Artificial Intelligence’s Future Within Education

Polis: Center for Politics
5 min readNov 21, 2023

Ian Connolly (PPS ‘25)

Ian Connolly (PPS ‘25)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing our world and is augmenting the way we live. [i] AI is already deeply integrated into our daily lives, from the algorithms that power our social media feeds, to the chatbots that provide customer support. [ii] In fact, over 50 percent of people in the U.S. use artificial intelligence (AI) every day. [iii]

AI can revolutionize the way we learn, teach, and think about education at all levels. However, as with any emerging technology, there are concerns about AI’s impact on education. While there have been calls to limit its use, — such as how the Seattle school district and parts of the State of New York have banned use of AI software such as Rytr, ChatGPT, ArticleForge and WriteSonic[iv]– the truth is that AI is already in our classrooms. We need to treat it as a tool for teachers and students. [v]

For educators in traditional classrooms, AI can be a powerful tool. At a basic level, teachers can use it for developing lesson plans and exams, communicating with parents, and writing report card comments. [vi] It can help generate modern examples to support their lesson plans rather than rely on decades old examples from textbooks. [vii] Duke University is one of many colleges that also uses AI to aid its teachers. The website Gradescope is used extensively by teachers as a platform for homework submissions and grading. It uses AI to “read student handwriting of English-language text and of math notation” which can help pickup keywords, or rewrite illegible text, which can reduce grading time.[viii] AI algorithms also can perform more complex tasks, such as analyzing student data to help teachers personalize the learning experience to each student’s strengths and weaknesses.[ix] This can help to ensure that students are receiving the support and resources they need to succeed, regardless of their background or ability level. Such use of AI also can give teachers time to focus on the aspects of their job that require human expertise and empathy. [x]

Platforms for online learning, such as Khan Academy, are also introducing AI training programs. These programs use machine learning algorithms to track student progress and provide personalized feedback and support. [xi] As a result, students can learn at their own pace, without the pressure of keeping up with the rest of the class. [xii] [xiii] The leading global learning platform, Brainly, is also introducing new AI features to offer customizable learning experiences. It uses AI to modify existing answers. Users can request answers to be shorter, straightforward and focused on the main facts to help users learn the underlying concepts. Or they can decide to access more in-depth AI-generated explanations which can better respond to that specific question.

Students also can benefit from using AI. For example, research students use AI in research to identify patterns and insights that might be difficult to find in large datasets. They can efficiently analyze large amounts of data, helping them to draw conclusions and make informed decisions. [xiv] Then, AI can help students build models and make predictions based on their data. This can be particularly useful in scientific research. [xv] AI can also recommend relevant articles and prepare manuscripts for publication, saving time and ensuring that research is based on the latest findings and insights.

Of course, the rise of AI in education is not without ethical concerns. Misuse (e.g., fabrication, misinformation, plagiarism), potential loss of student privacy, and algorithmic bias are all potential risks of AI tools.[xvi] Issues of student misuse and student privacy are well known to educators, and they are already setting limits and policies to protect against ethical violations. [xvii] Algorithmic bias is a newer issue. AI results reflect the information used to teach the algorithm. If the training data or programmer input is biased, the results will reflect that bias. For example, a widely used healthcare algorithm favored white patients over Black patients because of how the variables were correlated[xviii]. Developers must design their systems with the goal of equity to combat this problem. [xix] It should also be noted that AI tools can be used to help challenge the implicit biases of teachers. [xx]

At the end of the day, the future of education is not about avoiding technology, but about technology supporting teachers in their work. By embracing AI, educators can create a more personalized learning experience for students, ensuring that students receive the best possible education. We should welcome AI technologies into the classroom with open, well-informed, and deliberate arms.

[i] Atske, Sara. “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humans.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, Pew Research Center, 15 Sept. 2022, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2018/12/10/artificial-intelligence-and-the-future-of-humans/.

