivate and inspire students and offer support and empathy that AI may be unable to replicate.
Over-reliance on technology: Over-dependence can lead to students needing more critical thinking, social interaction, and creativity. Teachers should help students develop these skills through face-to-face interactions and group activities.
Job loss: Replacing teachers with AI can lead to job loss and economic instability for educators.
We must use AI to enhance teaching, not replace it entirely. AI can be used to provide personalized learning experiences, assist with administrative tasks, and provide data-driven insights to help teachers better understand their students’ needs. However, it’s essential to maintain the human touch that teachers offer by continuing to prioritize face-to-face interactions and group activities.
We should also ensure that teachers are well-equipped with the skills to incorporate AI in the classroom. This includes providing professional development opportunities, investing in education technology infrastructure, and creating policies for the ethical use of AI in education.
Finally, we must ensure that teachers continue to feel valued, that their contributions are meaningful and worthwhile. This means providing competitive salaries, benefits, and opportunities for growth and advancement. By striking the right balance between AI and the human touch, we can create a more effective and equitable education system.
The author is co-founder and Managing Director of Athena education. Views are personal.