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The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology released a new report, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning: Insights and Recommendations, this week. The report acknowledges that the rapid pace of artificial intelligence (AI) advances is impacting society and summarizes opportunities and risks for AI in teaching, learning, research, and assessment.

AI enables new forms of interaction among students, teachers and computers by way of voice, gestures, sketches and other human modes of communication, according to the report. These new forms may be leveraged to, for example, support students with disabilities, provide an additional “partner” for students working on collaborative assignments or help a teacher with complex classroom routines.

The report also highlights that AI may assist educators in addressing variabilities in students’ learning. For example, AI may assist students for whom English is not their first language. AI can also support powerful forms of adaptivity and enhance student-teacher feedback loops, according to the report.

But the report warns that AI increases known, existing risks and introduces new risks.  Known risks include data privacy and security, algorithmic discrimination, inappropriate outputs, inaccurate depictions of history, unwanted surveillance and compromised trust.   

“The Department firmly takes the stance that constituents want AI that supports teachers and rejects AI visions that replace teachers,” the report authors wrote.

The report recommends that the federal government, states, higher education institutions, school districts, and other partners collaborate to:

  1. Emphasize humans-in-the-loop.
  2. Align AI models to a shared vision for education.
  3. Design AI using modern learning principles.
  4. Prioritize strengthening trust.
  5. Inform and involve educators.
  6. Focus research and development on addressing context and enhancing trust and safety.
  7. Develop education-specific guidelines and guardrails.

The Office of Educational Technology partnered with the nonprofit Digital Promise to survey more than 700 educational stakeholders to write the report. Participants were surveyed in a series of four public listening sessions in the summer of 2022.

The Department of Education will offer a public webinar about their vision for AI information sharing, support and policies on June 13, 2023, from 2:30 – 3:30pm Eastern Time.