Philadelphia, 26th June 2023 – During the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference, Microsoft hosted a panel discussion on the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education. The panelists engaged in an interesting conversation about the role of AI and its impact on the future of education.
by Audrey Miller and Alexandra Coutlée
Scott Bricker, an educational consultant and “Education Changemaker,” highlighted the urgent need for change in the education system. He emphasized that the gap between K-12 education and the real world is widening, and AI can contribute to bridge that divide. Bricker urged educators not to adopt AI blindly, but to embrace it as a powerful tool for teaching and assessing student performance.
Sallee Clark, an innovation leader and edtech consultant, emphasized the importance of incorporating AI into education. She suggested using AI for providing feedback to students, allowing educators to focus on other priorities. Clark stressed the significance of combining AI with human intelligence (HI) to maximize its effectiveness.
Vicki Davis, also known as CoolCatTeacher, compared AI to a calculator for language, highlighting its potential as a tool to address the diverse needs of students. Davis expressed concern that students might resort to academic dishonesty if AI is not taught and utilized effectively. She stressed the importance of emotional intelligence and the unique challenges faced by teachers and students when dealing with AI.
During the discussion, led by Joe Brazier from Microsoft, the panelists explored the role of HI in an AI-powered educational system. They emphasized the need for teachers to adapt their teaching methodologies and assessment strategies to incorporate HI effectively. Vicki Davis suggested using AI to ask questions that require critical thinking and emotional intelligence, encouraging collaboration among students.
The panelists shared practical examples and insights from their experiences with AI in education. They discussed the use of AI tools like ChatGPT to ask questions that only students can answer, thereby promoting critical thinking. They emphasized the importance of teaching emotional intelligence and freeing up time for quality interactions with students. Sallee Clark shared her experience using Curipod for lesson planning, while Scott Bricker highlighted the value of incorporating writing into every subject, even math and science. They emphasized that AI tools can facilitate personalized learning and a variety of assessment methods.
Addressing stakeholders’ hesitancy in engaging with AI, the panelists stressed the need to build trust within the educational community. They advocated for strong relationships and coaching support among teachers to navigate the changes brought about by AI. They encouraged educational institutions to align AI technologies with their educational goals and values, rethinking and reimagining education in the process. Vicky Davis summed this up by sharing an inspiring anecdote from Ms. Atkins, a 95-year-old teacher, who passionately stated, “I use technology with kids because I love them”.
Looking ahead, the panelists recognized the importance of preparing students for an uncertain future. They emphasized critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity as essential skills for the future workforce. Vicki Davis urged educators to regularly explore new ideas and share their experiences with others, fostering a community of continuous learning.
As the era of AI continues to transform various sectors, its potential for education remains a topic of great interest and importance. The panel discussion at the ISTE conference provided valuable insights and a platform for educators to reflect on how AI can positively impact the future of education. The integration of AI tools and technologies into the classroom requires thoughtful planning, professional development, and a commitment to aligning AI with educational goals and values. By embracing AI and HI together, educators can unlock new possibilities and empower students for the world that lies ahead.