Evolving Education in the Age of AI: A Comprehensive Guide

This comprehensive guide is my humble attempt to help educators navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of AI in education. However, I must admit that things are changing so quickly that it’s impossible to create a perfect, all-encompassing guide that can stand the test of time. Just as I advise organizations to develop AI guidances and iterate on them frequently, I must do the same with this resource.

Is it a bit wordy and repetitive? 💯 Is it good enough to help teachers get started? 🤞I think so.

Before we dive in, here are the key takeaways from this guide to AI in education, written by AI:

Use this table of contents to navigate through this extensive guide (a working draft) for educators struggling with how to incorporate AI.

Evolving Education in the Age of AI: A Comprehensive Guide

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the way we work, learn, and teach. The future belongs to AI-enhanced humans, and as educators, we have a responsibility to prepare our students for this new reality. While we must give educators time and space to “mourn” as they adjust to the changes in teaching and learning, we owe it to our students to act swiftly. 

It’s time to introduce AI Fundamentals courses and provide paid professional development opportunities for teachers to explore and experiment with AI tools. Schools must adopt AI guidances and be ready to change those guidances as new technologies are released — and new discoveries are made about AI’s use. 

The role of teachers remains crucial in the age of AI. AI is a tool to enhance – not replace – human instruction. Teachers’ expertise in pedagogy, content knowledge, and emotional support cannot be replicated by machines.  

As an experienced professional in founding startups, managing people, and advising companies, I have gained insights into the skills needed to succeed in the future of work. It’s evident that AI is an exponential technology that will transform every aspect of our lives. We owe it to our students to learn quickly so we can help them navigate these changes. 

Fellow educators must understand the transformative power of AI in education. AI has the potential to make personalized learning journeys available to every student, unlocking each person’s potential. It also presents an opportunity for educators to offload task-based or repetitive work, allowing teachers to focus on what they do best.

This comprehensive guide aims to equip educators with the current knowledge and tools for leveraging AI in the classroom. The field of AI in education is rapidly evolving, and like any good educator, we’ll be iterating and refining our understanding as we go.

AI-Empowered Teachers

Imagine an AI teaching assistant that can instantly answer your questions, turn your lesson plans into the format required by your school, help you with assessments, identify your sticking points, and recommend optimal resources matched to your unique strengths and struggles. What if your AI assistant could help you improve your communications to parents, when you’re struggling to refine your first draft? What if you had an AI assistant who could take your ideas to make a first draft of a lesson plan, including presentation slides? Imagine how much time you’d save – and how you could reinvest that energy into your students. 

AI can help teachers focus on what they do best — inspiring curiosity and critical thinking with a human connection. With AI handling routine tasks, educators can devote more energy to creating engaging lessons, making connections with students, and giving personalized feedback. 

What is AI?

The field of AI (artificial intelligence) was first founded in 1956. AI is a discipline focused on empowering machines to execute tasks typically requiring human intelligence. Progress in AI was slow for many decades. Early AI systems were rule-based and focused on narrow, specific tasks, such as playing chess or solving mathematical problems. 

Today, AI can be broadly categorized into two areas: technical approaches to realizing AI and applications of AI.

Technical Approaches to Realizing AI

There are two main technical approaches to realizing AI: classical AI and machine learning.

Classical AI (Symbolic AI)

This approach focuses on creating intelligent systems using explicit, rule-based programming. In classical AI, knowledge is represented using symbols, and the system uses logical reasoning to draw conclusions and make decisions. Examples of classical AI include expert systems, which use a knowledge base of if-then rules to make decisions in specific domains, such as medical diagnosis or financial planning.

Machine learning (ML)

In contrast to classical AI, machine learning focuses on enabling computers to learn from data without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning algorithms use statistical techniques to find patterns in data and make predictions or decisions based on those patterns. There are three main types of machine learning: supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning.

Applications of AI

AI has numerous applications across various domains. Two prominent categories of AI applications are predictive AI and generative AI.

Predictive AI

Predictive AI uses machine learning algorithms to analyze historical data and make predictions about future events or outcomes. Common applications of predictive AI include fraud detection, customer churn prediction, and demand forecasting.

Generative AI

Generative AI focuses on creating new content, such as images, music, or text, based on patterns learned from existing data. Recent advances in deep learning, particularly in areas such as generative adversarial networks (GANs) and transformer models, have led to significant breakthroughs in generative AI. Examples of generative AI include AI-generated art, music, and text, such as the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) language models developed by OpenAI.

The field of AI has come a long way since its inception in 1956, and today, AI is changing our world and reshaping how we live and work. AI can analyze vast amounts of data, automate tasks, and make predictions — and this has unlocked unprecedented opportunities for innovation and efficiency.

