✨AI educational technologies are revamping the way we teach✨

If I look back at my experience with technology in school compared to the experience of today’s youth, it is completely different from one another. Technology has made huge advancements in the last 25 years and it seems that nowadays there is an endless amount of new applications, software, and platforms available for students and educators to use to further the learning experience at school. Artificial intelligence has become a powerful tool that we can incorporate into our teaching repertoire that provides a plethora of educational technology tools for both students and educators. Most importantly, “artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize the way we learn and teach” (Edutech Global, 2023). However, “the use of AI in education is valuable in some ways, but we must be hyper-vigilant in monitoring its development and its overall role in our world” (University of San Diego, 2023).


It is exciting to consider all the different possibilities and opportunities AI can offer in education. In the article entitled “43 Examples of Artificial Intelligence in Education”, the following five advantages are linked to the use of AI in the education field: 1) personalization; 2) tutoring; 3) grading; 4) feedback on course quality; and 5) meaningful and immediate feedback to students (2023). Another benefit associated with the use of AI tools relating to education was the mention that “much of the potential envisioned for AI in education centers on reducing time spent by teachers on tedious tasks to free up time for more meaningful ones” (University of San Diego, 2023). This pro is particularly interesting because educators have been stating for quite some time that we have limited time for all the tasks that are demanded of us in our profession. Having the possibility to free up some of our time from monotonous tasks and allow us to concentrate on teaching and connecting with our students is very appealing in my opinion. The concept of collaboration taking place between educators and AI tools is quite intriguing from an instructional perspective. “As AI educational solutions continue to mature, the hope is that AI can help fill needs gaps in learning and teaching and allow schools and teachers to do more than ever before… [and] by leveraging the best attributes of machines and teachers, the vision for AI in education is one where they work together for the best outcome for students” (Marr, 2021).  More precisely, we need to understand that “AI does not detract from classroom instruction but [can] enhance it in many ways” (University of San Diego, 2023).


As with most topics discussed in class this semester, the use of AI tools in education also brought forth some potential disadvantages. At the forefront of this discussion regarding the negative aspects of AI educational tools was the cost associated with developing and implementing these types of tools (Edutech Global, 2023). Whenever we discuss the topic of cost the question of equity comes to mind because it is hard to ensure that all schools would have the same resources at their disposition; it is very tricky to ensure that all schools would be able to invest in AI tools and have the same tools available to all students. There was also mention of a lack of human interaction and emotional support when we allow students to use AI educational tools in the classroom along with privacy and security concerns (Edutech Global, 2023). An interesting negative that was mentioned in a few articles was the fear educators had that they could be replaced by AI educational tools. It was stressed that AI educational tools did not have the objective to replace teachers, but they were meant to assist teachers in their work and allow their teaching to be more efficient (Edutech Global, 2023).


This week’s topic encouraged me to go and explore what we had available as AI educational tools on the market right now. As I started researching the concept of AI educational tools and what was available to educators, I was pleasantly surprised that I was using a couple without even realizing they were AI educational tools. I have used Quizlet for over a decade to help my students review what we have covered in class and most teachers that teach a different language at school other than English have become familiar with Duolingo as an engaging tool to use with their students to practice different languages. Through the use of AI, Duolingo lessons are paced and leveled for each student according to their performance. In addition, Quizlet offers a feature – Quizlet Learn – that is a smart study resource that provides adaptive plans and helps take the guesswork out of what to study (Whitfield, 2023). Furthermore, Chat GPT is one of the AI tools that has been discussed recently in the media and it has certainly caused insightful discussions at my school. When we first discussed Chat GPT in class, I remember going to work the following day and engaging in an insightful conversation with my principal regarding the use of AI educational tools. This was right around report card time and I know some colleagues who used this tool to generate the tedious and arduous task of writing up report card comments. One of the main ideas that emerged from our conversation was how educators should familiarize themselves with this new tool and see how they could benefit from incorporating this tool to enhance their teaching. It is crucial to understand that

“learning has [always] been a foundational part of humanity and thanks to AI [technologies] education is [becoming] more accessible and efficient than ever” (Whitfield, 2023).

