Arts & Culture

EXPERT COMMENT:  AI – The Educational Revolution You Never Saw Coming

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is propelling us into a ‘golden era,’ with generative AI like GPT-4 becoming seamlessly integrated into our daily lives.

This technology is advancing rapidly, and its language understanding capabilities are unparalleled, presenting a potential game-changer in how we approach education.

Experts foresee AI revolutionising the education sector, completely reshaping the way we teach—from schools to higher education. In the next 2-3 years, it is envisioned schools will become student well-being centres leveraging AI tutors to personalise education.

This transformation can also be extended to universities, with stronger student support and assessment for learning and virtual reality education, and contributing to this transformation will lead to major shifts in curriculum focusing on how future-relevant skills like creative and critical thinking are acquired, enabling students to work with AI as a co-pilot.

In this emerging educational model, the competency to synergise with AI as a co-pilot becomes as foundational as literacy and numeracy, thereby necessitating a re-evaluation and recalibration of pedagogical approaches.

Dr Vishal Rana (Griffith University) – “within the next 2-3 years the roles of schools are likely to change”
Dr Rana is an academic and Discipline Leaders Management in the Department of Business, Strategy, and Innovation at Griffith University. His academic pursuits are complemented by his entrepreneurial endeavours, having co-founded two technology startups in the mental health technology and educational technology sectors. Dr. Rana has been recognised for his exceptional teaching skills, which have won him numerous awards and commendations from the Deans of Business Schools and Pro-Vice Chancellors (Learning and Teaching) across Australia.

“It is nearly impossible to predict what will happen beyond the next 5 years in the Artificial Intelligence space, though we can look at the current impact AI has already and how that may continue to play a role in education over this time.”

“AI tutors such as ‘Khanmigo’ and ‘synthesis tutor’ are already changing how teaching can be done in schools. These AI tutors don’t judge, don’t get frustrated, are personalised, supportive and allow for critical thinking when studying STEM subjects.  

“Recently, one of the parents in the US who couldn’t find a good maths teacher got his daughter to study maths through synthesis tutor and she won a national level maths Olympiad. This means that within the next 2-3 years the roles of schools are likely to change where schools may become student well-being centres where the focus of educators could be to ensure students are getting personalised education through AI tutors and educators roles becomes those of facilitating the learning environment. 

“This phenomenon at school is most likely going to have a flow on effect for universities within the next 5-7 years if not sooner where students’ expectations would be either: 

  • Universities focus on student well-being and support providing soft skills, and experiential learning in every AI co-piloted course offering with the concept of degrees being re-imagined. For instance, focus on EQ related certifications, lifelong learning contracts, problem solving for real world challenges in collaboration with global think tanks and organisations. 
  • Mergers in the University sector to have mega universities providing educational content through mixed reality spaces where advanced simulations software could offer better personalised educational experience. 
  • Universities and degrees cease to exist. Major tech companies or smaller customised institutions provide future relevant skills. Everyone possesses a skills e-passport linked with the national/international database of jobs that automatically matches the most/relevant skilled people with jobs.’ 

“Given GPT-4 models of AI have an IQ of 150+ and with computational ability growing exponentially, future GPT-7 to GPT-10 models should have enough capability to be smarter than humans by the year 2029.” 

Mr Bert Verhoeven (Flinders University) – “AI is now a part of our reality and has the potential to be a remarkable ally”
Bert Verhoeven is Program director Innovation and Enterprise at Flinders University. Bert’s expertise is in practical application of Generative AI in Education, Customer/user driven Innovation, business models and social entrepreneurship.

“In the knowledge economy, AI in education is not a replacement for human intellect; it’s the catalyst that amplifies our capacity to learn, innovate, and lead. By liberating educators from monotonous tasks, AI could enable educators to re-channel their energy towards nurturing the most precious resource – students.”

“Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, demonstrate unparalleled capabilities in myriad areas. Although not without flaws (yet), these include, but are not limited to data storage, query responses, the generation of essays, reports, academic papers, policies, strategies, legal documentation, and coding. These skills epitomise the expertise of knowledge workers worldwide. AI presently struggles to grasp context or form value judgments, aspects at which humans are remarkably adept. Humans possess an intrinsic knack for interpreting complex situations and producing valuable, innovative outcomes that benefit others.”

“Emerging research underscores the compelling potential for knowledge workers to collaborate with Artificial Intelligence as a co-pilot, thereby enhancing operational efficiencies and elevating the quality of the output. This shift leads to new roles for humans changing from being Creators, Managers, and Administrators to assuming the capacities of Co-Creators, Editors, and Facilitators. Such a transition entails an AI-Human collaborative continuum, ranging from co-creation to iterative revision and, ultimately, to implementation.

“What we have experienced in our classes is that this evolution is particularly salient in the educational landscape. Traditional paradigms that prioritise factual knowledge are being eclipsed by frameworks that place a premium on the cultivation of creative and critical thinking skills, enabling to work with AI as a co-pilot. In this emerging educational model, the competency to synergise with AI as a co-pilot becomes as foundational as literacy and numeracy, thereby necessitating a re-evaluation and recalibration of pedagogical approaches.”

“In the face of AI-induced disruptions, there emerges a compelling opportunity to transition from an ‘assessment of learning’ paradigm to an ‘assessment for learning’ framework. While monitored examinations retain their importance for quality assurance, there is a growing pedagogical shift towards experiential learning. User driven models are experiential and deploy authentic assessment methods, designed to evaluate students’ skills and competencies in real-world contexts.”

“This approach, which emphasises hands-on, real-world skill development, presents a more AI-compatible alternative to the conventional lecture-tutorial-examination sequence. We advocate for a transition to authentic assessments that align with this experiential pedagogy, including but not limited to portfolios, project-based assignments, and simulated real-world tasks. While this resource-intensive methodology has the potential to challenge existing higher education business models, universities that dismiss or prohibit AI tools like ChatGPT may inadvertently undermine their own competitive edge in student admissions.”

“When asked about consumer input into his business Henry Ford famously replied: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Based on our experience integrating AI as a learning tool into our Innovation and Enterprise course, we pose that the essence of our argument is this: we must move beyond the mindset of viewing AI as a threatening storm on the horizon.

“AI is now a part of our reality and has the potential to be a remarkable ally, amplifying human potential in a symbiotic relationship. The question we need to ask ourselves, how can we prepare for a future that is likely to be closely intertwined with AI without simply imagining faster horses.”

MCERA, an independent, not-for-profit organisation, provides a conduit through which education research and researchers are made more accessible to the media to help improve public understanding of key education-related issues. We provide journalists with expert, independent and accessible insights from education researchers and practitioners. Any views expressed by the experts we consult are not necessarily those of MCERA or its staff.