AI has the potential to revolutionize every aspect of our lives —from healthcare and education to manufacturing and entertainment. Nothing will be left untouched.

AI is an exponential technology. That means, in each period it doubles in capability or performance — and perhaps on the flip side, it halves in cost in each period. In other words, exponential technology progresses at such a rapid rate that it can be challenging for humans to comprehend. Humans can intuitively understand linear growth patterns, but we struggle to anticipate the exponential scale of impact over time. This means AI is improving so rapidly that humans are likely to dismiss or dismiss the potential impact — underestimating the transformative capabilities and societal implications it holds.

It is undeniable that AI has the potential to drive progress and solve complex problems. Which is why businesses, governments, educators, and individuals alike are adapting and embracing AI capabilities for a brighter future. 

People who choose to enhance their capabilities with AI will replace those who refuse to use AI.

This raises important ethical and societal questions that we must grapple with as the technologies improve. And it means that today’s students will be leaders in a world where AI is everywhere. 

So what does that mean for educators? It means that we must quickly learn how to use AI and adapt our teaching for this age of AI.

Getting started with AI

If you’re going to be expected to help students navigate a world of AI, you’d best start navigating it yourself — even if your school isn’t ready to release AI guidances. 

In your own time, start by learning to use AI tools to make the tedious parts of being an educator a little more manageable. Ensuring you don’t share any private data, try it out. Remember that anything you put into AI systems could be made public, so don’t enter any sensitive or private information into AI. Start small, maybe having it help you make suggestions for improving an email. Then, have it write a first draft for you. 

Try using generative AI tools like Firefly, Ideogram, or Dall-E via Copilot to make images for your slide deck – no more searching for the right image when you can have AI generate it for you. Experiment with AI writing assistants for drafting lesson plans or refining student feedback, remembering to always redact private information and have a human-in-the-loop — meaning don’t unleash AI results without reviewing it (and likely editing it) yourself.

Try having AI generate something that you are an expert on. You’ll quickly see how important it is to verify everything that AI writes, as AI often “hallucinates” or makes up data. It’s notorious for making up citations – one lawyer has been sanctioned for citing made-up case law that AI created for him. 

The more you use generative AI yourself, the more you’ll be able to quickly recognize unedited AI-generated content. You’ll notice that AI uses some words much more often than humans. These words include innovative, comprehensive, delve, particularly, effectively, successfully, broader, noteworthy, insightful, unique, intriguing, compelling, notable, fascinating, commendable, versatile, operational, interdisciplinary, adaptable, authentic, instrumental, purportedly, firmly, leverage, and many others. The more you use AI for your subject area, the more you’ll learn which key phrases and words AI often generates in your field.

Then, get creative with AI. Have AI make you a poem or song to teach a specific topic. Ask AI to help you reframe your teaching of a specific lesson to connect it to soccer — so that you can reach that one child who has been struggling but loves soccer and will respond to soccer-based lessons. Use ChatGPT to create an outline for lesson slides, then dive into Canva’s Magic Studio to create those slides quickly. Or use Brisk or other tools to make a first draft of an entire presentation. Toss in an AI-generated image that is obviously wrong to you, the expert, and use it as a starting point for a discussion with your students. Observe firsthand the technology’s potential and limitations as you think about how you will guide your students’ learning. 

You’ll want to model the responsible, ethical use of AI you expect from them.

Choosing AI Tools

I know teachers want to know which tools to use. For folks who haven’t started using AI tools, it can be hard to know where to start. 

I hesitate to make recommendations because these tools are changing and updating so quickly. In addition, we are seeing smaller AI companies shutting down. We are also seeing many companies change their policies from time to time, with possible repercussions for privacy. For education, where privacy is paramount, these policy changes can and should result in a decision to discontinue use. Thus, I think it’s more useful to go over how to think about choosing AI tools – rather than recommending specific tools.

How you pick a tool as an individual is different than how schools should pick tools. Let’s start with individual educators.

Selecting, Purchasing, and Using AI Tools in Education For Individual Educators:

Tools are changing rapidly, along with use cases, so individuals should try all the major tools available. Here are some 

  • Embrace Multiple Tools: Don’t be limited by a single subscription; explore and leverage complementary functionalities.
  • Stay Updated: Follow major generative AI models (GPT, Gemini, etc.) to understand the evolving capabilities of the field.
  • Explore and Experiment: Take advantage of free trials and demos to explore various AI tools.
  • Compare Outputs: Test the same prompt with different tools to see how results vary.
  • Refine and Iterate: Work with the generative AI model to refine and iterate on the result, aiming to refine the work at least three times.
  • Combine and Refine: Experiment with feeding outputs from one tool into another for creative reimagining.
  • Invest Wisely: If considering a paid tool, prioritize flexibility and access to top-tier models.

