Ed Tech Policy
4 'Key Foundations' for AI in Education
Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay. The U.S Department of Education has released guidance for the education sector — including potential benefits, warnings about misuses, and principles for developing guidelines at the district level.
- By Kate Lucariello
hearings in the U.S. Congress in May 2023, AI developers and key
stakeholders urged lawmakers to take seriously the need for oversight
of this technology and to act now to develop policies and laws to
monitor and direct the responsible use of it. Every sector is being
affected by AI, including the education system.
its report, “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and
Learning: Insights and Recommendations,” released in May 2023, the
Educational Technology (OET) of the U.S.
Department of Education (ED) outlines several core
messages. ED makes clear its support for ed tech, including AI, to
improve teaching and learning but emphasizes that knowledge about AI
needs to be shared, support given for those using it, and policies
developed for its safe and responsible use.
report recognizes that the main components of AI are being
“increasingly embedded in all types of educational systems,”
shifting from “capturing data to detecting patterns in data” and
from “providing access to instructional resources to automating
expresses deep concerns about the increase in delegating
responsibilities to a computer system. The report also expresses
concerns about biases in pattern detection and fairness in automating
report acknowledges the opportunities AI presents: voice assistants,
writing help, trip planning, and, for educators, disabled student
support, multilingual learning support, finding lesson materials, and
lesson creation support.
there are risks as well: security and privacy breaches, inappropriate
or wrong information, enhancement of cultural or other biases,
student plagiarism, and fairness.
report also acknowledges the rapid rise and the benefits and risks of
generative AI-enabled chatbots, but does not focus specifically on
listening sessions in 2022 and 2023, attended by over 700
participants, OET recognized three main reasons to address the use of
AI in education now: First, AI can help educate students at a lower
cost, help them make up learning losses due to the pandemic, and
customize learning to their specific culture and community.
risks include increased student surveillance, dangers of “algorithmic
discrimination” against some student populations, unfair exam
monitoring systems, or inaccurate information.
unintended or unexpected consequences may include the AI adapting its
curricular learning pace for specific students based on “incomplete
data, poor theories, or biased assumptions about learning,” thus
affecting achievement rates. This can also affect the hiring of
these issues in mind, the report articulates guiding questions about
what a collective vision for the use of AI in education looks like
and what the timeline should be for developing guidelines to address
it, based on four “key foundations”:
- Which AI technologies to use in education to keep people central in
How to advance equity and root out bias that could interfere with
every student achieving success;
How to ensure safety, ethics, and effectiveness in data privacy and
How to ensure transparency and disclosure about how AI models work in
terms of educational goals, as well as human control when needed.
this page to read and download a summary handout of
the report’s main points. A webinar going into more depth on this
report will be held Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at 2:30 p.m. ET. Signup
is available by QR code at this summary handout link.
full report can be downloaded from this page.
Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.