Mary-Jo Hill

18 Jan 2023
Artificial intelligence in natural language processing is the comet that is hitting our education system. Taking google to a whole new level. What does this mean for schools, teachers and students?

Natural Language Processing Tool

One of the most exciting pieces of software is now open access and a joy to play with. For anyone within education, this is the tool to be playing with right now to see what impact this will have on your own workload: its uses and impact on our education system and how students can use it.

Will workload remain an issue?

We have seen slow but real progress to uniformity in teaching and learning in schools over the last decade. What was once, the process of sharing and photocopying the schemes of work in folders from kind contacts and neighbouring schools, has become more uniform with off the shelf and ‘bought’ schemes. ChatGPT is taking that to a whole new level- where we are in fact accessing the brains and know-how of millions of pieces of data to provide, at the touch of the return key, a planned lesson within seconds. Yes, seconds.

Policies and letters and comms to stakeholders

Starting the first draft of a policy or a letter or indeed an assembly, can be the first hurdle of writer’s block. This software will enable that blank piece of paper to turn miraculously into a first draft and a place to re-draft and edit and make it your own. Again, saving time.

Report writing?

Surely not you might think.. but as a teacher in my earlier years and as cut and paste became an option, and now of course, as a parent, I see the constant churned out reports; not telling me much. An excellent demo with Ross from Teacher Toolkit the other evening proved that you can also use this software to make it a little more personalised. And yet, and this would be my greatest caveat: a parent really wants to know that you, as a teacher, knows my child. Knows what interests and motivates them. I am interested in where schools will go with this because is an anodyne report worth even the pdf it is created on?

Plagiarism and homework

One of the most burning issues for many educationalists is plagiarism but this is all around us. When studying for my MBA a couple of years back, my mind was blown by those that will write an essay for you for a small about of dosh. Yes, there is software to enable to detect an AI generated piece of work but what is this other than being called out for using tools out there to be used? Authenticity and truth becomes forefront of our human interaction. The study of Ethics as a new GCSE subject perhaps. This leads nicely onto the fact that our current education system is largely wonting in what is required moving forward in skills and development. The need for an overhaul in what is being taught has never before been so evident and pressing.

Students use of AI in NLP

As a former English teacher, this is what excites me the most. The ability to play with this, with genre, form and the opportunity to teach critical thinking is ripening. The challenge of editing to create engagement and developing the skills of personal engagement, and personalisation is a lesson that will again, merge the necessary crossover of the arts, media, music and performance. Never has oracy had a window in which to resurge. We all can see the immense and huge need in focus on oracy post Covid and in the social media age. Which then leads to the reality of what the impact might be..

Binary analysis creates greater inequality

We know that creative subjects are on the wane. Schools that have managed to continue with the weight, resources and priority in the creative arts; music and performance will be upskilling their students at twice the rate of others. The private sector are generally much better at this. This skewed projectory will continue to greater inequality moving forward, without active intervention. Speaking, listening and engagement will be a necessary focus.

So what now?

Never has the call for greater and united cross-party education government policy been more required. There is the need for a true shake up and actual movement to a different education vision, to consider what we value in our education system, and to match this technological advancement with the human touch.