For recommendations on how schools should think about purchasing AI tools, skip ahead to learn about school guidances on AI – as purchase decisions should be made in consultation with school AI guidances. 

Age Appropriate Lessons

While you’re getting comfortable with AI, it’s also time to start having open conversations with your students about AI. With age appropriate lessons, no child is too young to start understanding AI. Start with discussions on what AI is, what it is not, and the ethical issues surrounding AI — bias, data privacy, transparency, sustainability, etc. 

Then, move on to modeling appropriate AI use. Use generative AI together as a class. Assess its effectiveness, together. Have a conversation with AI, together, to show students how you iterate with AI — and how you sometimes have to “reset” by starting a brand new generative AI chat. 

Finally, for teachers of older kids, there comes a time when you’ll want to create assignments to help students learn to use AI appropriately and effectively. 

But before you get there, you’ll want to start by redesigning assignments and assessments for the age of AI. 

The Pitfalls of AI Detection

With AI tools easily accessible, many educators are treating AI usage like plagiarism — and turning to AI detection tools to catch cheaters. AI detection tools do not work, period. Study after study after study show again and again that these tools are unreliable and are easily bypassed when basic techniques to avoid detection are used. Moreover, AI writing can be run through simple AI tools to easily avoid detection. Worse, these tools tend to falsely “detect” AI usage more often from non-native writers. They also “catch” students using approved tools like Grammarly and “detect” such usage as AI-written.

This means that AI detection only catches bad AI cheating — along with innocent bystanders.

If you feel you must use AI detectors, please use it only as a starting point. Do not assume that because a paper is flagged that the student used AI. Investigate further. Ask questions. Have a discussion. 

Ultimately, engaging in a technological arms race with AI is a losing battle. As AI writing improves, as it inevitably will, it will become even more indistinguishable from human work. Investing time and resources in detection is futile.

The solution lies in creating a culture of academic integrity and adapting assignments and assessments for the AI age. Open conversations about the ethical use of AI tools, age appropriate AI lessons starting at a young age, and the importance of independent thinking are crucial.

However, educators can’t stop there. Redesigning assignments to prioritize critical thinking is key. Let’s create classrooms where students are intrinsically motivated to learn and produce original work. When the learning process itself becomes valuable, resorting to AI shortcuts becomes less appealing.

Beyond these strategies, developing strong relationships with your students is crucial. When you truly know your students’ writing styles, strengths, and learning journeys, you can often instinctively recognize work that they did not create. Look for the spark of curiosity and independent thought that distinguishes genuine student work from AI-generated content. A sudden shift in vocabulary, sentence structure, or argumentation can be a red flag.

While AI detection tools might improve in the future, our current focus needs to be on promoting academic integrity, fostering ethical AI use, and adapting assessments to empower students in the AI-driven world.

Redesigning Assignments and Assessments

The rise of AI feels like the onset of digital calculators or the emergence of high-speed internet and Google. Those changes, along with AI, are here to stay. We must reevaluate outcomes and redesign assignments and assessments accordingly. 

Here are some tips for how teachers can redesign assignments and assessments to promote critical thinking and original student work in the age of AI:

Academic integrity in the age of AI

First, let’s talk about cheating in the age of AI. Early research out of Stanford suggests that AI has not led to an increase in cheating. The kids that were going to cheat are probably going to use AI to cheat. But AI isn’t turning students into cheaters. Time will tell whether this continues to be true, but I believe most students do truly want to learn — and won’t turn to cheating unless there are exigent circumstances. 

While AI tools (like any other tool) can potentially be misused, they also present opportunities to rethink how we teach. While there are still classes and assignments where AI should be disallowed, we should move beyond trying to restrict AI entirely. Instead, aim to redesign coursework to be AI-assisted but not AI-substituted.

The goal should be developing assignments that promote higher-order skills — analysis, critical thinking, creativity — which AI alone cannot provide. Incorporating AI can help develop important 21st century competencies like:

  • Evaluating the strengths and limitations of AI outputs
  • Understanding the ethical implications of AI
  • Utilizing AI as a productivity tool while maintaining personal authorship

By getting ahead of the curve, teachers can harness AI for learning enhancement rather than cheating temptations.

Here’s how to get started…

Start with outcomes

Before redesigning assignments and assessments, teachers must first define the specific learning objectives and skills they want students to develop. This intention should drive how you design assignments and assessments.

Preparing for the future of work

Start by asking yourself, how is this preparing my students for the future of work? 

In the future of work, critical thinking will be paramount. Computational thinking, written and oral communication, and lifelong learning and coachability, are also necessary to succeed in the 21st century. Clear writing still indicates a clear mind. In addition, other skills needed for the future of work include: empathy and emotional intelligence, integrity and social responsibility, adaptability and resilience, self-motivated / self-directed, and mindfulness. Creativity, persuasion skills, storytelling, intelligent risk taking, curiosity, and collaboration are also important in a world of accelerated change.

