AI in Education: 10 Research-Backed Ways to Leverage AI in the Classroom

Artificial intelligence in education is more than just a fad. Here’s why.

Do you hear alarm bells when you think about AI in the classroom? We get it. As parents ourselves, we believe artificial intelligence in education should only be used in ways that genuinely support positive outcomes for students.

In fact, one of our founding principles is that teachers are irreplaceable. Yet, we also believe that AI in education is here to stay for good.

By February 2023, more than 30% of all college students were already using ChatGPT for assignments. Most universities and schools use AI technologies for administrative assistance. And the AI education market, which was $1 billion in 2020, is projected to exceed $20 billion by 2027. 

In fact, you likely already have AI ed tech in your pocket. Think Duolingo, the language learning app with over 100 million downloads, or Grammarly, the spell check assistant with over 30 million fans. AI is certainly prevalent in schools near you.

Consequently, given this rapid scaling and adoption, teachers and school administrators are desperate for frameworks that can help them make wise decisions about when, where, and how to integrate AI into education. 

So, we’re sharing just some of our thoughts; some with specific examples, others with ideas of where the technology might be in 1-2 years. Here are our 10 research-backed reasons why artificial intelligence in education isn’t going away. And how you can meaningfully integrate this technology into the classroom.

1. Universal 24/7 Access to Learning

Stanford’s own Professor Noah Goodman likens Generative AI to the printing press, as it leads us into a new era in the democratization of knowledge. And he’s not wrong. Prof Jim’s generative AI technology is just one example that publishers and educators can use to easily create interactive resources which students can use anytime, anywhere. And students can always log in to ChatGPT for some late-night explanations while studying for exams. 

2. Support for Multilingual Learners

Let’s start with some stats:

  • More than 10% of all students in the US are designated ELL
  • 64% of US classrooms have at least one English language learner
  • 20-34% of US students identify as multilingual learners.

These aren’t just edge cases. Incorporating AI to translate languages in real-time is becoming essential for the new international landscape. Using AI enables affordable, simultaneous, and instantaneous translation for everything and everyone. Whether they’re teachers, classmates, textbooks, assignments, and exams.

3. Accessible, Personalized Learning

Artificial intelligence can be transformative for those who face neurodiverse challenges. In fact, we think that the ability of AI to support people with learning differences is truly one of its greatest opportunities for impact. We’ve listed some apps that support struggling readers and writers. However, other ideas include real-time transcriptions of class, and real-time chatbot conversations that can coach students on the nuances of soft skills that they might not naturally know they might need to navigate certain situations.

4. Smart, Adaptive Content

It’s 2023, and gamified learning is just getting started. With generative AI, personalized learning experiences can adapt to a student’s own reactions with far more precision than ever before. Individually-tailored virtual learning environments will become the norm as learning platforms grow to become more responsive to individual student input. Students will be able to take the same course, but might have different experiences and learning paths, based on their own learning needs, preferences, and pace. Adaptive AI can also support students that might miss school for long periods of time; or can even be leveraged for teachers who need a sick day.

5. High Quality, Engaging Content

Want to go to the space launch? Experiment with chemical interactions? Experience a historical event or the setting of your English class novel? Well, say no more. The possibilities are likely being generated as you read this! Already, teachers can now leverage AI curriculum design tools, like ours, to save time and quickly generate experiences for students to remember. As time goes on, we expect for AI tools to incorporate more augmented and virtual reality simulations to enable students to interact with materials in a whole new way.

6. Improved Instructional Quality & Teacher Efficacy

In the midst of a national teacher shortage, teacher support and coaching has never been more important. Before class begins, new teachers can submit drafted teaching materials to an AI system that can make suggestions for improving course quality. And then, once a class is in session, AI data analysis tools can make observations and provide post-lesson reports, whether in online classroom environments or in-classroom settings. For teachers who would be open to this kind of feedback, AI can provide them with hard-to-track indicators of success like student talk time, etc.

7. Improved Grading & Feedback Loops

Teachers can spend an inordinate amount of time grading. Rather than working night hours, AI can incorporate real-time automatic grading, which teachers can oversee. AI can offer students real-time, discreet feedback and suggestions for improvement for everyday homework assignments as well. This can help improve students’ confidence and performance and be “woven into the fabric of learning,” the kind of regular, ongoing diagnostic and formative assessments we know help students succeed.

8. Time-Saving Task Automation

AI-same saving hacks don’t only eliminate arduous grading tasks. Teachers can also streamline heavy workloads and help limit burnout by using learning management systems like Canvas or smooth app integrations like the new collab between Adobe Express and Google Classroom. Schools and districts, meanwhile, can streamline administrative tasks by using AI services like intelligent scheduling, enrollment/admissions management systems, and resource planning/forecasting tools. All of these are designed to save educators’ time and money and are, in fact, so effective that they’re already used as a matter of course in most schools, colleges, and universities. 

9. Student Progress Monitoring & Early Intervention Supports

Student progress analytics and dropout prediction tools—also known as early warning systems—help educators identify students in danger of poor academic performance or retention. These invaluable systems—which are already used by 90 percent of colleges and about half of public high schools—track student grades, attendance, and other factors to predict student success, identify when they might be veering off track, and allow teachers and counselors to intervene early.

10. Upholding Academic Integrity

While many have raised concerns about increases in plagiarism in the era of ChatGPT, artificial intelligence has actually been the engine behind best-in-class plagiarism detection services for years. Cult-favorite TurnItIn, for example, is an AI-driven app, which I actually personally used for years as a high school English teacher to screen essays for academic integrity. TurnItIn has added an AI-detection feature to their services and, while no plagiarism detection software is perfect, it’s a dynamic tool that’s sure to grow in utility as we navigate new conversations about academic integrity in the AI era.

Understanding the Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Education

Ultimately, to uphold our own integrity as technologists and educators–we need to “start from what is good teaching and learning, ” writes Jeremy Roschelle, Principal Investigator in AI and the Future of Learning. So, what is good teaching and learning? It is, at least in part:

  • Universal, personalized accessibility. 
  • Adaptive, engaging, and high-quality content.
  • Equity, democratizing access, and closing achievement gaps.
  • Timely, actionable student feedback. 
  • Continuous improvement to instruction. 
  • Monitoring student progress for interventions and success. 
  • Mindful of schools’ time, money, and resources.

Artificial intelligence in education is here to stay.

So, we get the skepticism. It’s easy to get lost in the “noise” of AI and feel like we have to do it all but end up doing nothing at all. Or, we may find ourselves anxiously adopting a mishmash of apps without a clear strategy just to check off the AI box. But as we redefine the role of artificial intelligence in education, let’s keep an open mind and adapt accordingly. Together, we can chart a course that maximizes the potential of AI in education and paves the way for a future of transformative learning.

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