Should educators take on the responsibility of using technology and social media to promote social justice?🤔

Technology has most certainly engrained itself in the present lives of our youths. Teens are becoming more and more dependent on technology and we can not deny that there is a fascination among our youths today that is centered around social media. A huge part of how teens interact with one another nowadays is linked to the use of different social media platforms and the accessibility to information has been ramped up by technology. People are using social media to communicate, share, connect, and even advocate for one another. We are seeing more people advocating for different social justice issues online and taking a stance on a variety of topics. We can not dispute that “ technology is accelerating the rate at which ideas, relationships, and information are shared and that mass distribution [as well as] the ability to effortlessly share information has influenced many facets of modern life, changing the way we think about, connect to, and engage with social justice and activism” (Marville University, 2023). With the increase in the use of technology, educators are now left pondering whether they have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice.


While finishing my undergraduate degree, it was voiced by many professors and colleagues that I should be careful with what I chose to share on social media with others and it was stressed that privacy could be hard to attain because we were continuously in the public eye. I quickly came to understand that educators are held to a high standard and every little thing we say or do is being analyzed and critiqued by the public. Every school year I have students that tell me upon meeting me that they or their parents went searching for me on social media and on the internet; some of them do a deep dive and will pull up information that I had even forgotten about or was not aware was somewhere online. Part of me can sympathize with parents that are curious to get to know their child’s teacher and make sure they are responsible citizens. However, there is another part of me that feels exposed and vulnerable because I can not have a little more privacy in my daily life. It is also very common to run into students/families when doing different errands or going out for supper with friends and family, thus educators need to be mindful of their behaviour as well as how they portray themselves when they are out and about. It seems that educators are often being observed underneath a magnifying glass and any stance we take on differing issues is ready to be highlighted.


At the beginning of my career, I was very concerned that parents would think I had an agenda when it came to the different topics I taught in class; this was particularly true when it came to any controversial topics that were taught in the classroom. As a woman pertaining to a racialized group, I had this fear that parents would think I was teaching with an agenda in mind – especially when we discussed issues of race or topics relating to Truth and Reconciliation. I would even triple-check to make sure what I was teaching reflected the outcomes in the curriculum. Additionally, I made certain that my administration was on board with what I was teaching and was always aware of the different topics being discussed in class. Having my administration back me up was reassuring and gave me the confidence to discuss controversial topics freely in my classroom. As a new teacher, I recall it was important for me to remain “neutral” on a variety of topics – in retrospect, I can link this feeling of uncertainty about what was appropriate to teach in the classroom to a fear of backlash and inexperience.


Now that I have more experience teaching, I have come to understand that teachers hold power and infinite amounts of responsibility. I believe it is our job to teach our students to act responsibly and think critically for themselves. On many occasions, we use the classroom as a starting point to discuss controversial topics and it is in the classroom where we pass on various morals and values to students that we hope will make them better overall human beings in the future. From a young age, we teach children at school that we do not lie, we do not steal, we do not hit/hurt others and we treat others how we would like to be treated. We discuss the concept of bullying and intimidation and teach students to embrace the concept of acceptance while celebrating our differences and unique attributes. Additionally, we teach students to not only respect others but to also take a stand when injustices are taking place; we also strive to ensure our students show empathy and compassion for others. Educators do all this in a guiding manner to help students reach these outcomes of their own volition.


I believe that educators can discuss controversial subjects with their students while voicing their stance on the issues at hand. The trick is to create a safe classroom environment where students feel they can express themselves wholeheartedly without fear of repercussions and that all students feel like their voices are being heard as well as their contributions in class discussions are valued. I feel strongly that educators have the responsibility to teach for social justice in their classrooms – especially considering the times we are currently living in. Furthermore, I consider the use of social media to introduce different instances of social justice taking place worldwide an excellent alternative.

