How AI could impact workload in the teaching role

How might AI impact Teacher workload?

Teachers have an enormously varied job, from caring for children to inspiring them, and working with them creatively to help them learn and develop. It is a hugely social role and the benefit to children is not, as we know, just a narrowly academic one.  

AI will provide an increasingly large toolkit for us to work more effectively, making the best use of our valuable time to dedicate more to the human, pastoral aspects of our roles. Think: less time planning, and more time helping your Year 7 pupils grasp a new concept or discussing politics to inspire Sixth Formers.  

So, how might AI impact the work of teachers in the future?

For the most part, I believe AI can be used to make a very positive impact.  Used effectively, AI will be a powerful tool to streamline administrative tasks that currently take up a large part of a teacher’s time. This could include lesson planning, for example, asking ChatGPT to plan a biology lesson around plant reproduction, generating topics for discussion, activities, quiz questions and other resources that may otherwise take days to plan out and create.

And this could be applied to many aspects of school life, for example, generating a suggested revision timetable for GCSE pupils, a meeting agenda for a department catch-up, or even - as our AI Lead, Dr Smith, does - using AI in co-curricular activities (he uses it to plan campaigns for our Dungeons and Dragons club). The fact that this sort of planning can be finely tailored, yet still generated within minutes, is a key benefit.

Of course, the quality of AI output is directly correlated with the quality of the prompt given by the teacher; stronger, more detailed prompts will produce better lesson plans. It stands to reason, then, that teachers looking to future-proof their role could do so by getting to grips with the art of writing AI prompts and learning how to tailor these to generate the best possible text and image outcomes.

It is also fascinating to imagine how AI could potentially be used to make learning more personalised. For example, you might have a pupil who is fascinated by space travel so you could tie this interest into lesson planning by asking a tool like ChatGPT to create a comprehension text or essay prompt with a space travel theme. The same could be done for a troupe of dancers or a club of arachnophiles - the opportunities to be creative are endless.

Another area that could be streamlined is reporting. Recently, we have trialled Quillbot, a paraphrasing tool, to aid staff with writing and grammar suggestions when writing pupil reports. While teachers still give personalised feedback on each child, the AI tool is simply removing some of the more time consuming elements of report writing, helping to smooth and streamline the process.

Alongside text, image generation is also an area to be explored. Tools such as MidJourney could generate images that are completely tailored to your school. Teachers can create resources where the pupils are in the same colour uniform as their school, where the teacher in the image looks like them, and the school setting reflects their own. Small changes, but an interesting path to potentially improve engagement, or at least spark some extra joy and recognition in your class.

As with all new technology, there are, of course, pitfalls to be aware of.

Teachers should be mindful of the need to proof-read anything generated via artificial intelligence. Common errors include misspelt words, resulting from the americanisation of many AI tools, as well as the possibility of false information or ‘hallucinations’ that still creep into the output of tools such as ChatGPT. Dates and quotes are areas to be particularly wary of, and these should always be manually fact-checked.

Across a huge range of activity, from tailored learning, testing and reporting to personalised teaching materials, AI will be making an increasing impact on schools and will offer opportunities for us to raise our productivity as well as the quality and enjoyment of our work.  

As AI continues to develop, the capacity in which it can be used within education will also evolve, and at Dame Allan’s we are excited to embrace the possibilities for change that lie ahead.