Caution urged as AI tools backed for use in schools

Generative artificial intelligence programs such as ChatGPT should be used in schools because students needed to be taught about the technology that would “redefine” jobs of the future, visiting experts have told an Australian forum.

But they say students need to be fully informed about the risks of using the technology and teachers need access to AI training to ensure it is used appropriately.

The advice comes weeks after confirmation AI tools will be allowed in all Australian schools from next year in a national framework backed by state and territory education ministers.

Details of the education framework is expected to be released within weeks.

The latest AI advice came from a forum held in Sydney on Tuesday by the Belgian Economic Mission.

Speaker and D-Teach co-founder Lieselot Declercq told AAP fears artificial intelligence could be used in negative ways should not be allowed to restrict students being taught about the technology they would ultimately use in their professional lives.

“It’s part of their world, they are already living it and they are sometimes giving tips to teachers on how to use AI in the classrooms so it’s very important they are prepared,” she said.

“AI is here to stay because it has a low barrier to entry and is very accessible to everyone.”

Ms Declercq said it would also be important to provide training for teachers in the ethical and responsible use of AI tools as there was little formal education available.

She said class and homework assignments would need to change to ensure students were using their creativity rather than relying on a program.

“Perhaps if every task can be written by ChatGPT, we should ask is this the competence we want to achieve or do we want to give a more creative task to our students?” she said.

“We have to rethink the role of students and teachers and the tasks we provide.”

Flemish Interuniversity Council secretary-general Koen Verlaeckt said education involving generative AI tools should not overlook the risks involved in using them and students need to be told to question information sources and the use of data they provide to the tools.

The impact of artificial intelligence tools on society would be significant, he said, and students needed to be well prepared to deal with changes.

“It will force us to redefine certain professions,” he said.

“The benefits are difficult to predict now but with different opportunities opening up because of the use of artificial intelligence, we truly believe the impact in the long run will be absolutely positive.”

On October 5, education ministers confirmed they would adopt a national framework for the use of generative AI tools in Australian schools from term one in 2024 after revising draft rules following feedback from teachers, parents and experts.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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