To Improve the American Education System, Increase Student Visibility

Ways that administrators can start leveraging AI.

GUEST COLUMN | by Ian Zhu

MINIWIDE STUDIO

Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking the world and education system by storm, and all across the country schools’ leadership are determining how to best navigate the technology. Simultaneously, the collective educational system is overloaded, presenting an opportunity to re-frame how AI may be used to benefit the overall learning ecosystem.   

‘It’s not a mystery that technology has incredible potential to tackle administrative tasks but integrating custom tools can actually transform how schools operate.’

While fears of AI-powered tools like ChatGPT’s impact on students persist, AI may not be best served in the hands of students, but in the hands of those it can best support: administrators. The following are some ways that administrators can start leveraging AI to help classrooms run more smoothly, provide personalized learning experiences and cultivate more transparency between parents and teachers on their students’ performance.   

Lessening the administrative workload  

Running a school today is not an easy task. From test scores to post-education outcomes, all schools face pressure to succeed and to ensure their students do the same. On top of that, in a traditional classroom setting, grading, reporting and lesson planning can be a time-consuming task. The latest figures show that teachers are spending over half of their time on administrative work, leaving little room to focus on instruction. All of this has put the American public education system in a detrimental position on the world stage.  

With customized, AI-powered systems, school administrators can save hours of time and gain useful, applicable insights into students and what they need to succeed, which is a win-win across the board. AI can utilize information over time to build a personalized catalog of knowledge that provides instant feedback to school leadership. With more time, improved data will allow teachers, administrators and counselors to tailor their approach without having to overextend themselves.  

Custom AI tools can easily tackle the data overload that schools and classrooms are facing. By delegating the little things, teachers have more time to engage with students directly so they can create a dynamic learning environment that is focused on student visibility, powered by dynamic data. Not only that but teachers are also equipped to build new connections for students who need a boost in certain subjects over others.  

Personalized learning  

Adaptive learning platforms infused with AI allow for personalized learning paths based on a student’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Instead of learning to meet a standardized grading system or test, the future of learning makes room for an individual student’s unlimited potential based on real-time insights.  

With a focus on actionable, usable information, AI can analyze student performance data to provide targeted resources and activities that can build out ideal pathways. By tailoring the curriculum to individual needs, teachers can optimize their time by addressing specific areas of improvement rather than teaching a one-size-fits-all lesson plan.  

AI offers greater student visibility and possibility  

In the last twenty years, college applications have increased by 150 percent, even as graduating class size has stayed about the same. Increased application numbers paired with competitive acceptance rates have made the illusion of exclusivity even more of an issue, putting more pressure on today’s students.  

And even though students are meeting the system’s standards more than ever, doing well by today’s standards is not helping students feel seen for who they are. College admissions teams continue to be overwhelmed with an unmanageable number of applications, and many qualified students fall through the cracks or contribute to a poorly designed system.  

When schools look beyond the transcript, it opens doors for students, and for the larger education systems to advance. AI makes this possible with more data available to understand how students can and will be successful within and beyond secondary education.  

A way forward   

It’s not a mystery that technology has incredible potential to tackle administrative tasks but integrating custom tools can actually transform how schools operate. As the teacher shortage persists, freeing up teacher time and enabling educators to focus on what truly matters – providing high-quality instruction and personalized support – will foster a tech-powered yet human-centric environment that celebrates what’s possible for today’s students, without glorifying AI as the easy way out in learning.   

 Ian Zhu is the founder and CEO of SchoolJoy, a learning system that understands student identities beyond grades and test scores. His professional journey began in consulting and later transitioned to the tech industry. As Ian continued in his career, he expanded his involvement in the education sector as a volunteer and strategic advisor, recognizing the opportunities to improve how data is managed for administrators, teachers and students. This, paired with his own journey as a student, inspired Ian to co-found SchoolJoy. Connect with Ian on LinkedIn

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