The CSIRO’s July 2022 discussion paper on global megatrends outlined trends that are emerging and will need future investment, strategic and policy direction and broad community acceptance. Two key areas the paper discussed were the rapidly growing digital and data economy and the rise of artificial intelligence. At the start of this year, stories began appearing in mainstream media with concerns about the misuse of artificial intelligence in schools and universities. This will continue to be an area of focus for all education sectors in the future as this area continues to grow. School systems in North America are now using Bots to write lessons and here in Australia, a new AI technology – ChatGPT – is causing a stir as both the university and school sectors grapple with the implications of its ability to answer even the most sophisticated questions.
Over the last month I have read arguments for and against this technology. While there may well be some positive timesaving efficiencies for our staff, most significant, in my view, is the question of academic integrity and learning for our students. Our role as educators is to teach students how to learn and we know that it is often in the struggle that students learn best. Schools everywhere are now ‘banning’ the ChatGPT website, limiting student access while at school and teachers are rethinking assessment and how to deal best to maintain the struggle. I suspect this is just the start.
Educators also know that at the heart of education are human relationships. We cannot ignore or assume a variety of artificial intelligence programmes will not make their way into Australian schools in the months and years ahead. Managing this well will be yet another task for educators as they continue to search for solutions in an increasingly complex world to ensure they make a positive difference to each child they teach.