What your school can do to prepare for AI in education
As a librarian and Extended Essay coordinator, the emergence of generative AI in education sent shivers down my spine. Within two days of playing with it, I called a meeting with my Head of School to warn him about the storm to come.
At the time, I feared what others feared: writing was dead, and there would be no point in asking students to write essays anymore. Now I realize that I was overreacting. People have worried about using calculators, the internet, and other technology in schools, and we’ve adjusted fine.
As AI in education advances, schools need to update their policies to address the challenges and opportunities this new technology brings. Rather than a doomsday device, generative AI—when used ethically—can ease the lives of students and teachers.
With a more realistic view of AI in education, I set about updating our school's academic integrity policy to address the role of generative AI in classrooms.
Here’s what I learned and recommend to educators for updating their academic integrity policies in the age of AI.
1. Leverage existing frameworks. Don’t reinvent the wheel!
Organizations like International Baccalaureate and Elsevier, universities, and colleges have developed reliable frameworks for using AI in education. Starting from scratch doesn't make sense, so consider their guidance when writing your school's AI policy.
If your school follows the International Baccalaureate or College Board-sanctioned curricula, you must follow their recently updated guidelines. If your school doesn’t mind either curriculum, you can get directions from the MLA and APA citation guidelines. Quote them in your policy, and rely on the work of reputed organizations.
2. Tailor AI policies for your school
When updating your school’s or district’s academic integrity policy to address AI, you’ll want to consider what makes the most sense for your students and teachers.
There is no universally agreed-upon set of hard-and-fast rules for exactly what is and isn’t ethical when using AI in education. One teacher might think using AI to proofread an essay is cheating, while another teacher might fully support it. So, choose what works for your school or district’s needs, values, and goals.
Here are specific areas of ethical ambiguity to consider when crafting your school's policy:
In the Student Responsibilities section of our policy, we added a specific clause: “Students must use assistive technologies like generative AI responsibly, acknowledging their contributions and never claiming AI-generated work as their own.”
By implementing and adapting these recommendations to your specific context, you can ensure a smooth integration of AI tools that foster ethical learning and empower students to become responsible digital citizens.
3. Provide training and support on AI
As a school community, your administration should provide workshops and professional learning opportunities about artificial intelligence for staff and students so everybody knows what to expect.
In our school guidelines, we added that students and teachers can anticipate the following: “The school will guide teachers and students in the ethical use of generative AI and assistive technology.”
This reflects our school's commitment to setting up our teachers and students for success with navigating new AI tools and technology. Training and support on ethical AI usage can delve into these specific areas:
Identifying bias in AI systems and data. Awareness of potential biases in AI tools and datasets is crucial to ensuring fair and inclusive use. Workshops can equip educators and students with strategies for critically evaluating AI outputs and addressing potential biases.
Safeguarding privacy and data security. Generative AI and assistive technology often require access to personal data. Workshops can educate participants on data privacy best practices.
Integrating AI tools into existing curricula. Educators can benefit from training on integrating AI tools into lesson plans and assignments across diverse subjects. This includes exploring the pedagogical potential of AI for personalized learning, collaborative activities, and creative expression.
If you provide training and support on using AI, you can foster a culture of responsible use and continuous learning that will empower teachers and students alike.
4. Embrace the ever-evolving nature of AI in education
Make sure your policy is reviewed regularly, at least once per year. If the sudden boom of AI in education has taught us anything, technology is only accelerating. More and more powerful AI tools will emerge in the coming years. Your policy should be ready to adapt to these massive shifts in how we do things.
Here are some specific tips for making your policy more flexible:
Avoid using specific examples of AI tools or technologies in your policy. Instead, focus on broad principles that apply to any AI tool.
Avoid making sweeping generalizations about AI. Instead, focus on specific concerns that you have about the use of AI in education.
Be open to feedback from students, teachers, and other stakeholders.
These tips will help you develop a flexible policy to adapt to AI's ever-changing landscape in education.
5. Shift your focus from AI policing to growth-oriented assessments
While relying on AI detectors to monitor student behavior might seem tempting, they often prove to be more trouble than they're worth. Inaccurate and intrusive, these technologies are best avoided as a policing tool.
Instead, let's focus on designing assessments that foster learning and measure progress, not just outcomes.
When we prioritize growth instead of just focusing on results, we develop assessments that are naturally more resistant to academic dishonesty. This approach promotes a more positive learning environment and yields more meaningful insights into student development.
Adapting academic integrity policies in the AI era
Updating educational integrity policies to address the challenges and opportunities presented by AI is crucial in making sure students use technology ethically in education.
Schools can create robust policies that promote academic integrity while leveraging the benefits of AI in education if they follow the tips outlined in this article, such as leveraging existing frameworks, emphasizing ethics, providing training, acknowledging the variability of the situation, and avoiding detectors.
As we foster a learning environment that upholds integrity and intellectual honesty, we will prepare students for future success, no matter how AI shapes the world.
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Carlos is an experienced media specialist, teacher, and librarian with over ten years of experience in library services and seven years in international education. He has vast experience in gamification and game-based learning, reading programs, and literacy promotion. He is currently based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as a teacher librarian at Renaissance International School Saigon.Explore more related to this author
Rather than a doomsday device, generative AI—when used ethically—can ease the lives of students and teachers.