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How AI Will Change What It Means To Be a Teacher

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Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to revolutionize nearly every sector in society. This is no different in education, where AI promises to create a much more effective learning environment for students and teachers. AI also provides us with a tremendous opportunity to open up access to education throughout the globe. As the technology becomes more integrated into various aspects of learning, education systems will look dramatically different than what we see today. At the helm of that system are teachers, and their jobs are getting ready to dramatically change.

Here is a look at some of the ways AI will change what it means to be a teacher:

Automation of Time-Consuming Tasks

One of the greatest applications for AI in education is automation. While this is a big concern for many other sectors, with the fear being AI will replace jobs, the same is not necessarily true in education. One of the biggest issues with today’s education systems is that teachers are required to spend so much of their time on administrative tasks like grading, and this takes away from the time they have with students.

With AI automating these types of tasks through specialized software, teachers will have more opportunities to address students’ individual needs.

Today’s teachers work, on average, about 50 hours a week. Less than half of that time is spent in direct interaction with students.

Here is a detailed breakdown (number of teaching hours) provided by McKinsey:

  • Preparation (10.5)
  • Evaluation and feedback (6.5)
  • Professional development (3.0)
  • Administration (5.0)
  • Student instruction and engagement (16.5)
  • Student behavioral-, social-, and emotional-skill development (3.5)
  • Student coaching and advisement (4.5)

Current figures suggest that with AI technologies, 20 to 30 percent of this time can be reallocated towards activities that support student learning. 

Teachers spend the biggest portion of their time on preparation, which takes place completely away from students. This time could be reduced by nearly half in many nations with effective AI implementation in education. As for the remaining time that is left with preparation, it would become drastically more effective with advanced technologies.

Personalized Learning and Mentoring

All of the time freed up by AI technologies provides the opportunity for educational institutions to revolutionize their approach. Perhaps the most crucial area that leaders must focus on is personalized learning and mentoring. Instructors will have more time to develop personalized approaches for their students, which has been proven throughout the years to be a highly effective way of teaching.

According to the McKinsey Global Teacher and Student Survey, a third of teachers said that they wanted to personalize learning. However, there are barriers involving time, resources, materials, and technology, all of which automation can help solve.

Globally, 69% of teachers attributed this lack of personalized learning to not having enough time or flexibility. More specifically, 68% of teachers in Canada, 64% in Singapore, 69% in the U.K., and 70% in the United States, all of which have the resources to implement AI on a wide scale.

Government and Private Sector Collaboration

As with many instances of AI implementation, the sector’s success depends on effective collaboration between the public and private sectors. There must be targeted investment, effective and easy solutions, data sharing, and increased funding.

It is also crucial that educational institutions begin implementing proven technologies and not risky ones. By doing the later, these institutions risk losing the confidence of both investors, whether that be the government or some private entity, as well as the public.

Lastly, teachers must be viewed as industry leaders during this transition, not just as workers. They will be the ones interacting with the technology and acting as the intermediary between AI and student learning. The best technology in the world can only go so far if teachers are not given the resources needed to effectively utilize it, and this starts with providing them with the opportunity to voice their concerns and ideas.



Alex McFarland is an AI journalist and writer exploring the latest developments in artificial intelligence. He has collaborated with numerous AI startups and publications worldwide.