In short, an entrepreneurial mindset will allow every student to succeed in a world where accelerating change has become the norm. And real-world project-based learning experiences are the surest way to gain these skills needed for success. 

Defining learning objectives

Next, ask yourself:

  • What core concepts, theories, or technical knowledge do I want students to understand deeply?
  • What higher-order thinking abilities like analysis, evaluation, and creation do I aim to cultivate?
  • What real-world applications or transferable competencies are valuable for students to gain?

Once you’ve established your intended outcomes, you can move on to purposefully constructing activities, projects, and assessments that provide meaningful practice and evaluation aligned with those goals.

Assignments that are harder for AI to simulate

While no assignment is AI-proof, you can start by creating assignments to developing the more complex capabilities AI cannot easily simulate:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Applying knowledge to new contexts

We have to move beyond testing for content regurgitation. Design assignments that challenge students to actively engage in skill-building exercises that you’ve defined as priorities.

Redesigning writing assignments

Teaching writing is one of those things that will have to fundamentally change in a world of AI.  Still, we must preserve the learning process. We must maintain the value of the writing process itself, including brainstorming, researching, and critical thinking.

Here are some ideas to help you get started: 

  • Chunk assignments into stages with separate due dates (outline, draft versions, final submission)
    • Use tools like Google Docs version history to review writing progression
  • Flip the script and have students do their writing during your class time
  • Replace traditional essays with podcasts, videos, diagrams, or other multimedia projects
  • Incorporate AI analysis – have students generate a ChatGPT response and analyze its strengths/weaknesses

Making assignments (a little) AI-resistant

Nothing is totally AI-proof, but here are some tips to make it a little harder to use AI for assignments: 

  • Reference course materials or sources not available online
  • Flip the script and have assignments completed in class, instead of at home
  • Include visuals like images/videos that require original responses (though many generative AI tools are now accepting images as input)
  • Connect assignments to current events/conversations in your field
  • Ask students to apply personal knowledge and experiences
  • Engage in Socratic dialogue, debate, and open-ended questions
  • Create oral examinations
  • Add a Trojan horse / “blue dye” to your assignments

Create assignments to help students learn to use AI

To prepare students for an AI-powered world, educators should design assignments that help students build their critical AI literacy skills. 

Here are a some ideas to help you get started:

Comparative analysis

Engage students in comparing the outputs, performance, and capabilities of different AI models across various domains to develop critical evaluation skills.

  1. Analyze the output of different AI language models (ChatGPT, Claude, Gemini, etc.) on the same prompt to compare strengths and weaknesses. For example, have students generate responses to a complex question using multiple AI models and evaluate the depth, accuracy, and coherence of each output.
  2. Use AI to translate text and evaluate the quality of different language translations. Students can compare AI-generated translations to professional human translations, assessing fluency, cultural context, and nuance.
  3. Compare human and AI performance on games or creative exercises. Have students play a strategic game against an AI opponent, then analyze the different approaches and relative strengths of human and machine reasoning.
  4. Compare human vs AI performance on standardized test questions across subjects. Use AI to generate answers to practice questions and have students grade the AI’s responses, identifying areas where the AI excels or struggles compared to human test-takers.

Critical thinking and evaluation

Foster critical thinking skills by having students analyze AI-generated content, explore the limitations of AI systems, and evaluate the ethical implications of AI decision-making.

  1. Use an AI tool to generate ideas, then critically evaluate and refine the output. Have students brainstorm solutions to a problem using AI assistance, then assess the feasibility and originality of the generated ideas, iterating to improve them.
  2. Reverse-engineer AI outputs by trying to identify the prompts that could have generated them. Provide students with AI-generated content and challenge them to deduce the likely input prompts, cultivating an understanding of how prompt engineering influences outputs.
  3. Study the limitations of current AI by testing its abilities on complex, multi-step tasks. Have students design a series of linked prompts to guide an AI through a complicated process, analyzing where and why the AI falls short.
  4. Examine AI training data and algorithms for sources of bias or ethical concerns. Have students simulate having AI make decisions in high-stakes scenarios like healthcare or criminal justice, and then explore the ethical implications of AI decision-making.
  5. Fact-check AI outputs against authoritative sources to assess reliability. Assign students to verify the accuracy of AI-generated responses on a topic by cross-referencing with reputable sources, identifying any misinformation or inconsistencies.

Creative applications

Encourage students to play with AI tools for creative projects, such as writing, storytelling, and music composition, to explore the boundaries and potential of human-AI collaboration in the creative process.

