A discussion on AI – Are we Sleepwalking in Paradise?

As a lifelong learner and passionate teacher, I have read deeply on the art and nature of teaching and learning. There is much to be gained from online learning, and tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, ChatGPT, that sits in the realm of competency and automation in classrooms. ChatGPT, the most renown in the suite of education AI technologies and has divided opinions, creating utopian reformers and dystopian cynics (Schiff, 2021).

A significant improvement on existing search engines, ChatGPT has the capability, in one step, to generate unique content for the user (for example, speeches, essays, poems and your homework) and respond to the user’s cues and editorial improvements instantly. It is an extraordinary feat of technological advancement, but who is the person in the computer? Who are our children learning from, if not from us?

In schools, in the wake of ‘technology-rich’ classrooms, there has been no measurable improvement or obvious increase in student achievement (Beveridge, S. 2018). True proficiency, expertise, and mastery is seen in students that have been exposed to risk and failure, demonstrated evidence of engagement through deep debate and conversation in classrooms or real-world interactions augmented by prudent technological support. I never thought I would say this but thank goodness the pandemic taught us teachers still have a role to play in schools, society, education, humanity and civility.

How we navigate and tolerate the integration of AI with humanity, and subsequent augmentation, will be critical to our future. The challenge is to chart a path to a future where humans remain indispensable. Sunshine Coast Grammar School takes very seriously our role in assisting families to set students up for the future. But all members of society, schools included, will be required to tap into those superpowers that can’t be programmed into a robot: love and imagination.

Written by Principal, Mrs Anna Owen