AI & Education

AI & Education


When chat GPT was released to the public in November 2022, worries grew about the risks this technology entails, especially its potential for cheating at work and at school. One year later, after countless cancellation attempts by institutional networks, it has become clear that these tools are here to stay, and, instead of blanket resistance, it makes more sense to accept that the education system needs to adapt to using AI systems as a means of helping improve students’ performance, but mainly to support their learning journey.

In his article for The MIT Technology Review, “ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it,  the researcher Will Douglas Heaven claims that essay-writing chatbots “will only get better […], more accurate and harder to detect” by academic authorities. But, he adds, “banning them is futile, possibly even counterproductive. ”
[1] This reality has been accepted by some educators, and AI technologies are being adopted by educational organisations in the form of business and consumer software, addressing the responsibility to inform students about the technology and its possibilities. [2]

The lawyer and AI reporter TobiasMJ – The Futuristic Lawyer – sees these new AI-based tools as a possibility to access “digital smartness on demand. ” [3] This smartness is meant to be available for everyone, and it should become a general purpose technology, “as impactful, ubiquitous, and freely accessible as electricity or the internet. ” [4] In sum, his view is very optimistic, as he accepts the imminent shift this will trigger in the educational paradigm, which so far has been based on memorising knowledge and repeating it to pursue the appropriate credentials that will lead to a certain type of job.

The numbers and names on a piece of paper that university degrees provide are useful to signal to employers that students are educated, but not much more. Teachers might lose opportunities for preparing students on a more substantial and practical level. For TobiasMJ predicts that the future of education looks “less formal and more substantial, less about chasing good grades and passing mandatory courses, and more about discovery, building character, and developing critical-thinking skills. ”

In this article, we will examine the key areas within the education ecosystem that are being affected by the implementation of AI technologies. We will discuss the risks and potentials envisioned by scientists and researchers based on recent articles commenting on these topics, and discuss why AI is so important for education.


There are probably countless articles and papers reporting how efficient ChatGPT is at passing exams. In fact, GPT-3.5 didn’t score very high on law school final exams, but GPT-4 did succeed in improving performance. In a law course, GPT-4 passed the exam with a score around the top 10% of test takers –  as reported in TobiasMJ’s article “GPT-4 in Law School.

The Futuristic Lawyer also mentions a paper citing a test in which students used ChatGPT for their exams.

The paper, written by University of Minnesota Law School researchers Jonathan H. Choi and Daniel Schwarcz, concludes that student performance was considerably quicker, and, interestingly, its use only improved the performance of lower-scored students. The higher-scored students’ performance depreciated.

Critical thinking

Ultimately, AI chatbots might become a dream machine for cheaters, but today many teachers believe it could actually help make education better. Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at Old Dominion University, Helen Crompton, is hopeful about the potential of Chat GPT in schools. She believes that, if an assignment allows ChatGPT to cheat, it is the assignment, not the technology, that needs to be amended.[5]

ChatGPT provides quick and easy answers to questions, but it cannot help in building problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success,” Jenna Lyle, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Education, told The Washington Post in early January –  as reported by Will Douglas Heaven for The MIT Technology Review. [6]

Rather just delivering content and running students through tests,  [7] teachers should focus on nurturing the students' minds to help them search for real-world positive impacts. Therefore, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are more valuable than memorized facts. Perhaps, AI technology implementations in schools will kill the classic “college essay” form, yet it may encourage other forms of teaching and assessing. [8]

Adaptive learning

One of the potentials of EdTech is its capacity to adapt the learning journey to each student’s needs. The tech is able to identify their needs through using relevant software and data analytics and accommodate/personalise the syllabus and  teaching materials to those needs. [9]

Through just-in-time feedback, pathways, and resources, custom experiences AKA “adaptive learning” can help to transcend the one-size-fits-all learning experience. [10]


It is crucial for educational systems to integrate AI into teaching and learning. Nicole Serena Silver advocates for an implementation of AI in the classrooms similar to the way in which the calculator was seamlessly incorporated into math classrooms decades ago.

Niko Felix, a spokesperson for OpenAI, told The MIT Technology Review that OpenAI believes in the capacity of educational policymakers and experts to decide what “works best for their districts and schools when it comes to the use of new technology,” and, thus, they are engaging with “educators across the country to inform them of ChatGPT’s capabilities.”

The aim is to educate the educators to make them capable of making their own decisions on behalf of their community and their needs, in order to apply it to their classrooms.” [12] As mentioned earlier, the capacity of ChatGPT to cheat on current assignments would encourage policy experts to look for new forms of assesment adapted to ongoing developments rather than trying to make the current assessment process totally AI-proof.


PBA or Performance-based assessment is an evaluative approach integrating theory and practice to encouraging students to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts. In his Substack, The Value Junction, Bechem Ayuk advocates for learning rooted in authentic experiences. [13] This praxis-oriented method of teaching is aligned to the popular motto of “learning by doing. ”

Unlike traditional assessments that rely solely on memorization and regurgitation of information, performance-based assessments prioritize the provision of meaningful feedback. The point is to make connections between concepts and real-life applications. BPA assesses students' competence through the use of immersion, practical demonstrations, and authentic real-world tasks.
This method encourages students to engage in introspection, to establish objectives, and to assume responsibility for their educational journeys. The main goal of this approach is to awaken intrinsic motivation, resilience, and a growth mindset within students, instead of aiming for specific marks and certificates. Ideally, students turn into lifelong learners who embrace challenges and pursue self-improvement. [14]


More reliance on powerful AI tools may lead to the shrinking of the pool of skilled workers, leaving behind workers who will enjoy their work less, and who will gradually lose touch with what is going on with wider developments due to the black-box nature of generative AI models. There may be drastic gains in short-term productivity, yet this might lead to a compromise in quality and a higher risk of catastrophic and hard-to-explain failures. [15]

Does technology improve the quality of education?

Overall, the answer to this question is no. Or at least AI is not enough in itself. As Aldous Huxley warned, “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. ” Without falling into pessimism spirit, it is worth crediting Huxley for understanding that tech alone can’t lead to improved outcomes. Bechem Ayuk explains that tech giants peddle the fantasy that better outcomes will be reached by using more advanced technologies and the assumption that “more gadgets equate to progress. ” [16]

There is no easy route to this goal. Without critical thinking, and the capacity to make sense of the larger world and relate facts and information to problems, a blurb generated by any AI chat, no matter how “smart, ” is useless, as Will Douglas Heaven notes in his article. [17]

A RAND study of New York City schools, for example, found that teacher qualifications accounted for 90% of variation in student scores - far more than technology, or other factors, [18] which reiterates the importance of addressing more effort to sourcing qualified staff and keeping them motivated in addition to adapting assessment forms to newly implemented technologies.

At present, we don’t know how this technology will develop, or what its critical thinking capacity will look like in the coming months and years, but so far, it seems that this technology can help to enhance the quality of lower performing labor, but not replace labour, let alone high quality labor. Even if the initial blank page panic can be transcended with artificial support, there are a lot of factors required to perform qualitatively well that have more to do with common sense and other human qualities. For the foreseeable future, we are better investing resources as heavily on those qualities as on next-gen chatbots.

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