  1. Generate creative writing pieces using AI as a co-author to understand the boundaries. Have students collaborate with an AI to write a short story or poem, experimenting with different prompts and parameters to shape the AI’s contributions and reflect on the creative process.
  2. Generate images using AI to illustrate original stories. Students can write a story or narrative, then use AI image generation tools to create accompanying visuals, evaluating how well the AI captures the intended mood, style, and content.
  3. Create branch narrative stories with different storylines generated by an AI collaborator. Have students outline a choose-your-own-adventure style story, then use AI to flesh out different story paths, analyzing the coherence and engagement of the AI-generated plotlines.
  4. Analyze lyrics, scripts or prose written with AI assistance for creative writing practice. Students can generate writing samples with AI help, then workshop and critique the outputs to identify areas for improvement and iterate on the AI-assisted creative process.
  5. Use AI song-makers to create songs to teach topics not typically covered in song, such as math or science. Challenge students to generate an educational song using AI tools, evaluating the effectiveness of the musical elements in conveying the intended information.

Research and analysis

Guide students in using AI to investigate its impact on various industries, generate novel research ideas, and analyze the feasibility and potential of AI-driven innovations.

  1. Examine AI’s impact on job markets and brainstorm career paths involving AI skills. Students can research industries being transformed by AI and propose future-facing career trajectories that leverage human-AI collaboration.
  2. Explore AI for scientific research by having it ideate new hypotheses or research directions. Have students input a scientific topic into an AI system and analyze the generated research questions or hypotheses for originality, plausibility, and potential impact.

Prototyping and problem-solving

Challenge students to use AI tools for project planning, prototyping solutions to real-world problems, and evaluating the effectiveness and ethical considerations of AI-powered innovations.

  1. Use AI assistants to map out multimedia project plans and timelines. Have students use AI tools to break down a complex project into component tasks, resources, and milestones, then evaluate the effectiveness of the AI-generated project management framework.
  2. Prototype an AI solution to a local community issue or problem. Have students identify a challenge facing their community and design an AI-powered tool to address it, considering the technical feasibility, potential impact, and ethical implications.

Ethical considerations

Engage students in exploring the risks and ethical implications of AI, such as the spread of misinformation, environmental impact, and the need for responsible AI governance.

  1. Prompt an AI with misinformation to explore how it may reinforce or spread inaccurate data. Students can intentionally feed an AI system false information and trace how that misinformation propagates through AI-generated content, proposing strategies to mitigate the spread.
  2. Explore the environmental impact of training large AI models and brainstorm solutions for “greening” AI. Students can use AI and other tools to research the carbon footprint of major AI systems and propose techniques for enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of AI development and deployment.
  3. Debate the ethical implications and necessary regulations for AI technologies in various domains (e.g., healthcare, education, criminal justice). Have students roleplay different stakeholder perspectives and collaboratively use AI to propose governance frameworks balancing innovation with risk mitigation. Then, assess the proposed frameworks created with AI.

AI and democracy

  1. Explore the role of AI in spreading misinformation and disinformation. Challenge students to use AI tools to generate fake news articles or social media posts, then analyze how these messages could be amplified by AI algorithms. Discuss strategies for combating the spread of AI-generated misinformation.
  2. Debate the ethical implications of AI-powered surveillance. Organize a class debate on the use of AI technologies like facial recognition in public spaces. Have students consider arguments for public safety and security as well as concerns about privacy and civil liberties.
  3. Analyze the potential impact of AI on jobs and income inequality. Ask students to research industries and occupations that are likely to be automated by AI and discuss the potential consequences for employment, wages, and economic inequality. Have them propose policies or solutions to address these challenges.
  4. Evaluate the role of AI in personalizing online content and its impact on democracy. Have students experiment with AI-powered content recommendation systems and analyze how different user behaviors influence the content they are shown. Discuss the implications of personalization for exposure to diverse viewpoints and democratic discourse.
  5. Explore the use of AI in electoral processes. Ask students to research the potential applications of AI in voter registration, ballot counting, or election security. Have them evaluate the benefits and risks of these technologies and propose guidelines for their responsible use.
  6. Investigate the role of AI in detecting and combating online hate speech and extremism. Challenge students to train an AI model to identify hate speech or extremist content, then evaluate its performance and discuss the potential limitations and risks of relying on AI for content moderation. Have them propose alternative or complementary approaches to promoting respectful online discourse.

Accessibility and inclusion

Encourage students to critically assess the accessibility and inclusivity of AI tools, propose enhancements for diverse user needs, and explore strategies for mitigating bias in AI systems.

  1. Use AI to translate legalese or technical jargon into plain language explainers. Have students identify a complex legal or technical document and use AI to generate a simplified version, evaluating the clarity and accuracy of the AI-generated explanation.
  2. Assess the accessibility of various AI tools and brainstorm enhancements for differently-abled users. Students can audit popular AI platforms for compatibility with assistive technologies, proposing design improvements to enhance accessibility and inclusivity.
  3. Explore techniques for mitigating bias in AI systems to promote more equitable outcomes. Have students research real-world examples of AI bias and propose technical and societal solutions for developing more inclusive and representative AI models.

