Skip to main content

Learning Bytes: AI Teachers as ‘Co-Pilots’

  • 4 Min Read

A boarding school experiments with AI teachers, ChatGPT vs. human feedback and the increasing burden educators are facing with new technologies.


Welcome to D2L’s Learning Bytes, your hub for bite-sized AI insights tailored for educators. 

Each week, we comb the web and curate the most compelling stories related to artificial intelligence in education. Whether you’re a teacher, administrator, or lifelong learner, our 5-minute roundups consolidate the best AI for educators’ content in one convenient spot. 

D2L’s Learning Bytes — June 7, 2024  

AI Writing Feedback ‘Better Than I Thought,’ Top Researcher Says  

Jill Barshay writes in The Hechinger Report about a new study published in the peer-reviewed Journal Learning and Instruction, where researchers evaluated ChatGPT’s feedback on students’ writing. They compared it to human feedback on 200 history essays written by students in grades 6 through 12. While human feedback was generally better, ChatGPT performed admirably, averaging 3.6 out of 5 in feedback quality compared to the human evaluators’ average of 4.01. 

These findings mean that generative AI has the potential to help students improve their writing. In the piece, Barshay notes that one of the biggest problems in writing instruction in U.S. schools is that teachers assign too little writing, often because they lack time to give personalized feedback to each student.  

Steve Graham, an expert on writing instruction at Arizona State University and a member of the research team is a less than enthusiastic cheerleader for AI. “My biggest fear is that it becomes the writer,” he said. He worries that students will not limit their use of ChatGPT to helpful feedback, but also ask it to do their thinking, analyzing and writing. 

Read the full piece here.

I Was an AI Optimist. Now I’m Worried It’s Making Teacher Burnout Worse 

Author and educational entrepreneur Priten Shah was among an early tribe of AI optimists, excited about the potential for generative AI to reduce the massive workloads teachers face.  

While he’s still hopeful that AI can help teachers, Shah is also afraid that keeping up with the challenges of AI and an overwhelming number of offerings in the space represents an added burden for educators that are already struggling. 

“Seemingly overnight, understanding AI technology went from being a niche skill to an essential life skill. While many educators across the country have diligently spent their free time, prep periods, and summer vacations pursuing professional development, an overwhelming majority are rightfully daunted by the prospect of learning how to navigate this new technology.” 

Read the full piece here.

Is AI the Future of Education in the UK? 

As reported by the BBC, the Cottesmore School in West Sussex has an AI head teacher working alongside human leader Tom Rogerson. Additionally, the boarding prep school enables students to create their ideal tutor using this technology. 

“Mr. Rogerson, head teacher at Cottesmore School, said: ‘It’s there for advice and to clarify thoughts and as a sounding board.” On top of this, the AI tutors were adopted so students could ask questions when one-on-one time with their teachers was not available.’” 

Read the full piece here.  

Latest AI Announcements Mean Another Big Adjustment for Educators 

Tech giants Google, Microsoft and OpenAI may have given educators a hefty load of homework this summer: adapting their assignments and teaching approaches to accommodate new AI features that students will encounter in the fall. Educators were already grappling with tools like ChatGPT during the academic year, but recent announcements from major AI companies necessitate further adjustments to maintain academic integrity and accurately evaluate student learning.  

Read the full piece here.  

That’s a wrap for this week. Be sure to return next Friday for more learning bytes.

Written by:

Stay in the know

Educators and training pros get our insights, tips, and best practices delivered monthly

Table of Contents

  1. D2L’s Learning Bytes — June 7, 2024