Updated: Jul 25
Educators can provide technology vendors with cohesive information to assist in designing effective software and other technology, but both parties need support outside of their expertise. Thoughtful policymakers can help bring together all stakeholders to collaborate in a responsible and productive manner. The EdSAFE framework offers generous space for reconsidering local and federal governments’ role to support the development of revised, global benchmarks and standards for drafting new language that better protect all education stakeholders.
As leaders, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure we are building a world in which every individual has an opportunity to thrive. Understanding what AI can do and how it fits into your strategy is the beginning, not the end, of that process. — Andrew Ng
A Shared Vocabulary
When talking to experts, consensus on a shared vocabulary as such terms, phrases and applications continue to emerge and evolve is a topmost need. This vocabulary forms the basis for effective communication when designing benchmarks and standards that lead to clarity in local and federal legislation. Here are some more related terms and phrases in the current conversations around AI in edtech:
For a deeper understanding of how terms and definitions relate and what it means for our profession, consider the following resources:
Evolving Policy with Global Alignment
Around the world, education policy is (and in many cases should be), local. The problem is that local jurisdiction from school boards to states and even provinces lack the authority of national governance and the influence of large organisations with expertise on the topic. Now, the question becomes, how can policymakers respect local authority while sharing the best practices in common benchmarks and standards?
Creating Improved Benchmarks & Standards
With a common vocabulary, we can start to shape up what it is all parties desire, and negotiate new agreements about how exponentially-evolving technology can and should be utilised.
From the regulation and policy perspective there is a need to ensure that any overt education policy regarding AI promotes safe innovation and use. This promotes the necessity of a framework for considering all stakeholders’ highest needs for securing their privacy, and eliminating margin for any sort of harm that can befall a student or their family as well as an educator or their school.
With shared verbiage and agreements, we can together influence policy by advocating for our needs in the profession by staying committed to how AI will affect students in our care. The Alliance believes the following topics encompass what policymakers can support:
1. Creating guidelines without stifling innovation
Involve educators in the discussion by gathering their concerns and ideas through appropriate listening channels.
Provide relevant continuing education opportunities in the form of professional learning to the field from subject matter experts.
Work with software developers through professional networks to represent the needs of educators in both K-12 and higher education.
2. Protecting student data from harvesting by developers to train their models
3. Instill high standards for ethical product development that eliminates go-to-market strategies that offer free products in exchange for student data.
Offer transparent options to end users for the use of data in further product development.
4. Consider what happens when malicious actors (whether organic or artificial) exploit new security weaknesses manually or with their own AI.
Develop new regulations for protecting and supporting school staff working with sensitive student data when attacked.
Lean on edtech vendors to instil security measures on par with GDPR.
5. Understand the role of AI in high-stakes academic work such as standardised assessments.
Design end-to-end considerations for the use of AI in proctoring, delivering and scoring any required assessments acting as gateways to a student’s academic progression to be equitable, unbiased and transparent.
Provide preparatory as well as experiential UI/UX supports for students to be able to adapt to the such high-stakes assessments, including personal accommodations afforded to them through an individualised education plan.
Together is Better
Guidance channels energy. Policymakers working alongside education and technology experts is the right combination for moving this conversation forward and The EdSAFE AI Alliance is already making the necessary connections to influence a healthy dialogue that benefits all involved.
Join in the discussion, and become part pf the EdSAFE AI Alliance as we develop frameworks, benchmarks and standards to ensure the safe use of AI in education and equitable access to learning and teaching ecosystems!