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Understanding Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education: A Guide for Parents

As we step into the digital age, schools are embracing the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance learning experiences and prepare students for a technology-driven future. As parents, it's essential to understand what AI is, how it impacts education, and how we can support our children in navigating this exciting new landscape.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

AI refers to computer systems that can simulate human intelligence. These systems learn, reason, and problem-solve, performing tasks that typically require human cognition. From search engines to virtual assistants, AI is already an integral part of our daily lives.

Generative AI

Generative AI can understand instructions and produce or deliver meaningful content. It uses the data it has stored to generate new data that has similar characteristics.

Generative AI products are widely available and improving quickly. At the moment, the most popular AI tool is ChatGPT.

How Students Can Use AI for Learning

AI tools can support students' learning in a variety of ways.

1. Chatbots: Chatbots are AI-powered tools that understand language inputs and provide relevant responses. Students can use chatbots to:

·       Answer questions on various topics

·       Craft original stories, essays, or poems

·       Summarise complex concepts in simple terms

·       Create a study timetable

·       Combine information from different sources

·       Paraphrase information

·       Learn about critical thinking

·       Explore the impact of emerging technology


2. Image and Video Generation Tools: These AI tools create and edit visual content. Students can:

·       Generate new images or videos

·       Enhance existing materials


3. Intelligent Tutoring Systems: AI-driven tutoring systems offer personalised learning experiences. Students receive tailored instructions and feedback.

The use of AI may vary between year levels and levels of understanding.

What Parents Need to Be Aware Of

AI offers opportunities in education; however, as parents, we need to keep some things in mind.

1. Privacy and Security: Understand how AI tools handle student data. At Our Lady of Mercy College, students have access to Microsoft Co-Pilot due to the level of security it provides.

2. Age-Appropriate Use: Ensure that AI tools align with your child's age and developmental stage. Some tools require users to be a certain age, and chatbots can provide inappropriate information based on the questions asked.

3. Accuracy and Reliability: Not all AI-generated content is accurate. Encourage critical thinking and verify the information by checking sources. Responses shouldn’t be taken as sources of truth; information needs to be fact-checked and referenced.

4. Teacher Involvement: Stay informed about how teachers integrate AI in the classroom. Teachers can use AI to develop cognitive skills like critical thinking and creativity, as well as literacy skills, which come from developing AI prompts.


Plagiarism and Academic Integrity:

Students generating content from AI and submitting it as their own work is plagiarism. Students learn about plagiarism, how to avoid it and the serious impact it can have on their assessments at the College. The College has developed Assessment Procedures regarding the use of AI, which can be found here: Assessment Guidelines Our Lady of Mercy College

It can be hard to identify if a student has used an AI tool beyond how they have been directed by the school.

As a College, we are working on ensuring the academic integrity of tasks by completing tasks that require critical thinking, are completed in the classroom, or are reflected on through validations under test conditions.

We encourage the students to use AI to support their own original thinking, not to replace it.

How Parents Can Support Their Child's AI Learning Journey

1. Curiosity and Exploration: Encourage a child's curiosity about AI. Explore technology together and discuss its impact.

2. Open Communication: Talk to teachers and your child about AI tools being used in the classroom. Understand their purpose, benefits, and how it has aided in their teaching and learning.

3. Digital Literacy: Teach your child about responsible AI use, data ownership, and discerning reliable information.

4. Encourage Academic Integrity: How can AI support their learning rather than replace it? Has the generated AI been fact-checked?

These conversations can help reinforce the messages about AI that your child receives at the College.


Australian Framework for Generative Artificial Intelligence in Schools

The framework provides a national approach that seeks to guide the responsible and ethical use of generative AI tools in ways that benefit students, schools and society.

It provides a framework that is designed to outline the use of generative AI in Australian schools. It is designed to help Australian school communities, including students, teachers, staff, parents and carers regarding educational outcomes, ethical practices and equity and inclusion.



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