Adopt AI-based tools too quickly and it could create more challenges than it solves.
GUEST COLUMN | by Joey Nutinsky
No technology has moved from new concept to classroom usage faster than AI.
ChatGPT arrived earlier this school year, saving teachers time while posing existential questions about academic integrity and the relevance of many school assignments. Many products are now integrating image generation tools and “helpers” to make their existing features even more powerful. This is a direction other edtech products are likely going as well.
While these tools bring value (and novelty) to classrooms, they also introduce a new set of issues to consider. Specifically, AI brings concerns about student data privacy, equitable access, and curriculum relevance.
‘… AI brings concerns about student data privacy, equitable access, and curriculum relevance.’
At a time when administrators are grappling with some of the biggest challenges in recent history, such as declining achievement, a teacher shortage, and school safety concerns, it’s important to consider proven technology options for schools that address current problems. These options can help reduce dependency on multiple tools or make operations more efficient and effective.
Provide equitable access to tutoring through chat-based services
Over 200 different studies have shown that tutoring produces significant learning gains for students. However, private tutoring can be expensive, and free services are often short on resources.
Virtual instructors who work with students via text or video have emerged as a scalable solution. These services offer 1-to-1 tutoring, including content-area specific solutions, such as virtual reading tutoring. When schools subscribe to these services, all students have access to the tutoring, creating a more equitable learning experience.
Ease teacher shortages through centralized networks
The teacher shortage is a real problem that is likely getting worse. Schools are also struggling with the shortage of substitute teachers, which leaves them scrambling and can lead to reduced teacher planning time as other teachers are needed to cover classes.
Centralized networks connecting schools and potential teachers help address these problems. These solutions allow schools to visit sites in search of substitutes. Potential substitutes can go to one place for opportunities at many schools. There are even emerging solutions to bring online teachers into physical classrooms for long-term gigs to help ease the teacher shortage.
Ensure safety during emergencies with mobile notifications
Many schools still rely on teachers to use a paper roster to track students during emergencies and drills, which can lead to false alarms and wasted time.
A better way to ensure safety during emergencies is to leverage mobile phones for student and staff check-ins. Students and teachers can easily receive automated notifications with check-in prompts, and administrators can automatically receive updated data to guide decision-making. This technology is easy to implement and utilizes devices that many teachers and students already have.
Address existing challenges before creating new ones
If schools adopt AI-based tools too quickly, especially those not created with student safety and privacy in mind, it could create more challenges than it solves.
Now is the perfect time for administrators to identify existing challenges, find tools that solve issues at the school and district level, and ensure tools have multiple uses where possible.
Before investing in AI, administrators should consider these three essential tech solutions that address real problems in schools. By doing so, schools can create a more equitable learning experience for all students, alleviate staff shortages, and increase the safety in their buildings.
As CEO and Co-Founder of Ruvna, Joey Nutinsky is a visionary, educator-focused leader with a passion for all things digital. Joey focuses on bringing Ruvna into the future and growing the company to its maximum potential. Connect with him on LinkedIn.