Learning applications

Have students use AI to create and refine educational resources, such as summaries, study guides, and practice problems, to enhance their own learning experiences and develop AI-powered learning tools.

  1. Use AI text summarization on long readings and validate accuracy of key points. Assign students a lengthy academic paper and have them use AI to generate a concise summary, then compare the AI-distilled version against a human-crafted summary for completeness and precision.
  2. Create study guides or review materials for a specific subject using AI assistance. Students can leverage AI tools to generate practice problems, explanations, and mnemonic devices, curating and refining the AI outputs into an effective educational resource.


Guide students in using AI writing assistants to compose and refine various forms of communication, such as emails, requests, and pitches, while maintaining clarity, persuasiveness, and professionalism.

  1. Use AI to write an email to a teacher asking for an extension. Have students draft an email requesting an assignment extension using an AI writing tool, then analyze and refine the AI-generated message for clarity, tone, and persuasiveness.
  2. Use AI to ask a coach for a letter of recommendation. Students can input details about their athletic achievements and the scholarship requirements into an AI tool, then customize the AI-generated request to strike the right balance between professional and personal tone.
  3. Use AI to ask an industry expert for an informational interview. Have students leverage AI to compose a compelling message to an industry expert, highlighting their background and what they hope to learn. Students should refine the AI draft to showcase their enthusiasm while respecting the expert’s time.
  4. Analyze AI-generated email responses to a complex customer complaint. Provide students with a challenging customer complaint scenario and have them generate potential email responses using an AI tool. Students can then evaluate the effectiveness of the AI responses in addressing the complaint and propose improvements.
  5. Use AI to craft a persuasive pitch for a school club or initiative. Students can input key details about their club or initiative into an AI writing assistant and use the generated content as a starting point for creating a compelling promotional message to attract new members or supporters.

By engaging students in hands-on AI projects, educators can cultivate the technical skills, critical thinking abilities, and ethical frameworks needed for an AI-driven future. Encouraging students to actively experiment with AI tools, analyze their strengths and limitations, and propose innovative applications will nurture the adaptability and creativity needed in a world of accelerating change.

If you’re looking for more curriculum ideas, visit the AI curriculum page, where I share links to resources specializing in AI prompts for education and AI curriculum.

Rethinking assessments

Once you’ve reevaluated your outcomes and redesigned your assignment, it’s time to think about assessments. 

Here are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Use authentic, real-world scenario-based assessments requiring critical thinking
  • Employ open-ended questions prompting original analysis and understanding
  • Evaluate the process and justifications behind students’ solutions, not just final answers
  • Incorporate collaborative and iterative elements into your assessments, such as peer feedback, group projects, and opportunities for revision. These strategies promote active learning, communication skills, and a growth mindset. 
  • Create assessments that have authentic audiences and purposes beyond the classroom, motivating students to take ownership of their learning and see the relevance of their skills.
  • Design contextualized, tailored assessments that are more challenging to feed fully into AI tools

By chunking writing stages, varying media formats, and crafting high-level application/analysis prompts, instructors can redesign coursework to uphold academic integrity. Multimodal assignments and evaluating underlying reasoning reduce unauthorized AI use while prioritizing students’ creative and analytical skills. Creating new assignments that teach how to use AI responsibly will ensure your students are ready for an unpredictable future. 

Create an AI Fundamentals Course

Before diving into applied AI assignments, older students should first build a solid foundation in AI literacy. If you can’t ensure that your students come in with a basic understanding of AI, then you may want to create a dedicated AI Fundamentals course. This course should be designed to ensure students understand the capabilities, limitations, and ethical implications of these powerful technologies. 

If you’re looking for an off-the-shelf AI fundamentals curriculum, check out aiEdu’s Intro to AI curriculum

An AI Fundamentals curriculum should cover core concepts like:

What is AI?

  • Overview of different AI techniques (machine learning, neural networks, etc.)
  • Predictive versus Generative AI
  • The current state of AI versus narrow/general AI
  • Common use cases across industries 

How is AI Created?

  • The process of training machine learning models on data
  • Basics of algorithms, neural networks, and coding
  • Unpacking the “black box” of AI systems

Ethical AI Principles

  • Mitigating bias in data and algorithms  
  • AI safety considerations and robustness testing
  • Privacy issues and AI governance policies
  • The human-in-the-loop concept

When to Utilize AI… And When Not To

  • AI as a productivity tool versus full automation
  • Scenarios where AI assistance may be counterproductive
  • Importance of developing skills that cannot be replicated by AI
  • Importance of developing skills so that we can continue to manage AI (and not the other way around)

With these fundamentals, students will be better equipped to responsibly navigate AI’s applications throughout their education and careers. They’ll understand AI’s strengths and weaknesses, and how to optimize it as a supplemental tool without over-relying on it.

