Attwell (forthcoming) reports that a number of experts interviewed for a UNESCO report on emerging trends in the use of ICT for education raised the importance of Artificial Intelligence i (although a number also believed it to be over hyped).

A recent report from the EU Joint Research Council (2018)[8] says that:

“in the next years AI will change learning, teaching, and education. The speed of technological change will be very fast, and it will create high pressure to transform educational practices, institutions, and policies.”

It goes on to say AI will have:

“profound impacts on future labour markets, competence requirements, as well as in learning and teaching practices. As educational systems tend to adapt to the requirements of the industrial age, AI could make some functions of education obsolete and emphasize others. It may also enable new ways of teaching and learning.”

However, the report also considers that “How this potential is realized depends on how we understand learning, teaching and education in the emerging knowledge society and how we implement this understanding in practice.” Most importantly, the report says, “the level of meaningful activity—which in socio-cultural theories of learning underpins advanced forms of human intelligence and learning—remains beyond the current state of the AI art.”

Although AI systems are well suited to collecting informal evidence of skills, experience, and competence from open data sources, including social media, learner portfolios, and open badges, this creates both ethical and regulatory challenges. Furthermore, there is a danger that AI could actually replicate harmful pedagogic approaches to learning this is a real danger.

In a publication entitled ‘Artificial Intelligence in Education: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development’, UNESCO (2018 cire Rose Luckin (20116) on the new competencies needed to empower teachers to use educational data to improve pedagogy: 

  • A clear understanding of how AI-enabled systems can facilitate learning provision, so that they can make sound value judgments on new AI-enabled educational products;
  • Research and data analytical skills, so that they can interpret data provided by AI-enabled systems, ask useful questions about the data and provide students with feedback based on insights that arise from the data; and
  • New management skills, so that they can effectively manage both human and AI resources at their disposal.
  • A critical perspective on the ways Ai and digital technologies affect human lives and new frameworks of computational thinking and digital skills can increment students ́ capacities to understand the power, the dangers and the possibilities of AI.
  • Enable teachers to take advantage of AI taking over repetitive tasks to bring in more human capabilities they may not have had time for before: mentorship, emotional support, interpersonal skills, etc.
  • Help learners acquire those skills and competencies that are likely not to be replaced by machines.

Teacher training programmes, they say,  should therefore account for these new competencies, both at the in-service and preservice level.

References and Footnotes

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