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Reimagined Webinar Recap: Ethical Concerns of AI in Education

  • 4 Min Read

We share highlights from a recent D2L webinar on the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the classroom.

Dr. Cristi Ford

The recent D2L webinar, Ethical Concerns of AI in Education: Identifying & Mitigating Risks for Responsible Pedagogy, sparked a critical conversation about the potential pitfalls and promises of artificial intelligence (AI) in the classroom. While AI offers exciting possibilities for personalized learning and innovative educational experiences, the webinar highlighted the importance of approaching this technology with a cautious and ethical lens. 

The presentations by Dr. Robbie Melton, Dr. Van Davis and Dr. Rob MacAuslan offered invaluable insights on topics including bias in educational AI tools, building a human-centered pedagogy around AI and mitigating risks in our teaching practices. However, the thought-provoking session also left us with important questions to consider as the technological advancements continue evolve in the LLM space. 

Unveiling the Biases: A Deeper Look 

The webinar emphasized the dangers of biased data sets and algorithms leading to unfair outcomes for students. Dr. Melton shared real-world examples of areas where, for example, stereotype threat is perpetuated in the algorithms. He discussed a specific example of generation of images where all lawyers are white males, while any generated images of black men are depicted in a negative manner. The stark reality of these examples highlight the fact that we must be mindful as we prepare to use these technologies in our teaching.  

The framework that Dr. Davis offered from WCET touched on the importance of thinking about responsible AI use in multiple areas across the institution. It’s important to think about governance and understanding how AI will be used across the institution, but it is also crucial to consider what data governance structure will be put in place to create accountability and transparency. As I talk with many institutions, it’s pieces like this that they are grappling with when it comes to using AI. The framework also provides a wonderful grounding in key considerations in operationalizing policies and procedure. At D2L, we take this work very seriously and have created an impact assessment that allows us to look carefully at any issue that we might need to mitigate, but also consider all areas where we might impact and any perceived bias that may arise. 

This framework is a resource that can help institutions and educators assess the fairness and inclusivity of AI-powered educational technology. I believe as we move forward, collaboration between educators, developers and data scientists is crucial. Let’s envision a future where educators have a say in shaping the development of AI tools for learning, ensuring diverse perspectives are integrated from the ground up.

Human-Centered AI: Beyond the Buzzword 

Dr. MacAuslan’s emphasis on human-centered AI resonated deeply. Technology should enhance learning, not replace the irreplaceable role of educators. But how do we translate this concept into concrete practices? He shared specific examples where Southern New Hampshire University became a catalyst of this work early with ethical bias training, as well as basic and advanced AI literacy training. Sharing specific examples of the institution’s focus on hands on reinforcement of bias training was a great way to highlight the ways institutions can create better capacity on their campuses around this topic. 

Actionable Steps for the Classroom: Beyond Mitigation 

The Ethical Concerns of AI in Education webinar provided a valuable starting point for a critical conversation. However, it’s clear that further exploration is needed. Educators are eager to embrace technology that can enhance learning for all students. By working together, educators, developers and AI experts can ensure that AI becomes a tool for positive transformation, fostering a future of equitable and responsible learning experiences powered by technology.

As a next step, I encourage anyone reading to delve deeper. How can educators proactively identify and address potential biases within the AI tools they consider for their classrooms? This question and others like this raised in this blog are a call to action for further discussion and exploration. Let’s continue the conversation.

Ethical Concerns of AI in Education: Reimagined

This webinar empowers educators with the critical tools to identify and mitigate the ethical risks of AI in their classrooms.

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Written by:

Dr. Cristi Ford

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Table of Contents

  1. Unveiling the Biases: A Deeper Look 
  2. Human-Centered AI: Beyond the Buzzword 
  3. Actionable Steps for the Classroom: Beyond Mitigation 

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