The AI Revolution in Teaching


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Will artificial intelligence replace our teachers?

AI’s role in education is growing, but human teachers remain irreplaceable due to their unique qualities and classroom insights …

This above question was posed in a short research paper published by the University of Hong Kong, The AI Revolution in Education: Will AI Replace or Assist Teachers in Higher Education? (Chan & Tsi, 2023).

AI lacks the ability to replicate critical thinking

The AI Revolution in Education: Will AI Replace or Assist Teachers in Higher Education?AI is increasingly integrated into classroom education, offering personalised learning, real-time feedback, and admin support. Intelligent tutoring systems and virtual teaching assistants can provide one-on-one tutoring, handle routine tasks, and offer immediate feedback.

I’m also seeing endless pieces of software published, from many start-ups and established companies. Some of the AI tools are fantastic, yet much regurgitates tools available freely, or things that are simply not needed.

However, despite these capabilities, AI lacks the ability to replicate the critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence that human teachers provide. This places teachers in first place for delivering adaptive teaching, including supporting social-emotional learning and any cultural nuances.

Understanding AI’s limitations and strengths

Understanding AI’s limitations and strengths is crucial because while AI can enhance efficiency and support learning, it lacks the social-emotional competencies (to date) essential for holistic student development. AI can manage routine tasks, freeing up teachers to focus on higher-level responsibilities, such as curriculum development and student mentoring. However, AI’s inability to provide emotional support, build trust, and engage in meaningful interactions underscores the irreplaceable role of IRL teachers.

As AI becomes more prevalent, teachers must adapt and learn to integrate these technologies effectively to ensure that students receive a balanced education.

There is a useful roadmap offered inside the paper highlighting the limitations of AI in education:

With ethical implications in mind …

Teachers should incorporate AI to handle routine tasks and provide personalised feedback, freeing up time for more complex teaching duties. For instance, AI can be used for lesson planning, summarising content, and generating engaging scenarios for students.

AI can also assist in improving students’ writing and research skills by offering structure, clarity, and logic in their work. More importantly, ignore AI at your peril, and we fail to prepare students for an AI-driven future that involves ensuring they become proficient in using AI technologies and understanding their implications. Understanding AI’s current strengths and pitfalls, teachers can enhance their teaching methods and focus on developing students’ critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence.

Reflection questions for teachers to consider

  1. How can teachers use AI to enhance their teaching without compromising the human touch?
  2. What tasks could AI take over to free up more of teachers’ time?
  3. How can teachers ensure students develop social-emotional skills alongside academic knowledge?
  4. What are the ethical considerations of using AI in the classroom?
  5. How can teachers integrate AI literacy into their curriculum?
  6. How will teachers monitor the accuracy and reliability of AI-generated content?
  7. What strategies can teachers use to prevent students from over-relying on AI?
  8. How can AI help teachers provide more personalised feedback to students?
  9. What professional development do teachers need to effectively use AI in their teaching?
  10. How can teachers use AI to support students with special educational needs?

The research concludes with a citation from John Hattie’s Visible Learning: The Sequel (2023):

… teachers continue to be the most influential factor in student learning success, particularly in regard to what teachers think. This remains true despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the resulting distance learning.

Download the full paper.

Image: ChatGPT 4.0


One thought on “The AI Revolution in Teaching

  1. AI will take up a portion of a teachers’ roles but it won’t replace them. It will be interesting too see in the future how it is incorporated in homework as a checking and research medium.

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