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Office of Ed Tech Releases AI Recommendations

Futuristic design around the letters AI

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Educational Technology has published Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning: Insights and Recommendations, a guide to artificial intelligence (AI) and its implications for education. The newly released document describes the opportunities AI brings to improve education, cautions which challenges may occur, and develops recommendations to guide further policy.

Throughout, the authors pose thoughtful questions regarding the educational use of AI such as, “To what extent is AI enabling adaptation to students’ strengths and not just deficits? Is AI enabling improved support for learners with disabilities and English language learners?” These questions are then translated into policy recommendations. “Although many products today are adaptive, some adapt on just one or a few dimensions of variability, such as student’s accuracy in problem solving. As teachers know, there are many more important ways to adapt to students’ strengths and needs. Students are neurodiverse and may have specific disabilities. They bring different assets from their experiences at home, in communities, and in their cultures.” To address this, ED recommends research and development should take the lead in making sure that AI models are context-sensitive so as to establish a sense of trust and usefulness to a broad array of users.

AI is advancing rapidly and education-specific guidelines and guardrails need to go beyond data privacy and security to encompass complexities such as bias, transparency, and accountability. As AI advances, it will be harder to evaluate promising edtech platforms that rely on AI systems unless the education field works together to share, learn, and envision. ED stresses that “Policies are urgently needed to implement the following:

  1. leverage automation to advance learning outcomes while protecting human decision making and judgment;
  2. interrogate the underlying data quality in AI models to ensure fair and unbiased pattern recognition and decision making in educational applications, based on accurate information appropriate to the pedagogical situation;
  3. enable examination of how particular AI technologies, as part of larger edtech or educational systems, may increase or undermine equity for students; and
  4. take steps to safeguard and advance equity, including providing for human checks and balances and limiting any AI systems and tools that undermine equity.”

For further information, read the report here.

Posted:  25 May, 2023

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