How AI could transform the education system

Software, Media & Technology

With technology rapidly changing means that people need to adapt and integrate new software within their life in order to stay up-to-date.  AI opens new opportunities for the education sector, but there are concerns around its proper use.  AI has been used within education for a few years now with universities using it to detect plagiarism as well as it being used for analysing student data, but as there has been further development within the technology with the introduction of new software like ChatGPT being created, has caused an uproar into how the software should be used within education or even used at all.

Recently, all 24 Russel group UK universities have begun drawing up principles to ensure that students and staff are AI literate. At one stage, there were talks of banning software like ChatGPT in order to prevent cheating however, the guidance is now saying that students should be taught how to use the software appropriately within their studies which will help to make them aware of the risks of plagiarism, bias and inaccuracy in generative AI. The universities have reviewed their academic conduct policies and guidance to reflect the emergence of generative AI. The guidance states “These policies make it clear to students and staff where the use of generative AI is inappropriate and are intended to support them in making informed decisions and empower them to use these tools appropriately and acknowledge their use where necessary.”

The Benefits

AI has been found to be beneficial for the education sector with it being used by both students and teachers. One of the benefits of AI being used is that it allows for the students’ education to become more personalised.  AI systems can analyse vast amounts of data which focuses on things like students’ performance, learning styles and preferences which in course of time will allow students to be taught more specifically to their needs and not in one generalised way of teaching. As well as it being beneficial for students, teachers have begun using AI systems for administrative tasks. A recent government survey found that one in five teachers work at least 60 hours a week but on average only spend about half of this time teaching. AI tools can help to streamline the process of these tasks and the teachers are able to spend more time focusing on teaching and supporting students.

The Limitations

Although AI could be beneficial to some extent for the education sector, it does have its limitations. One of the challenges of using AI would be the need for training, teachers would need to be shown how to properly use the technology in order to be able to use the software correctly. As well as teachers being taught how to properly use the software it is important that this is passed on to the students who are interested in using the software themselves. Another significant issue with the software is its lack of accuracy, the information which is provided is not always accurate. There have also been issues brought up around the ethical use of software like ChatGPT. Within a recent survey it was found that more than half of students consider using AI tools within their schoolwork to be a form of cheating with others saying that it is not a form cheating as they already currently use online resources to support their work.

In a recent article done by The Guardian earlier this year, they discuss how AI tools “raise a number of challenges and concerns, particularly in relation to academic honesty and plagiarism”. Software like ChatGPT is at a very high writing level making it harder for lecturers to differentiate between what is written by a human and chatbot. Universities are trying to discourage the use of the software by detecting its use within students work, if found using the software the students will be trained on the appropriate use of AI, any further use the students could then be expelled. Irene Glendinning, head of integrity at Coventry University said, “They’re wasting their money and their time if they aren’t using university to learn.” If the students are choosing to use the software to replace doing work instead of using it as an aid, punishments like these would ensure that the students are deterred from using it incorrectly which would be more beneficial for students to be independent within their work.

To Conclude

With some universities and schools beginning to embrace AI software within their learning system this will allow for a more versatile educational environment for students. Stating how AI software should and should not be used within education lets students and teachers understand to treat it as more of an aid instead of a replacement for doing work. There are clear positives to using the software but challenges which come along with it, it will continuously need to be reviewed and re-evaluated in order to meet the needs of the users but overall could enhance student learning globally. AI gives the opportunity for all students to receive a higher quality education in order to reach their highest potential if it is  used to correctly.

By Rebecca Garland on 03/10/2023