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AI Use in the Classroom... Here's 4 Things to Ask Yourself.


When appropriately applied, AI in the classroom can be a powerful tool that not only saves teachers time -  but can also help foster critical thinking and skill-building for students. At ThinkCERCA, we use AI as a teacher's assistant to help students become better writers faster. We believe that nothing has a bigger impact on students than their teacher, but we are also realistic and understand that to write and to write well is a huge challenge. Students (and their teachers) deserve all the help they can get as they work hard to develop their writing. With the proliferation of AI in education, consider the following questions as you start to use it as a tool to foster learning.


1. Who is doing the work? 

Make sure the students, and not the tool, are doing the work. While most of the educational tools claim to foster learning, they are not all created equal. Some tools, such as those that provide immediate, pointed, and relevant feedback to students, enable students to think critically, and help students work towards improving their skills. These tools are often based on research and known principles of learning. Other tools help students appear as if they have learned, but lack depth. For example, tools that rewrite a student's paragraph to make it better are doing the work for students. 

2. What is the role of the teacher vs the role of the AI?

A good tool will never claim to do what a teacher can do. It is simply an assistive device that enhances classroom practice. It is unrealistic for a teacher to provide a classroom of 30 students feedback all at the same time, but this is often what is needed for all students to develop their skills. Be wary of technology that claims it can do what a teacher does; embrace technology that supports teachers and therefore students.

3. How is the AI positioned in the classroom?

Students should have a clear understanding of how the technology works as well as what its limitations are. Any new tools should be formally introduced in the classroom, and students need a clear understanding of the level of authority technology has in relation to their learning. Is the technology always right? Probably not, and it’s important that students are aware of that, as well as the credence you will give the technology. Teachers know their students better than any technology can, understanding their specific needs, both social and emotional, and that isn’t something that AI currently does well. AI is imperfect, and those imperfections should be recognized by you and your students.

4. Is this a safe tool to use in the classroom?

Before integrating any technology into your class, make sure you have taken a close look at not only school and district guidelines, but also state guidelines. It is of the utmost importance to protect your students' privacy, and that should never come at the expense of technology.

While there may be many reasons to avoid these tools, when used appropriately as part of instruction, they can be transformative, helping students work smarter AND harder. They can also save teachers an immense amount of time by automating repeated tasks, freeing up teachers to engage in the specialized work of helping students reach their full potential. 

Curious to learn more about our CERCA AI? It's curriculum-embedded AI feedback and the only one of its kind.  Read more here, or schedule a demo to see it live!