Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to both positively and negatively impact education. On the one hand, AI can facilitate personalized learning, improve assessment accuracy, and provide educational resources to students who might otherwise not have access. On the other hand, AI can reinforce existing biases and inequities and limit learning opportunities for marginalized students.
On February 7, Dr. Nicole Zeidan, Assistant Director of Emerging EdTech, was invited to share her insights on the potential of AI on a faculty panel hosted by Fordham’s Graduate School of Education titled AI in Education- Threat or Opportunity? She also took some time to share her experiences on the panel with The Office of Information Technology.
AI has the potential to be a valuable resource for education. One important topic the panel discussed was how AI can be helpful for bilingual learners. Practicing a new language with other students can be intimidating, but AI can offer a safe and effective learning environment. AI can be helpful more broadly as well by saving time. If you get writers block or are stuck getting started, you can use AI to develop an initial brainstorm, and then use your own thoughts and words to develop your essay or paper.
In order to take advantage of the benefits of AI, we also must be cognizant of the shortcomings. As an emerging edtech professional, Dr. Zeidan pays particular attention to the digital divide within tech. Not everyone has equal access to AI, internet, and devices. This became especially apparent during the pandemic when work and learning turned entirely to remote options. Moreover, AI is prone to biases. By nature of its construction, algorithms can reflect and reinforce biases that harm marginalized groups. AI is powerful, but it fails to understand cultural sensitivities and the personal experiences of users. Going forward, Dr. Zeidan stresses the importance of being aware of the gaps, strengths, and weaknesses within emerging tech: “We don’t want to widen the educational divide for already marginalized students.”