[ii] Mihajlovic, Ilija. “How Artificial Intelligence Is Impacting Our Everyday Lives.” Medium, Towards Data Science, 24 Sept. 2021, https://towardsdatascience.com/how-artificial-intelligence-is-impacting-our-everyday-lives-eae3b63379e1.

[iii] Nadeem, Reem. “Public Awareness of Artificial Intelligence in Everyday Activities.” Pew Research Center Science & Society, Pew Research Center, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2023/02/15/public-awareness-of-artificial-intelligence-in-everyday-activities/.

[iv] Jimenez, Kayla. “‘This Shouldn’t Be a Surprise’ the Education Community Shares Mixed Reactions to Chatgpt.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 2 Feb. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2023/01/30/chatgpt-going-banned-teachers-sound-alarm-new-ai-tech/11069593002/.

[v] Ibid

[vi] Ibid

[vii] Gecker, Jocelyn, and The Associated Press. “‘It’s Coming, Whether We Want It to or Not’: Teachers Nationwide Are Using CHATGPT to Prepare for an AI World.” Fortune, Fortune, 14 Feb. 2023, https://fortune.com/2023/02/14/chatgpt-school-lessons-cheating-robots-ai-teachers/.

[viii] Gutowski, Kevin. “Ai-Assisted Grading and Answer Groups.” Gradescope Help Center, Gradescope, 8 Feb. 2023, https://help.gradescope.com/article/mv8qkiux00-instructor-assignment-ai-grading-answer-groups.

[ix] Abdous, M’hammed. “How Ai Is Shaping the Future of Higher Ed.” Inside Higher Ed | Higher Education News, Events and Jobs, https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2023/03/22/how-ai-shaping-future-higher-ed-opinion.

[x] Teaching with Ai: Emerging Practices for Teachers. https://www.khanacademy.org/college-careers-more/ai-for-education/x68ea37461197a514:ai-for-education-unit-1/x68ea37461197a514:ai-in-the-classroom/a/teaching-with-ai-emerging-practices-for-teachers.

[xi] “Khanmigo Education Ai Guide.” Khan Academy, Khan Academy, https://www.khanacademy.org/khan-labs.

[xii] Ibid

[xiii] Artificial Intelligence & Online Education: AI Innovations in Online Learning, 11 Aug. 2022, https://www.onlineeducation.com/features/ai-in-distance-learning.

[xiv] “The 5 Best AI Tools for Postgraduate Research.” Scholarcy, 11 Apr. 2023, https://www.scholarcy.com/the-5-best-ai-tools-for-postgraduate-research/.

[xv] Ibid

[xvi] Ibid

[xvii] Staff, APU Edge. “Artificial Intelligence in Education: Where Are the Laws?” Edge, 25 Aug. 2020, https://apuedge.com/artificial-intelligence-in-education-where-are-the-laws/.

[xviii] Shin, Terence. “Real-Life Examples of Discriminating Artificial Intelligence.” Medium, Towards Data Science, 4 June 2020, https://towardsdatascience.com/real-life-examples-of-discriminating-artificial-intelligence-cae395a90070.

[xix] Perry, Andre M., and Nicol Turner Lee. “Ai Is Coming to Schools, and If We’re Not Careful, so Will Its Biases.” Brookings, 9 Mar. 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/09/26/ai-is-coming-to-schools-and-if-were-not-careful-so-will-its-biases/.

[xx] Gauthier, Andrea, et al. “Is It Time We Get Real? A Systematic Review of the Potential of Data-Driven Technologies to Address Teachers’ Implicit Biases.” Frontiers, 20 Sept. 2022, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frai.2022.994967/full.

Ian Connolly is from Olympia and an Undergraduate at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. This piece was submitted as an op-ed in the Spring ‘23 PUBPOL 301 course. This content does not represent the official or unofficial views of the Sanford School, Polis, Duke University, or any entity or individual other than the author.

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