Ethics of AI in Education: Clearing the Path to Educational Equity
  • Ethics of AI in Education: Clearing the Path to Educational Equity

    April 15th, 2024

    According to the World Economic Forum, artificial intelligence is one of the key technologies shaping EdTech. It will have a “profound impact on business models and learners.” AI reduces the administrative workload on teachers, assists learners, expedites assessments and feedback, and facilitates informed decision-making. All these, in turn, help foster greater educational equity and deliver personalized learning experiences. However, the application of AI in education entails several ethical considerations. This blog dives deep into the need and strategies EdTechs must apply for the ethical and responsible use of AI in education.

    Why Ethics Matter for AI in Education

    The European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI) believes that if not used responsibly, AI can threaten academic integrity through the fabrication or falsification of data, encourage unauthorized content generation (UCG), and skew learning opportunities toward certain learner groups.

    Potential Risks and Negative Effects of AIED 

    Certain risks that arise from neglecting the ethical use of AI in education (AIED) are:

    Algorithmic Bias

    AI models are built and tested for a certain demographic. Finite data sets can introduce bias in AI algorithms that reinforce prevalent stereotypes, misclassify student abilities, and inadequately evaluate learner skills and knowledge levels. It can introduce significant disparities in the learning environment.

    Regular Auditing

    Technology developers must ensure that the data sets are varied and represent all types of individuals in the community to eliminate algorithmic bias. Additionally, educating teachers and learners about potential biases due to AI decisions can help them recognize that biases are only natural. Next, streamlining the ways to highlight noticeable biases and ensuring rectification is essential to driving AI acceptance. Simultaneously, regular algorithmic auditing and refinement with updates are essential to the responsible use of AI and instilling fairness. 

    Student Data Privacy

    AI uses student data to train machine learning models and for analytics that drive decision-making. These may include collecting sensitive or explicit information. Additionally, sharing the data with third parties may lead to a breach of regulatory guidelines, such as COPPA, FERPA, GDPR, etc.

    Transparency and Explainability

    Compliance with privacy and sharing guidelines to protect student data from misuse are key here. Educational institutions must maintain transparent data policies and communicate the same to parents and teachers. Only necessary data should be stored and used for stated purposes alone. Allow all participants to exercise control over their data and its usage. Ensure that data is securely stored, transported, and anonymized before sharing with third parties. Additionally, adopt the highest security standards to protect data lakes from cyber threats.

    Overreliance on Technology

    Digital education can be impersonal, without fostering interpersonal relationships among students and their teachers. Also, the lack of physical involvement and overuse of learning support may lower the development of critical thinking skills among learners.

    User Education

    Adopting digital learning solutions that offer a wide variety of learning formats, collaboration tools, learning opportunities, interaction forums, and video conferencing can maintain the human element in education, even in the AI-powered EdTech space. Learning management systems that provide time-bound access and allow administrators to control the access duration of designated resources can be instrumental in limiting AI assistance time, which can be personalized according to individual needs.

    The Role of Educators in Upholding Ethics in AI for Education

    Being at the forefront of the education space, teachers hold the most power to ensure responsible AI use. Teacher education on the advantages and risks of AI in education is key to successfully ensuring the ethical use of AI in education. Educational institutions must offer training to help them identify unethical practices. Plus, selecting tools that implement AI responsibly is paramount. Educators can guide and monitor students to encourage responsible digital behavior. They can drive digital literacy initiatives to promote a better understanding of technology and cultivate responsible usage.

    Optimize AIED with Ethics at the Fore

    Ethical use of AI is key to building the trust of parents and learners in the digital education ecosystem. This can instill a positive outlook towards technology-driven education and is essential to mitigating the risks of employing AI. Additionally, it helps foster equitable learning across the K12 and higher-education segments. 

    Using AI ethically fosters inclusivity, safety, transparency, and educational equity. EdTechs must ensure that online learning systems uphold the principles of responsible AI use and prioritize ethical considerations by proactively mitigating algorithmic bias and ensuring compliance with privacy guidelines. Learning design must ensure that the development of essential skills, such as critical thinking and socio-emotional intelligence, remains unhindered and that the mental well-being of all learners is nurtured. While AI is essential to improving learning processes and inclusivity in education, it must also maintain equitable and ethical learning delivery.

    AI in education is expected to grow at a whopping CAGR of 39.6% from 2024 through 2028 to reach a valuation of $21.13 billion by the end of the period. To capture this massive opportunity, EdTechs must partner with experts adept at employing innovative technologies while ensuring compliance. Speak to the experts at MagicBoxTM to learn how to deploy AI for education with ethics in mind.