“I feel like we’re in that era for these language processing technologies right now in that we have a brand new tool [but] we’re not entirely sure what using that looks like. … Not nearly as many people are asking ‘How does this help us solve our problems better?’ and a lot more people are asking ‘How do I put this into my product so my board of directors is happy?’” — Irhum Shafkat, Class Disrupted Podcast

If you’re an education leader, you’re probably feeling the AI buzz…or pressure. But before you dive into either drafting a grand AI plan or banning it completely, consider hitting pause. Here’s why: We’re just scratching the surface of AI’s potential in education, and any extensive plan today might not fit tomorrow’s reality. 

But, there’s a smart way forward.

First, flip the script. Don’t ask what AI can do for you. Ask what you need done. Identify the real challenges your school faces every day. Then, consider if AI has a role in the solutions. It’s about solving real problems, not just using tech for tech’s sake or dismissing it outright.

Second, test small and iterate. Find a few teachers who are eager to try out AI and let them dive in. See what they come up with, build on things that work, abandon things that don’t. As AI continues to evolve, allow for continued experimentation. And be open to revisit ideas as the landscape evolves.

Third, be mindful of risks. We don’t fully understand the potential dangers AI poses in areas like privacy, plagiarism, security, and emotional wellbeing. Stay current and be mindful of potential risks so you can minimize and mitigate them as you move forward.

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  • Thomas Arnett
    Thomas Arnett

    Thomas Arnett is a senior research fellow for the Clayton Christensen Institute. His work focuses on using the Theory of Disruptive Innovation to study innovative instructional models and their potential to scale student-centered learning in K–12 education. He also studies demand for innovative resources and practices across the K–12 education system using the Jobs to Be Done Theory.