The course should weave in continual hands-on activities and projects allowing students to experience real AI capabilities firsthand. Ethical framing, along with real-world exposure, helps build genuine AI understanding and responsible technology use.

AI Guidances for Schools

It’s not enough for educators to make these changes alone. As AI integration grows, schools must create clear ethical guidelines and policies for AI use. 

These AI guidances should cover:

  • Age appropriate use of AI
  • How AI can be used by students
  • How AI should be used by educators
  • Ensuring student data privacy protection
  • Mitigating bias
  • Requiring human oversight on AI grading and other decisions (keeping a human-in-the-loop)
  • Allowing AI assistance but not full automation

Guidances will need regular re-evaluation as AI capabilities rapidly evolve. Schools must be willing to update policies frequently to keep up with the latest developments in AI. 

Not sure how to get started? TeachAI’s AI Guidance for Schools Toolkit is a great place to start. In addition, I like how the University of Hawaii has created sample statements for faculty to adapt and adopt into their own syllabi or specific assignments to explain how AI can or cannot be used.

Finally, I would strongly encourage that schools encourage their faculty to experiment with AI to the best of their ability, within legal and ethical parameters. AI tools are expected to grow and teachers must be at the forefront of understanding how AI is used and taught. 

Selecting, Purchasing, and Using AI Tools in Education For Schools:

Earlier, I discussed how individuals should be selecting AI tools. Schools require a more strategic approach to AI tool adoption, and purchase decisions should be made in consultation with the school’s guidance on AI. 

Here are some key considerations for schools considering purchasing AI tools:

  • Strategic Adoption: Before purchasing, establish a clear rationale and strategy for AI tool integration.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Involve teachers, students, and other stakeholders in the selection process to ensure alignment with their needs.
  • Contingency Planning: Develop a plan to address situations where the chosen tool becomes outdated or changes significantly.
  • Learn from Past Experiences: Reflect on previous edtech investments to inform AI tool decisions.
  • Ask Critical Questions: Engage vendors with questions about educator involvement in development, anticipated tool obsolescence, and future updates.
  • Professional Development: Provide training to support teachers in effectively integrating AI tools into their teaching practices.
  • Continuous Evaluation: Regularly assess the impact of AI tools on student learning and make data-driven decisions to optimize usage or explore alternatives.

By following these guidelines and adopting a thoughtful, iterative approach, both educators and schools can harness the power of AI to enhance educational experiences while mitigating potential drawbacks.

Communicating with Families about AI in Education

Effective communication with families about AI in education is crucial. Without clearly communicated information, families are left in the dark wondering how best to support the learning at home. 

Here’s a framework for fostering collaboration and addressing potential concerns with parents:

Emphasize Expertise and Responsible Use:

  • Assurance: Highlight the school’s leadership in AI adoption, emphasizing the deep understanding of educators in selecting and using AI for student benefit.
  • Focus on Outcomes: Clearly communicate the school’s commitment to using AI for improved learning experiences and preparing students for the AI-driven world.

Acknowledge Parent Involvement:

  • Parental Stake: Recognize parents’ right to be involved, as their children are directly impacted by AI tools.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Encourage parents to share insights and experiences from their careers and networks, enriching the school’s understanding of AI’s future impact.

Transparency and Clarity:

  • Understanding AI: Clearly explain the school’s approach to AI, focusing on both learning and student well-being.
  • Expectations and Guidelines: Share expectations for AI use by students and teachers, including responsible use policies, academic integrity, and digital literacy.
  • Curriculum Integration: Explain how AI tools will be integrated into the curriculum to support personalized learning and skill development.

Promote Collaboration and Support:

  • Parent Involvement Opportunities: Encourage participation in discussions and workshops about AI in education, fostering a collaborative approach.
  • Parental Support Resources: Provide resources and guidance to help parents support their children’s navigation of the AI-driven world, both academically and socially.
  • Ongoing Communication: Continuously seek feedback from parents and address their concerns throughout the implementation process.

In addition, parents are also concerned about:

  • Overreliance on AI
  • Exposure to Bias
  • Privacy and Security
  • Distinguishing AI-Generated Content
  • Cheating with AI
  • Long-Term Learning and Development Impacts

Proactively addressing these concerns with clear explanations, transparent communication, and a commitment to responsible AI use, help schools to maintain and build trust with families – and ensure a successful AI integration process.

Overcoming Resistance

As AI rapidly transforms the educational landscape, some educators may be resistant to embracing this technology in their classrooms. They may feel overwhelmed by the pace of change, worry about being replaced by machines, or simply prefer traditional teaching methods. However, engaging these teachers and encouraging them to experiment with AI is crucial for ensuring that students are prepared for the future. 

