The latest developments in AI technology are making waves in industries across the globe. From creative industries to industry and factories, AI has the potential to completely change the way we work on a daily basis.  

From a business perspective, the global AI in education market size was evaluated at $1.82 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow exponentially. Around 25% of education establishments reported successful investment and deployment of AI in 2022, up from 14% in 2019. Regardless of personal feelings about the technology, it’s clear that it is here for the long run. 

Needless to say, it’s counterproductive to ignore these technological developments in the education sector. Your students are growing and developing into a world where AI will be commonplace. As always, it’s your school’s responsibility to ensure that it prepares all students for the world of the future. 

While adopting and adapting to AI is almost inevitable in your school, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t pose risks. It’s important to recognise these and find ways to mitigate them for your students, while generating an AI strategy that benefits your school and the education that you provide.  

What are the primary risks associated with AI in modern schools? And how do you prepare your staff and students to combat those concerns? 

Content ownership 

Confirming total originality and content ownership has been at the top of assessor's minds for a long time. Ultimately, the influx of AI in education settings only increases that concern.  

Who really owns content that was created by AI? And is the content ever truly original and attributable to your student? At present, that really depends on who you ask.  

Ultimately, this question is far bigger than one school alone and requires a review of the thought process behind assessments as a whole. How important is originality in assessments?  

While you can't make industry-wide changes on your own, consider what this means on a micro level for your school and set clear boundaries for AI. If you ban the technology, it’s still likely that students will use AI for assessments and find new ways around filters as they become more AI literate outside the classroom.  

AI in education

However, if you take an educational approach and demonstrate how AI can be used to inform assessment content without losing originality, students are far more likely to respond positively. Your students can still carry out assessments using their ideas and original thinking, formed by data provided by generative AI.  

AI is a tool, not a solution. This is likely to be a key ethos for the schools of the future.  

Impact on critical thinking 

Critical thinking is a vitally important skill that develops during the school years for many people. In the majority of schools, subjects like English Literature and Language particularly focus on enhancing this skill. This isn’t just important for ‘reading between the lines’ in books and plays. Critical thinking is a key foundation for a well-rounded and adaptable personality.  

It’s understandable, given how important it is, that industry leaders are concerned about AI’s impact on critical thinking, particularly in an education setting. If AI provides you with all the answers, what is there to analyse? 

One way to combat this is to use AI as a learning opportunity. AI provides as much information as you could need, but your students need to recognise whether that information is accurate and useful. Using AI requires a keen level of critical thinking if it is to be used appropriately.  

Take the time to educate students on what AI can do and where its limitations lie. This emerging technology can be used as a tool for education, but it must be used wisely. As mentioned, the uptake of AI is inevitable, so make sure that your students know how best to use it for maximum impact and accuracy. 

Algorithms and misinformation 

Like any modern-day software or internet tool, AI is subject to the biases of algorithms and the impact of misinformation on the internet. Ultimately, AI harnesses all available data, whether that information is true or not. It does not verify; it simply collates and translates into a palatable format.  

AI in education

So how can you be sure that the information that your AI is providing you or your students is legitimate and factual? The truth is that you can’t. It is a fact of the currently available AI technology that it requires a level of human intervention in order to reach its full efficacy. As mentioned, AI should always be considered a tool to help you reach your goal, not a solution.  

It is both your staff and your student's responsibility to interrogate data provided by AI and understand where algorithms or misinformation may have impacted its output. This provides a great opportunity to educate on the benefits of AI and potential pitfalls.  

Ideally, you need a school-wide stance on the use of AI to provide clear guidance, but the initial education on the technology is just as important for ensuring it can be a useful tool for information gathering alone. 

Data privacy 

Data protection and cybersecurity are critical in an education sector that relies upon technology more than ever before. Not only that, but schools also have student safeguarding and child protection as a priority.  

AI presents a risk in protecting the privacy and safety of your students and their data, as well as your wider school data, when not used safely. 

Education on AI and the way it works is key to mitigating these risks as much as possible. This isn’t just important for your students, but for your staff and parents. Your entire school community needs to know how to safely use AI tools and where the risk to data security lies.  

If you identify that AI is likely to become a staple in your school’s technological toolkit, take the time to organise bespoke sessions to help users really understand what AI tools are and how they work. Not only will this help your school community to get the most out of these solutions, but ensure that they’re implemented as safely as possible for data protection and child safeguarding.  

Where is the limit for implementing AI effectively? 

This is the primary question that schools will be asking themselves as we develop into the AI-focused world. At what point does AI stop becoming a useful tool and begin to become a boundary to real learning? At the moment, there isn’t any guidance on what role AI should specifically play in all student learning, so it’s your school’s responsibility to be forward thinking and set clear boundaries on the use of the technology for your students.  

AI in education

The Department for Education states that the safeguarding of personal data is the priority when using AI in education, but schools should also prepare students for their lives in the future. The government department also recognises the potential that AI has for teacher time management 

Overall, it’s clear that AI has a firm place in the schools of the future, and future forward schools must acknowledge this. Ignoring or even barring the use of AI technology is no longer feasible as students grow their technical knowledge outside of the classroom. A clear boundary for the use of AI is important, and this needs to be communicated with your entire school community.  

The iSAMS Data Protection module was created to help you comply with GDPR requirements and best protect your sensitive school information. It enables you to create, configure and manage consent registers with the Consent Management feature, including capturing consent from parents at the start of the Admissions process via the Admissions Portal. It also gives you the ability to maintain a comprehensive record of all DSAR’s, from request through to completion, to maximise your safeguarding capabilities.  

That’s also why we’re cloud-based and prioritise school data security. Your school data is vital, but at increased risk. You can learn more about cyber-attacks, mitigating them, and how iSAMS protects your information in our free guide here.  

Interested in learning more about iSAMS and how we can support your school’s future technological development? Watch a demo of our MIS below.