How to harness AI in teaching: an educator’s guide

Lucinda Starr

Writer for Atomi


min read

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology causing debate and division among educators. In fact, 60% of the Australian teachers we spoke to (as part of our inaugural Tech in Schools report) believe the use of AI in education will significantly alter teaching methods. 

But change isn’t something to be feared. With the right resources, tools and training in place, AI has the potential to empower, rather than replace, educators in the classroom. 

Keen to learn how to tap into the power of AI in teaching? We’re exploring the current attitudes, challenges and opportunities of this emerging technology and the practical steps your school can take to leverage AI in the classroom.  

AI in teaching: the current state of play

To understand how teachers feel about AI (and technology more broadly) in the classroom, we went straight to the source. After speaking with 250+ Australian educators in December 2023, it’s clear that experience and training play key roles in shaping perceptions towards AI in teaching.

While newer teachers are showing an openness to integrating AI into their teaching, highly experienced teachers are more hesitant and concerned about the ethical implications of AI.

But across all experience levels, this sentiment is shared: 85% of teachers believe AI could never replace the need for human teachers in the classroom. 

The challenges of AI in the classroom

There are two key reasons why some teachers are hesitant to use AI in teaching: the unethical use of AI in the classroom and feeling ill-equipped to use this new technology. 

Firstly, with the rapid rise of AI, it’s no wonder that 60% of educators are concerned about the ethical implications of using it in schools. Tools like ChatGPT have the ability to produce content in seconds, turning a simple written prompt into long-form written responses. 

Whether it’s concerns about privacy or plagiarism, teachers are searching for the tools and support to catch AI-generated content and proactively protect against the unethical use of AI in the classroom. 

I do not want AI to rewrite the essay, which is how students currently use AI unethically. Instead, I’d like it to say things like, ‘use a quote here’, ‘the passage does not flow, use a connective word to start this sentence’ or 'I am finding it difficult to follow what key idea is being explored. Use the keyword or synonym in this sentence’'
— Educator from NSW Catholic School (10+ years experience)

Secondly, many teachers feel daunted by AI in the classroom due to a lack of training and experience. This stat says it all: only 28% of educators feel confident in their ability to integrate AI into their classrooms. 

Filling this knowledge gap is a responsibility that needs to be shared by both schools and tech providers. Teachers need to be given resources, hands-on training and onboarding sessions to feel confident and empowered to incorporate new tech (like AI) effectively into classroom content.  

How to embrace AI in the classroom

As educators, preparing students for life beyond the classroom is your top priority. AI isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, meaning learners need to be equipped with the skills to harness this new technology, both now and into the future. 

AI in teaching does present its challenges. But it can also help you to spend less time on manual lesson planning and student feedback and more time on building engaging course content tailored to the unique learning needs of your students. 

As Thierry Wendling, Head of AI at Atomi, explains,

The goal [of AI] is to boost the productivity of teachers rather than replace them. Help them save time to focus on the most difficult and important tasks such as reviewing, diagnosing and administration of personalised teaching interventions.

Ready to adopt AI in your classroom? Here are four ways to set yourself up for success:

Start small

There’s no need to overhaul your entire term’s lesson plans overnight. Instead, look for opportunities to slowly integrate AI into your class content, such as using ChatGPT to help you create worksheets to quiz students on a new topic and check in on their progress.

Not sure how to incorporate AI into your lessons? Download our free ChatGPT cheat sheet, packed with prompts to save you time on lesson planning, feedback writing, activity ideas and more.

Focus on differentiation

One of the most impactful uses for AI in the classroom is its ability to help you tailor class plans to each student’s unique needs and preferred learning style. From personalising course content to fast-tracking assessment feedback, AI makes it easy to tailor your instructions and improve each student’s classroom experience. 

Tap into the high-impact teaching strategy of differentiated teaching by downloading our free guide on using AI for differentiation.

Shift the classroom focus

AI makes it easier to take a flipped classroom approach by encouraging educators to use classroom time to foster critical thinking, problem-solving and real-time collaboration between teachers and students. This also reduces concerns about the unethical use of AI, as learners need to implement new knowledge through in-person activities that ChatGPT can’t complete on their behalf.

Continue to review and reflect

Throughout the process of adopting AI in the classroom, it’s essential that both students and teachers are able to share their insights about what is and isn’t working. Give everyone a meaningful voice and be ready to pivot and adapt your approach based on the feedback you receive. 

With the right tools and support, implementing AI in the classroom presents a low-risk, high-reward opportunity. “Using AI within a well-integrated platform, with specifically designed teacher flows makes school usage safer. Here at Atomi, we apply best practices for providing responsible and secure AI services by implementing the appropriate checks and balances,” shares Thierry.

Ultimately, teachers play an irreplaceable role in the classroom. As new technologies (like AI) become more prevalent, it’s teachers who will be a crucial force in preventing its unethical use, empowered by solutions that make it easy and efficient to harness AI ethically in classwork, homework and assignments. 

Tech in schools report: 2024 insights and predictions 

Our inaugural Tech in Schools report deep dives into how teachers are responding to the rise of technology in the classroom, offering a snapshot of the challenges and opportunities edtech presents and what the future holds for schools, teachers and students. It also includes case studies, tips, and templates that you can download and embed into your teaching instruction with ease. Download the free report.

Want to score engaging curriculum-specific content, continuous assessment tools and powerful intelligence to drive real student outcomes? Try Atomi for free.


Published on

February 20, 2024

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