By Dr. Herman M. Lagon
ARTIFICIAL Intelligence (AI) has captured both fascination and concern in our rapidly evolving technological era. In the Philippine education system, which faces unique challenges in language, math, and science literacy, teacher professional development, and digital infrastructure, it is crucial to explore how we can integrate AI to benefit students without compromising the core values and the development of 21st-century skills.
Rather than perceiving AI exclusively as a threat to education, it is crucial to recognize and address the legitimate concerns regarding its existential and security implications. However, it is equally essential to shift our mindset and focus on harnessing the full potential of AI in the realm of digital teaching and learning, an area that lies within our control. Israeli historian, philosopher, and best-selling author Yuval Noah Harari suggests that working with computers and their applications, instead of against them, is a valuable lesson we can teach our children.
AI (powered, driven, or enhanced apps, e.g., Grammarly, Turnitin, Siri, Quizlet, Cerebry, ChatGPT, Coursera, Khan Academy, Nearpod, Edmodo, Photomath, Labster, Edmodo, PHET Simulations, Quizziz, Wolfram Alpha, Ted-Ed, Scratch, Canvas, Schoology, Teams, Blackboard, Duolingo, Google Classroom, Seesaw, Chalk, FlipGrid, Kahoot!, etc.) is already here and rapidly advancing in the digital world, alongside the 5th Industrial Revolution. This progress is happening swiftly, posing a great opportunity. Filipino educators face challenges such as limited resources and a rising student population. However, embracing AI as a collaborative tool can partially overcome these obstacles and establish a more efficient and comprehensive education system. AI can personalize learning, automate administrative duties, and enhance communication among teachers, parents, and students.
As a head coach in the TekGuru Training on Digital Innovation for Education Leaders, I am unsurprised that we also covered the AI issue at the recent Online TekGuru Research Conference 2023 (June 9-10). The upcoming hyflex (hybrid-flexible) Society for Technology in Education Philippines (STEP) 2023 Conference (July 20-22) will further address this topic. Public and private organizations offer similar training and research platforms to support effective teaching and learning.
Yet, administrative responsibilities often burden teachers and administrators, consuming valuable time and energy. Automation of routine tasks like maintaining student records and tracking attendance and grades can alleviate this burden. By utilizing AI-powered technologies, teachers and administrators can focus more on their primary duties, such as pedagogical skills enhancement, lesson planning, data-driven decision-making, and providing personalized student support. This assistance allows for high-quality instruction and efficient school operation.
The introduction of AI may transform the educational experiences of Filipino students. Adaptive learning technologies customize instructional materials to cater to student’s unique needs, promoting more effective and efficient learning. AI-powered virtual personal assistants can support students round-the-clock by offering guidance and motivation. Interactive educational games and learning platforms incorporating AI create engaging learning environments, simplifying the comprehension of complex concepts. These AI-powered technologies enhance the learning journey for Filipino students and even teachers.
Students can utilize tools that simplify their tasks while honing essential 21st-century and higher-order-thinking skills crucial for meeting future expectations. Embracing AI-powered resources and tools, alongside teaching fundamental digital literacy (e.g., coding, computing skills, internet navigation, data analytics, digital citizenship, and communication), can help students enhance their critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Project-based learning integrated with AI technologies fosters teamwork and equips students with the ability to solve real-world problems. These initiatives ensure that Filipino students are well-prepared to meet the changing job market demands.
To maximize the potential of AI in education, education professionals, administrators, and policymakers need to embrace a human-centered approach while maintaining the technical infrastructure and digital access in schools. Prioritizing cooperation between humans and robots allows technology to enhance our abilities rather than replace them. Incorporating AI in education should be guided by principles such as respect for the human person, the pursuit of social justice, and equal access to information. Collaboration between institutions like CHED, TESDA, DepEd, and policymakers is crucial for developing inclusive and progressive policies that address the specific needs of Filipino educators and students.
We can establish a more responsive and efficient education system by adopting a human-centered approach and leveraging AI technology to support teachers, enhance learning experiences, and prepare students for the future workforce. Through collaborative efforts and adherence to the correct values, AI can serve as a tool that empowers educators and students, truly meeting the needs of the Philippine economy and facilitating the holistic development of Filipino learners.
Come and experience a new sense of purpose in using technology in education on July 20 to 22, 2023. Join STEP 2023 (Technology in Transformative Times EdTech Conference 2023). Register now!
For registration and payment details, please go to https://bit.ly/XU-STEP2023Registration.
Early Bird Registration – June 5 to June 30, 2023 – Php550.00
Regular Registration – July 1 to July 19, 2023 – Php650.00
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Dr. Herman Lagon fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice. He is an ISUFST professor, a USLS student, an Ateneo retiree, and an alumnus of UP, UI, and WVSU.