Should AI in the classroom be feared or praised?

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In the midst of ongoing discussions about the increasing presence of AI in classrooms and its impact on the future, we asked David Payne, a Teaching Excellence Program teacher and an experienced teacher specialising in technology and AI, to share his valuable insights on the integration of AI in educational settings. Here's what David had to say:

"Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a subject of both excessive praise and fear for its potential impact in education. Reflecting on the rapid integration of smartphones in today’s society, I believe we missed an opportunity to embrace their benefits in education. Integrating smartphones into education offers numerous advantages, such as instant access to information and personalised learning experiences. They can facilitate collaboration, communication, and the development of digital literacy skills, promoting inclusivity and enhancing student engagement. The Department of Education's initiative to explore the impact of generative AI through a cross-sectoral community of practice is commendable, signalling the need for educators' involvement.

The most inspiring aspect of generative AI is its potential to foster equity, enabling every student to explore ideas and think critically. It enhances problem-solving and critical thinking skills across various subjects, from creative writing to STEM. While risks and debates surround generative AI, I am excited to see students unlocking its capabilities through problem-solving. As we navigate this rapidly evolving landscape, we must not limit students to a predetermined model of interaction or attempt to teach the best way to use AI when its future capabilities remain uncertain. Instead, we should enable students to freely explore and engage with generative AI, embracing its potential while considering ethical considerations. By doing so, we empower them to become creative, critical learners, leveraging generative AI as a transformative tool for learning and innovation."

To explore this topic further we asked AI to generate what it thinks the future of classrooms in Australia will look like and below are the results!

AI generated image of future classrooms in Australia    AI generated image of a future classroom in Australia   

AI generated image of a future classroom in Australia    AI generated image of a future classroom in Australia

David’s comments on these images were:

“Generative AI possesses the capacity to generate imaginative depictions of design futures. However, this work also provides an opportunity to analyse the inherent biases within large language models. In what ways can students critique these biases, and how can they modify their prompts to create captivating artifacts that encompass the diversity of humanity?”

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Last updated 24 October 2023