AI in the Classroom: Shaping the Future of Education

Rather than replace teachers AI will improve their teaching.
The AI is a conduit to personalised teaching.

In an era where technology and education are increasingly intertwined, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the classroom is not just inevitable, it’s already happening. AI’s role in education is multifaceted, promising to transform the way educators teach and students learn. Crucially, the introduction and expansion of AI is allowing us to reimagine schooling and education. By harnessing AI we’re able to make schools fit for purpose.

The Educational Landscape
Most schools are not meeting the needs of most students. Too often our learners are disengaged and absent; both physically and mentally. For many, school feels like an experience to be survived, before life truly begins. The adoption of AI by teachers and learners will allow our young people to discover and nurture their unique passions, skills and interests whilst at school. This is because AI tools offer each of our young people an individualised and tailored learning guide. AI is not about replacing teachers; rather, AI will allow teachers to augment their capabilities and allow them to focus more on the interactive, human and empathetic aspects of nurturing our young people. This is the work that our teachers do that we know to be most important. How many of us remember the content of a Year 10 class? Compare this number to those who fondly recall how a caring teacher had a profound impact on their lives during the turbulence of adolescence.

To achieve this shift in teacher roles and priorities, we need to be increasingly looking towards technology to create and enhance learning experiences. In doing this we take this pressure away from teachers who, despite their best efforts, cannot ever hope to truly differentiate lessons to account for the varying abilities, interests, and needs of the 28 young people in their classroom. AI's ability to process vast amounts of data and to then provide personalised learning experiences is currently one of its most profound abilities. AI tools and teachers will mean that we will see teachers freed from feeling they need to be a ‘sage on the stage’ to instead becoming expert ‘guides on the side’ as they assist our young people to harness and use AI learning tools to learn that which they are most passionate about thus developing their skills so they ultimately flourish into a life of satisfaction.

How AI Works in Education
AI's impact in education primarily revolves around its ability to understand and generate human language, thanks to advancements in Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT. This technology can tailor educational content to individual students’ needs, offering differentiated instruction that was once a logistical impossibility for educators.

A crucial aspect of leveraging AI in education is prompt engineering. It involves crafting prompts that guide AI to produce relevant and context-specific responses. For instance, asking AI to generate a lesson plan on a specific topic requires precise instructions to ensure the output aligns with educational goals and standards. To prompt AI well requires a level of technological fluency that teachers must cultivate in our young people. Indeed, the World Economic Forum has found that of the most important skills for workers to possess in the next five years is an understanding of AI and big data, along with technological literacy (2). For our educators to be able to prepare our young people they must first be taught themselves how to harness AI tools and systems.

AI Tools and Programs for Education
Various AI tools and programs are emerging as game-changers. Plugins for AI models like ChatGPT can extend its capabilities, enabling profound functionalities. These tools can provide instant, up-to-date information, fundamentally changing how students access and interact with knowledge. We can now, with internet access and a Chat GPT account, learn anything, at our own pace, at our skill level, in our own time. This is a profound unshackling of our educational attainment which previously was tied to a rigid structure of attendance in a physical school setting. We are no longer restricted by the access that we have to teachers, nor to the amount we can afford to spend on tutors or tertiary learning. AI is driving this equitable shift.

AI's Measurable Impact
The effectiveness of AI in education is not just theoretical. In my work, I’ve observed improvements in student engagement and learning outcomes when AI tools are used thoughtfully and intentionally. The key at present is in integrating AI in a way that complements traditional teaching methods, rather than seeing it as a replacement. My creation of an AI tutor for my senior students saw median and mean study scores increase. AI tools can allow our students to excel within the current educational model. Having a free tutor on call 24/7 who responds in a way that meets the student at their level of need and ability represents a profound levelling of the playing field.

Ethical Considerations and Future Outlook
As we embrace AI in education, it’s important to consider the ethical implications. Issues such as data privacy, bias in AI algorithms, and the digital divide need careful attention. However, with thoughtful implementation and continuous evaluation, AI can significantly enhance the educational experience for both teachers and students.
AI in the classroom represents a transformative shift in education. It offers unprecedented opportunities for personalised learning, efficiency in teaching, and access to information. As educators, it’s our responsibility to harness this technology thoughtfully, ensuring it serves as a tool to enrich the learning experience and prepare students for a future where AI is an integral part of work and life.  

I look forward to presenting to educators on the topic of transforming education with AI at the National Educational Summit in Melbourne, June 15th 2024.

For more information and to register for Christopher’s session in the AI in the Classroom Conference visit: