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Artificial Intelligence – The Revolution Will Not Be Digitized

Artificial Intelligence -The Revolution Will Not Be Digitized

By Nicholas A. Sherman, Ed.S.

As a card-carrying member of Generation X, I remember eagerly rushing to the local theater as a young sci-fi enthusiast to watch movies like The Terminator 2 and The Matrix. I was always fascinated at how those movies depicted a dystopian world that had been overrun by the scourge of Artificial Intelligence and it was up to humans to reclaim their world from the grips of technology that had gone mad! I also remember thinking to myself that something like that would never happen in the real world. Now, as a seasoned teacher and technology coach, I find it a bit ironic that some of the same threads from those movies have begun to transition from the silver screen and permeate into the educational landscape. Artificial Intelligence is here… now what?

Whenever I talk with teachers or conduct professional developments and make mention of Artificial Intelligence, the room almost instantly parts like the Red Sea. On one side you have those who are adamantly against using it because it will lead to students cheating on everything, and the other side is cautiously optimistic about the potential that it could bring to teachers and students. Sometimes, I even have a sliver of people who fall right in the middle! So the question now becomes: what is the right course to take?

THE GRAY AREA

The funny thing about being a technology coach is that sometimes, educators—from the freshly out of college to the most seasoned—often make the assumption that we have ALL the answers. While there is some truth to this (ha, ha), the fact is that we, like all teachers, are still trying to navigate through the ever-changing landscape of educational technology; sometimes our GPS gives us wrong directions too!

Artificial Intelligence, despite its roots going back years, is relatively new to education. Chiu (2023) noted that its explosive growth is increasingly transforming the ways people interact, communicate, live, learn, and work. The truth of the matter is that it is growing so fast that at this point, there is no panacea that will seamlessly integrate Artificial Intelligence into classrooms. We will be forced to operate in a “gray area,” a space that requires us to make judgment calls based on the use of AI on a case-to-case basis.

Case in point: As a former high school English teacher, I could see using AI in my classroom to enhance instruction. I could use ChatGPT to help students organize their ideas for an essay or create Depth of Knowledge (DOK) questions for a short story, or even generate lesson plans for every day of the week. Consequently, I would also have to consider that my students would use AI as much as I would… and of course, this is where the problem lies. What happens when a student decides to use AI to write an entire research paper or to ask ChatGPT to summarize a class novel that is supposed to be read independently? How does a teacher combat that?!

In some places, Kamalov (2023) said that educators at secondary and tertiary education institutions have raised the alarm over the possibility of the abuse of ChatGPT by students and called for its restrictions.

These are the types of questions and scenarios that are at the heart of using AI in the classroom. These are the things that many educators fear about the proliferation of A.I. into education. But what if we took a slightly different approach? What if we looked at the inclusion of AI from a moral standpoint?

TO BOLDLY GO…

For a moment, let me channel my inner Mr. Spock… (shameless Star Trek plug)

It is logical to assume that AI will most likely become a norm in the educational system. Perhaps in the quest to merge the two, I submit, approaching the use of AI from an ethical perspective, as opposed to a purely functional standpoint as the crux of this debate.

Using the same example of a student in an English class using AI to generate a research paper, the initial functional question could be “would an AI-generated research paper be considered to be an act of plagiarism?” Moreover, re-examining this scenario through the lens of a purely ethical mindset, the question could evolve into, “Is it right or wrong to use AI to generate a research paper?” Approaching this already sensitive matter from this perspective would inevitably allow for deeper and more meaningful conversations about the role AI would play in a classroom and education as a whole, and it would stand to create a firmer foundation for civil discourse as it pertains to the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence in education.

…THAT IS THE SOUND OF INEVITABILITY!

Again, I do not believe there is one definitive way to implement AI into classrooms and education as a whole, nor will there ever be, but the undeniable fact is that it will happen; it already is. There will undoubtedly always be a certain level of trepidation as the availability of AI in education increases. But in the faculty meetings, the professional developments and professional learning groups, the conversations must be had; this is where the difference can be made. The AI revolution will not be digitized!


Nicholas Sherman Nicholas A. Sherman, Ed.S, with over twenty years of experience as an educator, has been a passionate and vocal advocate of technology implementation in all aspects of education. Having obtained a Bachelor’s in English Education from South Carolina State University, a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Lesley University, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Technology Leadership from Webster University, Mr. Sherman has made it his mission to be a continuously evolving repository of information and resources as it relates to educational technology.

References
Chiu, T. K., Xia, Q., Zhou, X., Chai, C. S., & Cheng, M. (2023). Systematic literature review on opportunities, challenges, and future research recommendations of artificial intelligence in education. Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence, 4, 100118.
Kamalov, F., Santandreu Calonge, D., & Gurrib, I. (2023). New era of artificial intelligence in education: Towards a sustainable multifaceted revolution. Sustainability, 15(16), 12451.

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