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A Map of AI for Education

We introduce a new map of the current state-of-the-art: “One morning shortly after Thanksgiving, 2022, we woke up to discover that technological capability had advanced by five years while we were sleeping. It took another week or two for us to realize it, but that event, the launch of ChatGPT, may have a more far-reaching effect on K-12 education than on any other sector of life. In normal times, technology advances in step with its application, with the user experience, the interactions that unfold in and out of the classroom. Whiteboards become smart boards. But 2022–23 feels more like a dislocation. How will these remarkable advances emerge into the experience of students and teachers? We want to map that landscape in its earliest stage and watch how it evolves. Many of the possibilities we describe in more detail below are unexplored, while others have been substantially investigated by startups, researchers, and — as Ethan Mollick, a professor at Wharton, has emphasized — individual students and educators experimenting. It’s not easy to predict, but two paths seem possible. The first is what has almost always happened to new technology in the classroom: it rearranges the furniture. Laptops become expensive slide projectors. Personalized instruction winds up meaning worksheets with garish dashboards added. It was recently estimated that the average teacher uses 86 such tools regularly. The second path is that the inefficiency and dullness of the industrial way of schooling begin to disappear. Many of the teaching practices that learning science has shown to be most effective — such as active learning and frequent feedback — and most engaging for students — such as role play and project work — require significant time most teachers just don’t have. Could that change if every teacher had an assistant, a sort of copilot in the work of taking a class of students (with varying backgrounds, levels of engagement, and readiness-to-learn) from wherever they start to highly skilled, competent, and motivated young people? We will see.…”Compiled by Laurence Holt and Jacob Klein. Laurence is based in New York and has spent the last two decades leading innovation teams in for-profit and nonprofit K-12 organizations. Jacob is an edtech product leader, advisor, and entrepreneur based in Oakland, California. Special thanks to Doug Jaffe for review.”

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