Jun 29, 2023

Exploring the Impact of AI in Education: Insights from ISTE Live 2023

I just had the opportunity to attend the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Philadelphia. As someone with a keen interest in how technology can shape learning, I looked forward to three days packed with over 900 sessions focused on EdTech.  


Back in September of 2022, ISTE had suggested a slew of hot topics to the presenters:

Notice anything missing? Only ten months ago, Artificial Intelligence wasn’t a blip on most educators' radars. Since the November release of ChatGPT, it rapidly emerged and firmly stamped its presence on the global EdTech stage. Stalls on the expo floor buzzed with conversations about AI, its capabilities, and how it's reshaping educational products. Presentations with titles like “ChatGPT and Beyond: Authentic Experiences With Artificial Intelligence”, “Easy Ways to Bring Artificial Intelligence to Your Classroom!” and “How to Use ChatGPT: Time-Saving Tips for Busy Educators” underlined a critical lesson: in the world of education, we're witnessing rapid, groundbreaking changes spurred by AI.


Many presenters mentioned that AI has been in our lives for years, subtly assisting us with autocorrect, offering personalized Amazon recommendations, recognizing faces in our photos, and responding to our questions via Siri and Alexa. However, the full potential of AI in education is just beginning to be explored – it’s the wild west of EdTech. It’s understandable if this feels overwhelming, especially given the explosion of AI tools being developed every day. Just like the early days of the internet and the adoption of mobile devices, it’s going to take many years before the dust settles and we emerge with a handful of high quality tools.


Even though these tools are still in their infancy, I was able to explore the tremendous potential that AI has to transform the type of work that teachers do.  During my 15 years as a teacher, most of my prep periods were devoted to lesson slide preparation, answering parent emails, grading, writing letters of recommendation, and trying to find the perfect image or graph to highlight a concept. The lion's share of my time was consumed by administrative tasks, often sidelining my primary goal – crafting memorable learning experiences for each of my students.


Every single one of the tasks that I used to spend my preps doing can be completed in a fraction of the time with AI.  By assuming many of these routine tasks, AI can free educators to focus on what truly matters – creating authentic, interactive, and personalized learning experiences in the classroom. Now, when I look at the other trending Hot Topics in EdTech like augmented and virtual reality, gamification, and interactive project-based learning, things that I would never have had the time to explore, I’m excited about a future where they're possible.


My time at ISTE reinforced the idea that AI is not a futuristic concept looming in the distant horizon, but a present reality reshaping the educational landscape. Its potential to streamline educators' workload paves the way for an educational environment rich in engagement and personalization. I encourage you to dip your toes into the AI waters and find ways to offload the necessary administrative work and free up your time to continue to elevate your students.


Here is a short list of resources to help you get you started! 

About the Author

Dave Martin

Dave joins NGPF with 15 years of teaching experience in math and computer science. After joining the New York City Teaching Fellows program and earning a Master's degree in Education from Pace University, his teaching career has taken him to New York, New Jersey and a summer in the north of Ghana. Dave firmly believes that financial literacy is vital to creating well-rounded students that are prepared for a complex and highly competitive world. During what free time two young daughters will allow, Dave enjoys video games, Dungeons & Dragons, cooking, gardening, and taking naps.

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