Intelligence Doesn’t Have to Be Artificial

Aaron ElseBlog, Engage Better, Innovate Better, Lesson Plan Better


  • AI is changing education, but is that bad?
  • Students have the capability to look up information at their fingertips.
  • Embrace the technology of today and offer your students authentic learning experiences.

Artificial intelligence is about to change how we do everything in education. This is terrifying to a lot of educators. They fear students won’t learn at the same level as they did when they were students. They feel it will take away from teaching, writing, and assessing students’ learning.

That isn’t a warning. It is something that at the secondary level has been occurring for years.

I teach an education class at a local university. It is a class that gives a basic overview of how schools work. The students are required to write a lot of responses to articles and discussions, and then write a final paper. When students submit a paper, it is submitted via software that checks to make sure it isn’t plagiarized. This is done via complex software that checks for common words, sentences, and phrases. This has been around for years; the point is to ensure your work is yours.

For years students have invested a small fee in the software Grammarly to help them improve and even rewrite part of their papers. Grammarly is an awesome software that will improve anyone’s writing. I love it so much that I use it myself, and I have installed it on my own kid’s computers.

Artificial Intelligence Hacks

However, artificial intelligence recently took things to a whole new level. Students can invest another small fee into a variety of artificial intelligence software and tell it to write a paper, cite sources, write in a certain style, and make it a certain length. Within seconds, they have a paper, book, you name it. They can have charts, graphs, and even illustrations added. It has changed the path of education completely. Online “news” sites have used artificial intelligence to write stories rather than pay an actual reporter.

Recently, the university I work for has encouraged us to move away from papers and move more towards in-person discussions and projects. They have come to accept that they can’t police artificial intelligence, at least not yet.

You may say, well that is college. That doesn’t impact me. You would be wrong. Students, who often will spend more energy on finding a way to beat the system, are already using this at all levels. Whether it is writing papers or answering questions on online quizzes or tests, artificial intelligence or just some student creativity beats the system. Making an online quiz? Can students see your answers if they click on “view source code”? Students often click on this and can see the correct answer. I’ve watched a 4th grader show me how he does it. It took seconds.

Teaching for Understanding

But this article isn’t just about being better than technology, it is about being a better educator. The truth is, if your test is about dates, names, and terms rather than discussion, creativity, and problem-solving, you are already teaching at a low level. Your students aren’t getting anything they can’t learn from a Google search.

The truth is if your test is about dates, names, and terms rather than discussion, creativity, and problem-solving, you are already teaching at a low level. Your students aren't getting anything they can’t learn from a Google search. Click To Tweet

Who won the War of 1812? That is a Google search. Evaluating “What were the reasons the war was fought?” and working with a group to research and debate another group might lead to a deeper understanding.

Learning about Brown vs. Board of Education? Instead of just learning about the basic facts, have a mock case as you prepare to argue against the Board of Education on why equality in education must happen. That would lead to an understanding that reading out of a text could never achieve.

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While I think artificial intelligence is going to change our education system and our lives tremendously, I don’t think it changes what good teaching truly is.

I also think having artificial intelligence on our side can lead to greater engagement and creativity within our schools.

As educators, we still need to focus on relationships, engagement, and utilizing technology to work for us—not against us. This was the case in 1960, today, and every day to come.

Don’t fear it. Use it to build a better classroom and a better tomorrow. If we do, we might find out that the way we learned wasn’t the best way to learn after all.

About Aaron Else

Aaron Else is an enthusiastic optimist entering his 22nd year in education. During his time in education, he has taught 1st, 2nd, and 5th grades. He has worked in administration for the past 14 years with the last 8 as principal at Hosp Elementary in Frisco ISD. Aaron is married to Heather, and they have five kids combined and two dogs. He loves to read, work out, and watch sports.