Potential downsides of AI in education

Published: August 15th, 2023

The recent explosion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology into mainstream consciousness brings a lot of questions. While many recognize the potential good in these apps and devices, we have to explore the potential harm these ever-changing technologies could cause, too.

No one field stands to be more radically changed by the introduction of AI than education. Software such as Chat-GPT has already elicited strong negative reactions  – raising many debates about the negative impact of AI on education.

In this article, we’ll look at the most common critiques of AI to answer a question. Do the benefits of incorporating AI into education outweigh the potential damage it could do?

How does AI negatively affect education?

From AI-powered teacher’s assistants to virtual labs and field trips, artificial intelligence can take on many forms. With the tech’s potential for greatness comes the potential for harm as well. 

Bias in AI models

For an AI model to function, it must be trained from a dataset. Large language models (LLM) such as Chat-GPT are trained on hundreds of millions of data points that form the basis for the AI’s intelligence. While this makes LLMs particularly flexible pieces of software, they are also prone to bias.

As AI evolves, it adopts the predominant characteristics of the dataset it was trained on. If there is bias in the dataset – which there almost always is – then the AI will be prone to perpetuating those biases. 

Biases can be extremely difficult to account for, even when researchers are aware of the issue when determining what data to feed their AI. This is why developers take particular care when cultivating datasets for their creations.

Lack of personalization

Software powered by artificial intelligence often relies on a one-size-fits-all approach to providing feedback or answering questions. 

In the case of LLMs like Chat-GPT, the software relies on specific prompts to create outputs. These outputs, while ever-evolving, are not adapting to that specific user’s inputs. 

The AI doesn’t recognize the prior user or take into account that user’s search history or preferences. Therefore, every time the user accesses the LLM, they must do so as if they were a stranger.

Another issue lies with product usability. Many of these AI-assisted technologies rely on touchscreens, so those who have difficulty interfacing with a touchscreen can be frustrated by the lack of accessibility options. 

That is why Promethean interactive display panels include state-of-the-art infrared touchscreen technology. This flexible technology has the option of interfacing using touch or stylus, giving users more freedom to choose how they prefer to work.

Potential for errors

Just like humans, AI is prone to mistakes and errors. One of the more common AI errors stems from when the model attempts to reference facts or events that never really happened – a phenomenon known as an “hallucination.”

When these hallucinations occur, they can often be overlooked by human inputs, as the AI model presents false information alongside real and factual data. 

Over time, developers hope that speaking more with real human users will reduce the likelihood of AI hallucinations.

Reduced human interaction

While AI can be an invaluable tool for learning, one of the biggest drawbacks that comes with it is the lack of interaction with real humans. 

Although our world has become increasingly digital, the need to communicate and get along with other human beings is still essential to normal function. Using an AI learning model might help you complete tasks for your job, but you will still need to win over another person to get hired.

Emotional intelligence deficit

Human interactions often rely heavily on unspoken signals such as tone and body language. AI can’t currently read and perceive this sort of nuance.

Reading one’s emotional state is crucial for being able to effectively communicate and teach them. Therefore, AI is better off used in conjunction with real human inputs, rather than as a sole replacement for the educator. 

Reduces students’ capacity for thought and critical thinking

When used as a tool, AI can provide many practical benefits. However, when users become increasingly reliant on the software, it quickly becomes a detriment to their learning. 

Case in point: ChatGPT. The enormously popular tool has been embraced and used responsibly by many, but for many others, the AI language model has simply become a tool to cheat faster with a slightly better vocabulary. Students are trying to pass off AI-generated work as their own, but the good news is teachers have recourse to prevent reliance on this technology.

A simple way to combat non-thinking is to re-introduce collaboration in the classroom. For instance, instead of asking students to write a take-home paper, you can assign an in-class presentation. Students can conduct research in or outside of the classroom, but they must rely on their own thinking skills – not artificial intelligence – to stand in front of the class and make a comprehensible presentation.

What are the benefits of teacher/student interaction?

Although AI-assisted technologies have the potential to radically transform the educational landscape for the better. We can’t ignore the importance of teacher/student interaction in the classroom. Research shows that positive interactions between students and teachers influence student success. Here are two ways to ensure a positive relationship with your students.

Collaboration in the classroom

Lesson delivery software such as Promethean’s ActivInspire platform gives classrooms a whole new degree of collaborative ability. This award-winning software with multi-touch capabilities boasts dozens of supplemental lesson templates, from graph papers to T-charts, which are available in the Resource Browser.

Teachers can use ActivInspire as a collaboration tool for students, allowing them to dig further into the topics they find interesting and learn more about the topics they don’t understand just yet. 

Additionally, the Promethean Resource Library contains hundreds of ActivInspire STEAM flipcharts that can be easily tailored for individual instruction. For students who never seem to get their classroom tasks done on time, ActivInspire features a teacher lock and built-in timer for effective time management.

For students who learn better with hands-on lessons, ActivInspire features math tools like a ruler, set square, dice roller, and protractor. No more hunting for tools in your student’s backpacks – all the tools you need for immersive and collaborative learning are at your fingertips.

Being able to tailor learning to the needs of your students is a great way to build rapport in the classroom and ensure positive experiences for your students.

Classroom efficacy

Education technology can help break down the barriers to academic success by tackling many of the most common issues in modern classrooms, including but certainly not limited to distraction, lack of effective communication, and time management issues.

Products like Explain Everything help educators by acting as a virtual one-stop shop for enhancing lessons with multimedia softwarelesson management, sharing materials, and more.

With this additional time, teachers can focus on engaging with their students in ways that matter.

Promethean – bringing the fire of AI to educators worldwide

Despite the potential drawbacks, we can’t ignore the positive outcome of AI integration into education. Thousands of classrooms across the country use some form of AI, with millions of students now learning and growing alongside these technologies.

With superior ease of use, unparalleled reliability, and over a decade of trusted customer expertise, it’s no wonder educators prefer Promethean

Find out why thousands of teachers across the country are switching to interactive displays and online learning software.

Request a demo today to see the Promethean ActivPanel in action.

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