Elevate Learning with Generative AI: A Game Changer for Education

Dr. Monica Gallant – Associate Professor – Accounting and Assistant Dean – Executive MBA, Dubai On-campus and Middle East Online. 

The education landscape is undergoing a profound transformation thanks to the proliferation of AI assistants. With statistics projecting the presence of 8.4 billion AI assistants by 2024 and the global AI in education market expected to reach $10 billion by 2027 with a 25% CAGR, Artificial Intelligence is becoming an integral part of the educational ecosystem. While AI in education can be a game changer in many ways, it raises ethical concerns and necessitates careful consideration of its impact on pedagogy. This article explores AI’s potential applications, benefits, drawbacks, and ethical considerations in education, emphasising the need for proactive measures and open discussions within the educational community.

How can AI be used in education, both by students and educators?

Personalised Learning Support:

AI, represented by ChatGPT and Bard, can provide individualised support to students. These virtual assistants can answer questions, offer explanations, and facilitate a better understanding of complex concepts. This personalised approach can help students grasp difficult subjects more effectively.

AI-powered chatbots can assist in guiding students through their homework and assignments. They can offer hints, answer questions, and explain solutions, enhancing students’ problem-solving skills.

Educators and students can create interactive quiz bots for self-assessment. These bots can provide instant feedback, which is essential for continuous improvement.

AI can aid language learning by enabling students to practice conversations, correct grammar, and expand their vocabulary in a target language.

Professional Development:

Teachers can harness AI chatbots to access valuable resources, lesson plans, and teaching strategies. This supports ongoing professional development and keeps educators updated with the latest pedagogical trends.

Career Guidance:

AI assistants can provide students with information on career paths, educational requirements, and job market trends, enabling them to make informed career choices.

Communication tools:

ChatGPT and Bard can extend educators’ availability for virtual office hours, enhancing student support even in remote or asynchronous learning environments.

AI can be a powerful tool for supporting students with disabilities or varying learning styles. It can read text aloud, offer alternative explanations, and promote inclusivity in education.

Educators can automate routine communication with stakeholders using AI chatbots. This streamlines the sharing of updates on student progress and upcoming assignments.

While the potential applications of AI in education are exciting, there are several drawbacks and ethical concerns that must be addressed:

Lack of Critical Thinking and Creativity:

Overreliance on AI for answers may hinder the development of students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. AI assistants offer one-size-fits-all answers, which may not cater to students’ diverse learning styles and abilities.

Potential for Plagiarism:

Students might misuse AI to generate academic work, leading to plagiarism issues if they fail to cite or understand the content appropriately produced.

Inaccurate Information:

AI responses are based on existing data, which may include outdated or incorrect information, posing problems in subjects that require up-to-date and precise data. AI may misinterpret queries, causing frustration for both students and educators.

Ethical Issues:

AI can generate inappropriate or biased content, promote misinformation, express controversial opinions, use offensive language, provide incomplete or inaccurate information, and amplify negative stereotypes, all raising ethical concerns. Responses can also be inconsistent.

ChatGPT vs Bard?

While both ChatGPT and Bard are powerful AI models designed to enhance education and assist students and educators, key differences make them suited to different tasks and use cases.

Data and Knowledge Access:

ChatGPT is trained on a vast dataset of text and code, including scientific papers, math expressions, and source code. However, its knowledge is based on data until 2021, so it lacks real-time internet access. This limitation can affect its ability to provide the most up-to-date information.

In contrast, Bard has real-time internet access, allowing it to provide up-to-date information from the web. It can fetch the latest information, making it more suitable for subjects or topics that require current and rapidly changing data. Additionally, Bard provides sources for the information it provides, enhancing transparency.

Media Generation and Accessibility:

ChatGPT primarily focuses on text-based responses. It generates creative and contextually relevant textual content, making it valuable for writing essays, generating poems, or providing textual explanations.

Bard goes a step further by being able to generate image-based responses, including graphs, charts, and diagrams. This feature can be particularly beneficial in subjects that rely heavily on visual representations, such as science and mathematics. Additionally, Bard’s ability to read responses aloud can be a valuable accessibility feature, assisting individuals with disabilities.

User Interface:

ChatGPT offers a straightforward interface for text-based interactions. While user-friendly, it doesn’t provide extensive options for editing questions after they’re asked or displaying multiple responses for user selection.

Bard boasts a more user-friendly interface, allowing users to edit their questions after they’re asked and view multiple responses it prepares. This makes it a versatile tool for students and educators, allowing for more dynamic and customisable interactions.

Target Use Cases:

ChatGPT is well-suited for tasks that require generating creative text formats, such as crafting poems, writing code, or providing textual explanations. It excels in tasks that rely on its natural solid language understanding and generation capabilities.

Bard’s real-time internet access, ability to generate images, and audio response feature make it a valuable resource for subjects that demand the latest data, visual representations, and accessibility support. It can be precious in the science, technology, and mathematics fields.

Why is AI a game changer?

The introduction of AI in education questions the very purpose of education. It blurs the traditional roles of students and teachers, requiring a reimagining of the educational process. This innovation introduces new types of work and skills needed in the future, reshaping our definition of intelligence. It also changes the fundamental nature of assessment, emphasising skills that go beyond rote memorisation and instead focus on critical thinking and problem-solving.

How should educators and students respond?

Considering the rapid developments in AI and its increasing role in education, it is crucial to take the following steps:

  • Learn as much as you can about generative AI to understand its capabilities and limitations.
  • Engage in open discussions about AI’s educational role with colleagues, students, and parents.
  • Develop clear policies regarding how AI should and should not be used in education.
  • Share best practices in teaching and assessment with each other, as AI in education is a rapidly evolving tool.

AI in education, represented by ChatGPT and Bard, holds immense promise for personalised learning, improved teaching, and a transformed educational landscape. However, it also brings with it significant ethical considerations and potential drawbacks. By approaching this innovation with careful planning, open dialogue, and a clear understanding of its implications, we can harness the power of AI to elevate education to new heights while safeguarding the core values of learning and critical thinking.

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