“Social media has provided a dynamic avenue for activists to spread their messages and reach a wider audience on the global stage… [Social media provides a] sense of togetherness and collective consciousness allows individuals to be seen and to be heard by others and encourages people to share their own stories without fear of judgment or that they are alone in their struggles” (Gehr, 2021).

Taking into consideration the huge role social media plays in our students’ day-to-day life, I think it would be wise that we use this avenue to promote social justice initiatives while building on the sense of community.

Who should be responsible for helping children develop their digital footprints?🤔

In today’s class, we discussed the fact that teachers hold a lot of power and thus, have control over what we consider a priority – what is important – in our classrooms. There is no doubt that technology has become quite predominant in education over the past couple of decades. As educators strive to remain innovative, engaging, and relevant in their profession, technology has become a tool that allows them to reach these goals when teaching their students. I do not believe anyone in the education sector is questioning the relevance of using technology in the classroom. However, as we examined in class today, there is a question pertaining to the role educators play when introducing different technologies to their students; more precisely, are we as educators responsible for teaching our students to act accordingly online while helping them establish a digital footprint?


Jeffrey Rosen article entitled The Web Means the End of Forgetting pushes us to consider “how to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever” (2010). This statement is powerful, and I feel our children/youth need to understand that their digital trails and digital footprints can not be erased and can be accessed long after they might not want them to be available. Something I discuss with my daughter and have gone over with her since she started using technology was that once something is on the Web, it is there for good and can not be removed. In a way, it is sad that teens at present need to come to terms that the internet along with their digital footprints prohibit their behaviour and actions from staying under the radar. I have always voiced that I am glad we did not have social media when I was younger to broadcast our daily activities and many of my friends share this sentiment along with the opinion that we had privacy growing up. It is no secret that children/teenagers do not have the best judgment and that it is during those stages of life that children/adolescents make many mistakes while transitioning to adulthood. No one is perfect and we can all attest that on our way to becoming respected members of society, we committed many mistakes; the difference between my generation and that of our youth today is that their mistakes are being continuously recorded and broadcasted which does not allow people to forget or forgive their transgressions (Rosen, 2010).


Paul Davis’ TEdTalk “Accountability & Responsibility in a Digital World” also provided some insightful information regarding digital trails and digital footprints. He starts off his video with a simple question and encourages his audience to consider the reasons that children might get in trouble when using technology. When I started to reflect on the previous question, I came up with one predominant answer that revolved around the notion that children are not being taught or guided to act responsibly when establishing their digital trails and digital footprints. Parents teach and guide their children whenever they are encountering something new. For example, I taught my daughter how to cross the street – I taught her how to stop and look both ways before crossing and we practiced numerous times before she was “old” enough to do it on her own. I held her hand and guided her so she would be prepared to cross the street responsibly on her own when the time came. The same principle applies to teaching and guiding our children to use technology responsibly. Davis explains that it is parents’ responsibility to guide children when engaging with technology because they put the technology into their hands. He also highlights the importance of explaining the concepts of responsibility and accountability to kids. It is important for kids to understand that they are responsible for their actions and that they should want to act responsibly when dealing with technology while considering if their actions would make their parents proud. Furthermore, he proceeds to explain that adults have an ethical and moral obligation to guide children when dealing with technology.


I feel that parents should be responsible for helping their children create their digital footprints. Parents can help guide kids toward creating the kind of footprint they can be proud of by following these steps: 1) being a role model to their children; 2) explaining the use of privacy settings to protect their information; 3) discussing the type of image they would like to portray online; and 4) taking turns to search yourselves to see what information pops up” (Common Sense Media, 2018). I wholeheartedly believe that educators play a role in teaching digital citizenship at school and can set guidelines for students when using technology at school. Nonetheless, the task of helping kids develop a digital footprint should be the responsibility of parents and should start at home. Teachers can assist, teach, and guide students while they are at school, but once children leave the classroom their online activity is out of our hands. In all honesty, once kids gain access to technology, their online activity is out of our hands and that is why it is crucial that adults take on the responsibility of teaching and guiding children to develop their digital footprints in a responsible manner where they are being held accountable for their actions.