In the evolving landscape of education, one topic has taken center stage: generative AI. As educators, we tend to be on a continuous quest for innovative edtech tools that will enhance the learning experience for students. The potential of generative AI is both promising and profound, but it raises critical questions: How can this transformative technology be harnessed not only to educate but to empower inclusively and equitably?
Examining the Global Impact of Generative AI in Education and Beyond
In April 2023, Goodnotes initiated an exploration into the global utilization of generative AI within educational institutions, businesses and non-profit organizations. The objective was to discern how these innovative tools were being seamlessly integrated into daily routines and to ascertain their implications for the future of education. To achieve a comprehensive understanding, over 50 experts from 20 countries were convened, aiming to provide practical, implementable and secure recommendations for educational institutions.
This research was motivated by Goodnotes’ position as the AI-powered digital paper preferred by millions of students and teachers worldwide. When Steven Chan founded Goodnotes, he was a student at the time, and so his commitment to understanding the teaching and learning experiences of the community he built was essential to his mission, which is to revolutionize the way ideas are shaped and amplified. In addition, research contributors such as Dr. Alessandra Sala, the President for Women In AI and Director of AI and Data Science at Shutterstock, are clear about how much potential generative AI has in shaping education in the future.
The consequent published research is broken down into five recommendations that our contributors have highlighted as the most important, with diversity and equity at the forefront of our thinking. We understand that many schools around the world will be taking substantial steps to utilize this new technology, not just in handwritten digital note-taking but from bringing generative AI on board as a deputy head to recruiting directors of artificial intelligence. Indeed, premium private schools have a lot more scope to harness the potential of AI than the vast majority of public or state schools, many of which are underfunded and struggling to ensure that their students have equitable access to the subjects they want to study and their desired career paths.
For this reason, we intentionally collaborated with contributors from various backgrounds, including underprivileged schools, keen on exploring how generative AI could help educators better address student and community needs. Therefore, our recommendations prioritize facilitating discussions on the technology and providing practical deployment examples rather than prescribing specific solutions.
A Strategic Roadmap for Integrating Gen AI Into Schools
1. Create Guidelines: Create guidelines for the use of generative AI, ensuring accessibility across different regions and addressing diverse student and family needs. Involve various stakeholders, including boards of directors and caregivers. Prioritize safeguarding, child protection and adherence to regional regulations. Ensure that despite the excitement surrounding this technology, essential policies concerning child safety and data trust remain unwavering, as emphasized during the recent research publication event at DLD College in London Lord Jim Knight, Bukky Yusuf and Dr Andy Kemp.
2. Rethink Homework: Promote self-motivated study outside the classroom, encouraging students to deepen their knowledge at home. Discourage traditional homework assignments involving written tasks and essays, especially with unreliable AI detection tools. Remove grading for non-end-of-year assessment work. This recommendation stems from the experiences of students who have harnessed generative AI to enhance their understanding of subjects, promoting curiosity, confidence and deeper learning.
3. Transform Coursework and Assessment: Focus on redefining the process of completing coursework rather than altering the content, considering the various forms coursework can take. Encourage innovative classroom dynamics, such as co-working environments with AI ‘copilots’ to support independent student work. By transforming how coursework is completed, classrooms can become hubs of dynamic learning, empowering students to explore subjects more deeply with AI as their guide.
4. Promote Professional Development: Empower teachers to embrace AI-driven changes through closer collaboration with industry and the dissemination of AI’s general capabilities and limitations. This recommendation centers on the importance of nurturing educators’ confidence in adopting AI innovations through industry partnerships and knowledge-sharing within the teaching community.
5. Prioritize Equity and Diversity: Recognize the resource disparities between schools and the scarcity of technology in some regions. Encourage collaboration and knowledge exchange among schools and teaching communities, ensuring that no institution is left behind in the adoption of AI, with a focus on supporting teachers in pursuing their passions and addressing individual student needs. The emphasis on collaboration is particularly relevant in ensuring that even schools with limited resources can access the transformative benefits of AI in education, fostering inclusivity and diversity across the educational spectrum.
Inevitably, there will be schools that find this transition more difficult than others, and one of the consequences of this work is that Goodnotes has a strong network of determined and passionate schools and AI experts willing to help. We are eager to assist when it comes to ensuring that this transformation in education is as equitable as possible in providing access to knowledge and as diverse as possible when it comes to offering opportunities to learn and share experiences.