June 2, 2023
OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, predicted last year that it will usher in the greatest tech transformation ever. Grandiose? Maybe. But while that may sound like typical Silicon Valley hype, the education system is taking it seriously.
And so far, AI is shaking things up. The sudden-seeming pervasiveness of AI has even led to faculty workshop “safe spaces” this summer, where instructors can figure out how to use algorithms.
For edtech firms, this partly means figuring out how to prevent their bottom line from being hurt, as students swap some edtech services with AI-powered DIY alternatives, like tutoring replacements. The most dramatic example came in May, when Chegg’s falling stock price was blamed on chatbots.
But the latest news is that the government is investing significant money to figure out how to ensure that the new tools actually advance national education goals like increasing equity and supporting overworked teachers.
That’s why the U.S. Department of Education recently weighed in with its perspective on AI in education.
The department’s new report includes a warning of sorts: Don’t let your imagination run wild. “We especially call upon leaders to avoid romancing the magic of AI or only focusing on promising applications or outcomes, but instead to interrogate with a critical eye how AI-enabled systems and tools function in the educational environment,” the report says.