AI in Education: Unlocking opportunities, addressing challenges

PHOTO: Andrew Ley, a Learning Specialist at Technology in Education (TIE), addresses school stakeholders at a recent workshop titled “Artificial Intelligence and Schools.” During this workshop, educators, administrators, and school board members from across the region gathered to learn more about AI’s role in the future of education. 


By Garland Wright 

On September 7, educators, administrators, school board members, and education policymakers gathered for a day-long “Artificial Intelligence and Schools” workshop at Western Dakoto Tech in Rapid City. Among those in attendance were Edgemont and Hot Springs administrators and teachers. This event, hosted by the School Administrators of South Dakota (SASD) and the Associated School Boards of South Dakota (ASBSD) in partnership with the Technology in Education (TIE) office, aimed to explore the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education and shape future policies regarding its use in schools.

For those unfamiliar with the term, AI is a cutting-edge technology that enables machines to mimic human intelligence. Essentially, AI involves using algorithms and data to make decisions, recognize patterns, and perform tasks autonomously. AI systems can learn and adapt over time, enhancing their capabilities without explicit programming.

AI has the potential to revolutionize education in various ways. It can personalize learning experiences for students, catering to their individual needs and pace of learning. Additionally, AI can assist educators in administrative tasks, allowing them to focus more on teaching. It can also provide valuable insights through data analysis to enhance educational outcomes.

Despite its promise, educators have raised concerns when considering the integration of AI into classrooms. Some worry about the potential loss of personalized human interaction, data privacy, and the idea that technology might replace critical thinking skills.

However, students need to be well-versed in AI, as it will play a significant role in their future careers. Understanding how to use AI responsibly is becoming an essential skill set in today’s technology-driven world.

During the workshop, school stakeholders engaged in discussions about what future policies for AI use in schools might look like. Ensuring ethical and responsible AI integration in education was a focal point of these conversations.

Teachers can harness AI to create more engaging lessons, automate administrative tasks, and provide tailored feedback to students. This technology can facilitate more efficient classroom management, freeing up educators’ time for direct student interaction.

For students, understanding AI is not just about academic learning but also about preparing for future careers. As AI becomes more prevalent in the workforce, students who possess AI literacy will have a competitive edge.

“With new technology, there is always the initial fear of the unknown,” explains Andrew Ley, a Learning Specialist at TIE. “Artificial intelligence has been around for years, but only recently has its application become more accessible and widespread with chatbots like ChatGPT. The goal of this workshop was to provide AI awareness to school leaders and innovators, as well as begin a conversation on how AI could be used in educational settings. It provides unique opportunities to increase educator efficiencies, student differentiation, and learning support. At the same time, when used improperly and in the wrong context, AI can become an impersonal learning crutch for students. AI isn’t going away; so, the question becomes, ‘How do we prepare both students and teachers to use it responsibly?’” 

While AI offers numerous benefits, there is also the potential for student misuse. Proper guidance and education on responsible AI usage are crucial to prevent such abuses.

The workshop “Artificial Intelligence and Schools” provided valuable insights into the transformative potential of AI in education. As South Dakota educators and policymakers continue to explore AI’s role in schools, it is essential to balance innovation and responsible usage to ensure the best outcomes for students and educators alike.

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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