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No-stradamus

Everyone loves a prediction - but is debunking them just too easy?


Our brains are wired to dislike uncertainty and ambiguity, that's the reason behind our love of predictions - it gives us a sense of control.  Over the last year there have been many predictions relating to #artificialintelligence and #education. Ranging from AI powered robots caterpillar-ing into classrooms to AI assistants for teacher admin. 



Whilst we must always consider the voices and agendas behind the predictions - it's fair to say that the inflection point heralded by many where AI is embedded across education has not yet come to pass. 


A popularly referenced article by Lauraine Langreo at Education Week highlights their December '23 survey stating that: 

  • only 2% of teachers use generative AI a lot, 

  • 22% of teachers have no plans to use it this school year,

  • 37% have no plans to use it ever.


Articles by Dan Meyer and Darren Coxon sharing their reflections on this are well worth a read.


𝑴𝒚 𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒔𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒆...


While it might be fun to write off these predictions and consign AI in education to the waste-paper basket of failed innovations - I think it is still to early. 


Crucially, not because of the technology (which will only keep improving) but due to something more human, accessibility.

Historical examples, such as the slow integration of electricity demonstrate that transformative technologies often undergo a gradual acceptance. 


Electricity had been "discovered" for some time, though it took Edison lighting up a Manhattan block to demonstrate the real, practical, commercial usage. 



Before then, electricity was more of a novelty, used in things like children's' toys! A bit like AI...


Accessibility therefore needs certain things; to make it clear to the user how an innovation can integrate with existing systems and their approach to the task as well as a clear understanding of the value gained.


In other words, we need that lightbulb turning on moment which I don't think has yet happened in education.


The challenge for those of us developing these technologies is to focus on accessibility over everything else.


It's to remove ourselves from what this technology could do - and prescribe "solutions" to users - instead to talk with and listen to them.


Only in truly understanding how we can make AI accessible can we hope to bring its transformative potential to educators. 


Clearly, that is the divining rods for us at Interactive Tutor - it is why we host regular focus groups (like the one last night) and why we collaborate with schools - learning with them - to build the best AI for them and their needs. 


Zeroing in on accessibility. 


So in conclusion, predictions are as attractive as it is dispelling them. But with #AI in #Education I think that it is still too early to make the call either way.


Lucky Nostradamus... 

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