The Department for Education is concerned that artificial intelligence systems could be used to monitor teachers once the systems are introduced into the classroom and has warned in a new report that allowing this to happen would make teachers’ jobs ” almost impossible”.
The department released a report this week on “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning,” which also argued that AI should never be used to replace human teachers.
The report aims to assess the prospects for extending AI into the classroom. While he says AI could make teaching more effective and help tailor lesson plans to each student, he warned that AI could also expose teachers to increased scrutiny once deployed.
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“When we activate a voice assistant in the kitchen, it can help us with simple household tasks like setting a cooking timer,” the report said. “And yet the same voice assistant could hear things that we wanted to be private. This kind of dilemma will happen in classrooms and for teachers.”
The report considers the possibility of AI being used in live classrooms to capture data that helps teachers do their jobs, such as recommending certain resources based on the topics being taught, but this carries an additional risk for teachers.
“The same data could also be used to monitor the teacher, and this monitoring could have consequences for the teacher,” he said. “Achieving reliable AI that improves the work of teachers will be next to impossible if teachers are under increased scrutiny.”
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The department concluded that when AI is being considered for use in the classroom, efforts should be made to provide “adequate” protections against teacher surveillance. Other questions that need to be asked are whether AI is easing the burden of teaching, whether teachers have control over AI-enabled tools, and how AI could be used to “improve learning.” equity, reduce bias and increase cultural awareness”.
The Biden administration’s push for AI systems that eschew teacher surveillance has the potential to reignite the political fight over teachers’ authority over students and parents’ rights to know what is being taught. Just last week, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona tweeted that “teachers know what’s best for their children” and “we need to trust teachers,” leading to complaints from prominent Republicans that parents must have a substantial input into school programs.
The administration has also come under attack from Republicans and parent groups after the Justice Department released a memo in 2021 that urged officials to investigate threats of violence against local school administrators and teachers. This memo was released after the National School Boards Association urged the administration to consider such threats a form of “domestic terrorism.”
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The group later apologized for using the term, but Republicans have since accused the Biden administration of siding with teachers and working against parents who seek information about what their children are learning and not learning. don’t always get answers.
The Ministry of Education report also repeatedly stressed that AI should never replace human teachers.
“Some teachers fear they will be replaced – on the contrary, the Department strongly rejects the idea that AI could replace teachers,” he said. “At no time do we intend to imply that AI can replace a teacher, tutor or educational leader as the guardian of their students’ learning.”
The report recommended that as AI becomes a part of the classroom, policymakers should strive to “always center educators (ACE).”
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“In practice, practicing ‘ACE in AI’ means keeping a humanistic view of teaching at the forefront,” he said. “ACE Leads Department to Confidently Answer ‘No’ When Asked ‘Will AI Replace Teachers?’ “”