Pros and Cons of AI in Education

A student working from a computer

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to rise in popularity, many may question its impact on the future.

Could AI eventually seize command and destroy the human race? Or will AI free us from mundane tasks so that we may better express our humanity and improve civilization?

Within the realm of education, AI is already playing a large role. AI now has the ability to be impartial and immediate in grading certain assignments, focus on students’ weak spots and come up with paper/research topics such as outlining parameters.

On the downside, AI can promote plagiarism. AI can scan the entire web to generate papers, compute mathematical calculations and even create imagined videos and photos.

What can AI do?

The capabilities of AI are currently at the level of what was once futuristic science fiction.  Now AI can create various forms of written text, images, sounds and computer programs in all languages. The possibility of computers creating these forms of expression and work can be both exhilarating and frightening.

Some students are using AI simply as a tool to help them with ideas. Setting up parameters to help brainstorm may be helpful if used in a very limited manner. That is, if AI is applied in a way where the majority of the work or key aspects are original, it can serve as a helpful aid. Since it can have some benefits to learning, some institutions and educators are rightfully taking steps to teach students the correct ways to use AI.

However, some students are using it in a more illicit manner. For instance, some may be using ChatGPT to write entire papers and claim them as their own.

What is the dark side of AI?

One of the dark sides of AI is when it is used in a school setting for students to create deepfake pornographic images/videos of other students to belittle them. “Deepfake” images can be produced in a matter of seconds with many apps and online sites.  “Face-swapped” images posted elsewhere place the victim’s likeness in a sexually explicit photo or video.

When used this way, AI can be s a psychologically destructive force against students. AI has now made it difficult to tell whether certain materials — be it writing, music, programming, images or video — are computer-generated or human-created. Plus, it is predicted to only get more difficult to tell in the future.

Educators, schools and authorities are beginning to get involved because this creates unsafe atmospheres for targeted students.

Could AI replace teachers?

Certain programs using AI technology are now able to detect weak spots in students’ learning. Looking at the student’s performance data, AI can then provide customized parameters or may design playful games or interactive simulations based on the needs of the students.  One argument is if AI is used for tasks of grading, scheduling and immediate feedback, it could then free up educators’ time for more creative lesson planning, mentorship and student support.

Like artists or even programmers, some predict AI could displace teachers and educators from the workforce. Already in online learning, many asynchronous sessions are comprised of multimedia encounter, presentations and video lectures (versus an instructor lecturing in real-time). These asynchronous methods of online learning are becoming attractive to many because the lessons are safe and predictable. However, most students still crave the human interaction and socialization of the traditional classroom.

What can humans do better than AI?

AI may be used to grade multiple choice or even short answer responses and give varied positive and immediate feedback.  However, when it comes to grading the writing of a student or following the steps of how a student works through solving an algebraic problem, a human teacher’s review and care ultimately has the potential to do a better job.

Human teachers can learn about a student’s interests and hobbies by personal interaction (rather than collecting data) about ways they would like to express their knowledge in various subjects. Additionally, human teachers connects with parents and can become part of their support system along with playing a greater role in motivation.

In the end, there are several pros and cons to AI in schools. It is best to keep an eye on how AI is effecting our students and education system as technology progresses.

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