A Guide to Generative AI in Education

It seems that hardly a day goes by when Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning are not somewhere in the news. At the time of writing (May 2023), most of the discussions are focused on what are known as Generative AI models. Two, in particular, have hit the headlines: ChatGPT from OpenAI/Microsoft and Bard from Google.

The term Generative AI (GAI) refers to models which generate content rather than provide expertise in a specific field like, for example, spotting cancer cells in X-rays. This is more correctly referred to as Machine Learning, a subset of AI.

In the case of both ChatCPT and Bard the output is text: a prompt is used to start the “chat”, and the GAI generates a textual response. But there are other GAIs that generate audio and images in response to a text prompt or selection of parameters.

Why has AI suddenly become such a hot topic? And why should schools be interested and/or concerned? In this paper, we offer a broad overview of AI and the potential challenges for the education sector. We will consider both how AI has been used over the past few years and the impact that the rise of GAI may have on education and the wider society.

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