The Usefulness of A.I. in Schools and Classrooms

In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, it’s no surprise that discussions around artificial intelligence (AI) have ventured into the halls of schools.  Many of those conversations are due to the rapid growth of these companies.  For instance, according to a Reuters article, ChatGPT set records for user base growth – researchers believe the tool reached 100 million users in only 2 months (for comparison, Tik Tok reached the figure in 9 months). 

This blog post explores the impact of AI in schools and classrooms, shedding light on the various ways it is changing the landscape of education. Although not exhaustive, it will give you steps to begin those conversations for use in schools.

Addressing Fears

Before we venture into possible classroom uses, we need to pause and consider the fears that surround AI.  Generally speaking, AI is already part of our daily lives.  How?  Look at this partial list of every-day items that are AI-driven with algorithms or specially-created tools:

  • Visual Voicemails
  • Email Filters (Gmail)
  • Cell Phones with Face ID
  • Google Search
  • Advertisements based on Search History
  • Home Security with Real-time Video Analysis
  • Language – both written (Grammarly) and foreign language (Translate)
  • Navigation Systems (GPS)
  • Home lighting that adjusts based on preferences as it uses voices to change
  • Autonomous Vehicles (Tesla)

AI does certainly raise some ethical questions related to data, privacy, and security; however, that is not the reason to immediately discount the various tools.  We should avoid the reaction of discounting all AI within education or merely calling it cheating/plagiarism.  Yes, it does open up questions regarding cheating and plagiarism; however, that questions should lead to deeper conversations about the tools. The key is to understand the beneficial ways to use, limitations of that use, and then creation of boundaries for use.

For teachers, we want to state something up-front and clearly – AI will never be able to replace you and the work you do in classrooms with students.  AI will never be able to manage a classroom filled with a diverse population of students. These tools cannot empathize with a student struggling with bullying, personal loss, or mental health issues.  The content-generation tools cannot pivot in the moment as you notice the class missed an important concept.

Yes, these tools to bring benefit. For instance, they can give you ideas for differentiation or unit objectives or assessment examples that could be used for entrance/exit tickets. Even further, the tools will shift some of your work but that’s okay – we as educators are always looking for ways to improve our lessons for students, right? Here is what we mean – as an example, you can use AI to generate content but focus on deeper thinking skills with students.  Maybe, as a history teacher, you ask an AI tool to list the major details of the Battle of Gettysburg, then have students read through it, and then teach critical evaluation of information skills.  Evaluation of information, wrestling with content, and revision are vital skills for the future and AI can help you build those for students.

What Tools Exist

Back in May, a website known as Ditch that Textbook, provide a list of it’s Top 30 AI Tools for Educators.  The article provides a wide array of tools from presentation preparation to text generation to image creation. As you explore that list, make sure you understand some of them are free, others are free with limited access, and others are a direct cost.  Still, this list gives you some ideas for testing and sampling on your own time to experiment and think more about possible use.

For instance, open up ChatGPT and PerplexityAI – both are content generation tools – and see the differences between them.  One will give you more depth of information but the other provides live links to online articles for further research. 

One final suggestion for you is to read the comments at the bottom as article readers have even added a few more to this list that may be of value to you. 

Classroom Possibilities

  1. PERSONALIZED LEARNING.  One of the most significant advantages of AI in education is personalized learning. Traditional classroom settings often force students to learn at the same pace, leaving some struggling to keep up while others become bored due to a lack of challenge. AI algorithms can assess each student’s strengths and weaknesses and tailor lessons accordingly. This adaptive learning approach ensures that students receive content at the right difficulty level, fostering better engagement and understanding.  As a result, students are empowered to lead their learning journey, work at their own pace, and achieve better, longer-lasting outcomes. If you know some students struggle as readers, then you could ask an AI tool to draft a word problem in math and then regenerate that response on multiple reading levels. That way, the students can still practice on the word problem – to demonstrate competency – without reading becoming the reason why they could not access the mathematical concept.
  2. IMPROVED STUDENT ENGAGEMENT. Keeping students engaged is a perpetual challenge for educators. AI comes to the rescue with interactive and immersive experiences. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications driven by AI are making learning more engaging and captivating. Imagine students exploring ancient civilizations in VR or conducting virtual chemistry experiments. AI can create these dynamic, educational experiences that captivate students’ attention and enhance their comprehension.  This is a big win, right? Some tools allow you to have a “conversation” with a historical figure, so imagine students having the opportunity to debate political leaders from the past or asking their opinions about contemporary issues. Now, as those responses come in, the teacher can have the student consider what was shared with what has been taught. This real-world application of historical or scientific data brings the material alive for the modern-day student.
  3. SAVING TEACHER TIME. AI doesn’t just benefit students; it also empowers educators. AI-driven tools like grading software can automate the time-consuming task of grading assignments and tests. Teachers are them permitted to dedicate more time to crafting personalized lesson plans, providing one-on-one support to struggling students, and fostering creativity in the classroom. Additionally, AI can help teachers identify students who may require additional support or intervention. By analyzing performance data, AI can flag students who are falling behind and offer targeted resources and strategies for improvement. This area is one that school administrators must explore diligently to help protect teacher time so they focus on what matters most instructionally.
  4. ACCESSIBILITY. AI is breaking down barriers in education by making it more accessible and inclusive. For students with disabilities, AI-powered tools like speech-to-text and text-to-speech software can level the playing field, providing them with the support they need to succeed. AI can also translate content into various languages, making education more accessible to non-native speakers. Moreover, AI-driven content recommendations can expose students to diverse perspectives and ideas, broadening their horizons and fostering a more inclusive educational experience.  Teachers can even use AI content generators to draft content for ELL students to help them with vocabulary and language retention. In short, you can differentiate lessons with the assistance of AI saving you time!


The integration of AI in schools and classrooms is not a passing trend.  AI can shift teaching and learning, thereby making education more personalized, engaging, and inclusive. As technology continues to advance, we can expect even more innovative applications of AI in education. Right now, explore some of the AI tools and think about how you could use them for the benefit of teachers and students.

Obviously, any use of AI in a classroom or school MUST follow the school and district policy.  As you learn from your own experimentation, you can lead conversations with other teachers and school leaders to help shape policy at your school or district. 

In conclusion, while challenges exist, with careful planning and ethical considerations, AI has the potential to become another tool that, with proper use, can create a brighter and more equitable future for students and educators alike.

Final Thoughts

The Stride PD Center recognizes that AI will be a continued “hot topic” in the field for some time. To help you navigate those waters, we are providing you several resources. First, visit our FREE RESOURCES as we have a 9 page document – for both teachers and leaders – to guide thinking, use of some tools, and policy implications. This document was created by educators like you for educators like you. These colleagues (Iman Alattar and Amy Hollis) are developing courses and have written previous blogs. Second, we will have some additional blogs that appear in the future (and a session at Promising Practices on March 1, 2024 – so mark that date down!). Finally, be on the lookout for a series of 30 minute courses that will help you sort through the introduction, implementation, and integration of AI in your schools and classrooms.

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