Teachers are being encouraged not to fear the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) but to leverage technology to supplement the teaching-learning process.
Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, says despite the notion that AI software is poised to automate a number of jobs globally, it is unlikely that the technology will replace teachers in the classroom.
Artificial intelligence is the ability of a computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly undertaken by humans.
Mrs. Williams was speaking during the recent three-day Teachers’ Colleges of Jamaica Bi-Annual Research Conference, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Montego Bay, St. James.
“Artificial Intelligence isn’t likely to replace humans any time soon… and I believe so in the classroom as well. There will be a lot of help from technology. But I believe at the core of it, we still need teachers in our classrooms,” she said.
For his part, Dean of Teachers’ Colleges of Jamaica, Dr Garth Anderson, stated that instructional teaching strategies must be restructured and aligned to the current technological evolution in progress.
Dr. Anderson, who is also the Principal of Church Teachers’ College in Manchester, noted that the rapid increase in the use of AI requires that educators and students be prepared to engage in the changing dynamics of the education landscape.
“If the education sector hopes to utilise AI’s full potential, the focus must be to expose the present cadre of teachers and, indeed, the next generation of teachers to the transformative nature of technology in our classrooms,” he said.
Dr. Anderson also urged educators to embrace AI, despite public furor that the technology has the potential to replace teachers.
“I believe it does not look like teachers are at risk of being replaced by robots at any time soon. While AI programmes can teach students literacy or Mathematics or any subject, the more complex impartation of social and emotional skills will remain in the domain of human beings,” he added.
Dr. Anderson stated, however, that the impact of the ChatGBT AI software on the integrity of quality-assurance systems in colleges as well as the education system at large, cannot be ignored.
The conference was held under the theme ‘Preparing Teachers for the Next Education Task Force: Implications for National Development’.