With the recent unveiling of a national framework for the adoption of generative AI in schools, Australian teachers are now at the coalface of an exciting, and somewhat daunting, technological transformation.
The framework, released in December 2023, not only provides a roadmap for schools to integrate AI effectively but also challenges educators to rethink and reshape traditional teaching methodologies.
As principals and teachers gear up to make their schools AI-ready, there’s a growing recognition that AI could be the key to unlocking more dynamic, personalised, and efficient educational experiences for students. This wave of change is prompting a fundamental re-evaluation of schools’ current educational approaches, setting the stage for a more interactive, AI-enhanced future in classrooms.
According to Dr Jacquie Tinkler, Sub-Dean (Learning and Teaching) and Lecturer in the Charles Sturt Faculty of Arts and Education in Wagga Wagga, the education industry should approach teaching assisted with the use of AI with an open mind.
She says if teachers actively learn about AI, how it works and how to properly use it, the result will be the ability to develop lessons that are more detailed and tailored to different students’ needs.
“It is important teachers engage with the technology at this early developmental stage so they are able to contribute to its development as an educational tool,” Dr Tinkler said.
“Schools are already working on developing policies for its use, but these often focus on students’ misuse of the technology and not so much on how and when teachers can or should use it.”
Dr Tinkler says she hopes the real benefit will be “the use of such technologies to help individualise learning materials and approaches for students so they are able to learn in ways that suit their talents, abilities and interests.”
Rethinking teaching and learning
Dr Tinkler said AI could prompt teachers to reconsider and re-evaluate current approaches to teaching and learning – in particular better developing learning suited to individual needs as a result of getting to know students better and the ways in which they learn.
Teachers also need to monitor the implications of AI use for students as they transition to senior school, where they are thinking about future careers, she noted.
Charles Sturt University is currently training new teachers who are both university students and future teachers, helping them see AI’s use from both perspectives.
“AI is going to be a permanent part of teaching and learning in the future, and our students also need to be learning about this technology now as it develops and new ways of teaching and learning evolve,” Dr Tinkler said.
“Teachers need to be aware of the implications of AI use for their students as they transition to senior school where students are considering future careers. This is especially important in a university context where they are being trained to enter specific professions.”