- Parents may have concerns about AI, but it’s important to know that AI is already in use in classrooms
- AI helps teachers personalize learning for students, and also frees teachers from tedious tasks so they can devote more time to direct instruction
- See related article: Taking a measured look at AI in the classroom
As teachers, we know that the back to school season is a time full of excitement and big emotions about what the year ahead will bring. And we’re not just speaking to our own experiences. We understand that students and families are often just as concerned about what the school year will be like, what will be going on inside our classrooms, and what and how their students will be learning. And this year, we have a hunch that a lot of those questions are going to be focused on a topic showing up all over the news: AI in education.
AI has been capturing headlines across the country, with questions about how it is being used in classrooms, how students are interacting with this new technology, and what it ultimately means for learning. While all of these questions are valid, there’s also something to be said for making sure parents understand that AI has already been quietly in thousands of America’s classrooms–recent data shows that over 60 percent of teachers are using AI on the job–and the impact on teachers and students has been largely positive.
So, parents, are you wondering what exactly AI might look like in your child’s school this year? We can’t speak for every educator, but we can share just a little bit about some of the key ways we’ve already seen AI leveraged by teachers to better engage and teach students:
- Integrating visual learning: Today’s students live in a visual world. Any parent will tell you that much of what children consume in their free time is visual — TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, iPads, emojis, FaceTime… all of these mediums are visual and it’s how our children learn about the world around them. Fortunately, AI is helping our classrooms keep up with that visual world.
Using AI tools like Curipod, Canva’s text-to-image feature, and Synthesia, teachers can begin to bring more visually-engaging elements to their lessons. AI can help educators create everything from images to presentations and worksheets to even videos and animations. Having the ability to quickly put learning into a visual format makes classrooms more engaging and fun for students.
- Leveraging a virtual teaching assistant: Teachers have a big job to do. It’s a job we love but it’s one that is often filled with a lot of tasks outside the core responsibilities of teaching — standing in front of our students, helping them learn. For a lot of teachers, the biggest and best ways to use AI are to help us do our jobs better and free up our time.
With AI programs like Copilot or Canva’s Magic Write, teachers can use AI to generate drafts of lesson plans more efficiently. With a draft in hand, we can better use our time to figure out ways to connect the lesson to our students’ passions, differentiate to meet the unique needs of students (like those with disabilities or English Language Learners), and make the tiny adjustments necessary to bring learning to life. Free teachers up from tedious tasks and we can use our brains and our energy to really accelerate learning!
- Prioritizing student-centered activities: Every student needs something slightly different to learn well. When we have tools as teachers that allow us to meet those individualized needs and support the whole student, we know that learning improves. We can now use AI to customize activities that support mental health, give students more ownership over their own learning, and even provide more individualized, responsive tutoring. Your students will likely see AI showing up in their classrooms this year in ways that put them in the driving seat and help make learning feel directed precisely at them, their needs, and their interests.