An Educator’s Tips for Navigating the AI Revolution

Dec 7, 2023 12:00:00 PM

by Shawnta S. Barnes

Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into education has ushered in a wave of excitement and uneasiness among educators and students alike. We must adapt rather than ban the usage of AI out of fear and misunderstanding.

According to survey data from Best Colleges, “22 percent of students admitted using ChatGPT to complete an assignment or exam.” Students aren’t the only people using AI; teachers are, too, with growing confidence.

Earlier this year, I shared why teachers need to help students understand AI's advantages and potential pitfalls. Teachers also need support to learn how they should use AI effectively.

Here are some considerations:

1. Acknowledge the Role of AI in Education

The first step is to acknowledge the presence and significance of AI. It’s a tool increasingly being incorporated into classrooms to enhance learning experiences, automate administrative tasks, and provide personalized feedback. During professional development, teachers should have the opportunity to share how they have used AI, why they have used it, and observations from when they used it. School administrators should also provide some guidance about best practices for teacher usage.

2. Stay Informed and Updated

AI is ever-evolving, so we must stay informed about new developments. FeedSpot created a list of 25 magazines focused on AI. Additionally, we should allocate some time for teachers to attend workshops, webinars, and conferences to learn best practices for using it.

3. Integrate AI Thoughtfully into Lesson Plans

Everyone has heard the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder.” Teachers should consider how AI could cut down their often overwhelming load.

One example of a tool I’ve used is Gamma. The teacher can put in a topic, and Gamma makes the slides and even adds graphics. Teachers could put information about a subject and present it the next day. (You still need to review the slides and add appropriate accommodations for their students.) AI can help automate tasks, but we should only use it in education if the created resources align with curriculum objectives and contribute positively to student outcomes.

4. Integrate Adaptive Learning Platforms

AI-driven adaptive learning platforms can adjust the difficulty of content based on individual student performance. They use algorithms to track a student's progress and modify the learning path to suit each student—ensuring that we challenge each student appropriately, preventing boredom or frustration, and promoting a more engaging learning experience. EdApp has identified a top ten list of such platforms.

5. Implement Restorative Practices

AI can help teachers with daily behavior management issues that take time and energy. Edutopa provided some ideas for teachers to consider, such as using AI to generate reflective questions for students to work through after a behavior incident. Behavior management still needs a human element for teachers to remedy a problem, but AI could help streamline the creation of restorative elements.

While AI can enhance educational experiences, it's crucial to maintain a balance between technology and human connection. Students should not feel that AI is running class and their teacher is not using their expertise and experience to teach their students.

By acknowledging the role of AI, staying informed, and integrating technology thoughtfully, educators can ensure that the AI revolution enhances rather than diminishes the educational experience for their students.

Shawnta S. Barnes

Shawnta (Shawn-tay) S. Barnes, also known as Educator Barnes, is a married mother of identical twin boys. She navigates education from not only the educator’s perspective but also the parent’s perspective. She has been an educator for nearly two decades. Shawnta works with K-12 schools, universities, & education adjacent organizations through her education consulting business Blazing Brilliance. She is an adjunct college professor, supervises student teachers, Indy Kids Winning Editor-in-Chief, Brave Brothers Books Co-founder, & CEO, and Brazen Education Podcast host. She holds five education licenses: English/language arts 5-12, English to speakers of other languages P-12, library/media P-12, reading P-12, and school administration P-12, and she has held a job in every licensed area. Previously, she has served as a school administrator, English teacher, English learners teacher, literacy coach, and librarian. She won the 2019 Indiana Black Expo Excellence in Education Journalism Award. In 2023, she completed her doctorate in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education with a minor in Learning Sciences. She is an urban gardener in her spare time and writes about her harvest-to-table journey at gardenershicole.com. To learn more about Shawnta, visit educatorbarnes.com.

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