Here are some tips for overcoming resistance and creating a culture of AI adoption in your school:

  1. Address concerns head-on: Acknowledge teachers’ fears and concerns about AI, such as job security or the challenges of learning new technologies. Provide clear information about how AI is designed to enhance, not replace, human instruction and how it can actually make their jobs easier and more fulfilling.
  2. Start small: Encourage hesitant teachers to start with simple AI-powered tools, such as grammar checkers or adaptive learning platforms, rather than diving into more complex applications right away. As they become more comfortable with these tools, they can gradually explore more advanced AI technologies.
  3. Provide training and support: Offer professional development workshops, online courses, and one-on-one coaching to help teachers build their AI skills and confidence. Ensure that teachers have access to ongoing technical support and a network of peers they can turn to for advice and collaboration.
  4. Showcase success stories: Share examples of teachers who have successfully integrated AI into their classrooms and the positive impact it has had on student learning and engagement. Highlight how AI can help personalize instruction, save time on grading and lesson planning, and provide instant feedback to students.
  5. Emphasize the benefits for students: Remind teachers that AI is not just another passing trend, but a critical tool for preparing students for the jobs and challenges of the future. By embracing AI in the classroom, teachers can help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in an increasingly automated world.
  6. Foster a growth mindset: Encourage teachers to view AI as an opportunity for personal and professional growth, rather than a threat to their expertise. Emphasize that learning about AI is a journey and that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them along the way.
  7. Find your detractors: Actively seek out those who are most resistant to AI adoption in your school. Engage them in open and honest conversations to understand their concerns and reservations. Listen with empathy and an open mind to identify the root causes of their resistance, whether i’’s fear of change, lack of understanding, or philosophical objections. By taking the time to hear their perspectives and address their concerns head-on, you may be able to help them expand their views on AI. If you approach these conversations with patience, respect, and a willingness to find common ground, you have the potential to transform your detractors into your most vocal ambassadors for AI integration.
  8. Make it fun: Organize AI-themed hackathons, challenges, or game-based learning activities to get teachers excited about exploring AI in a low-stakes, enjoyable way. Encourage them to partner with students or colleagues to create their own AI projects or lesson plans.
  9. Provide incentives: Consider offering incentives, such as stipends, release time, or recognition awards, for teachers who actively engage with AI and share their learnings with others. This can help create a sense of momentum and enthusiasm around AI adoption in your school.
  10. Lead by example: As a school leader or instructional coach, model the use of AI in your own practice and share your experiences with teachers. Demonstrate how AI can be used to enhance communication, streamline administrative tasks, and support data-driven decision-making.
  11. Be patient and persistent: Remember that change takes time and that some teachers may need more support and encouragement than others. Don’t give up on resistant teachers, but continue to offer resources, guidance, and inspiration to help them see the value of AI in education.

By following these tips and creating a supportive, collaborative environment for AI exploration, you can help overcome resistance and empower all teachers to embrace the potential of artificial intelligence in the classroom.

Professional Writing in the Age of AI

No guide to AI in education would not be complete without touching on how writing is changing with the rise of AI. As stated earlier, AI-enhanced humans will replace non-AI-enhanced humans in this age of AI. This is true in nearly every sector and function. 

I firmly believe that writing will continue to be an important skill as clear writing reflects a clear mind. Still, in this era of AI, how professionals write is changing fundamentally, but not in the ways that most educators imagine. Five of 2024’s Pulitzer Prize finalists used AI to research, report, or write their submissions. However, AI did not replace human writers – it empowered them

Renowned AI researcher Ethan Mollick’s experience writing his book Co-Intelligence showcases the emerging human-AI partnership. As Mollick explains, “Whatever you are best at, you are very likely better than the best LLM at that same skill.” Top writers are still superior to AI, but AI can enhance their process in powerful ways.

Mollick used AI not to write the book itself, but to assist his own writing and research. When stuck on a challenging paragraph, he would prompt the AI to rewrite it in various styles, using the outputs as inspiration to find his path forward. He had the AI summarize technical papers to aid his understanding and retention. Early drafts were reviewed by AI “readers” to provide initial feedback on areas to simplify and clarify.

Human-AI co-writing

In this age of AI, writing is becoming a partnership. This form of human-AI co-writing has two modes:

  • Centaur work: A clear division of labor between writer and AI based on respective strengths. The human drives the overarching creative process while delegating specific tasks to the AI.
  • Cyborg work: Intimately intertwined collaboration where the line between human and AI contributions blurs. Writer and AI continuously trade off and build upon each other’s efforts.

As AI’s writing capabilities improve exponentially, co-writing – not full AI authorship – becomes the future. Professional writers will learn to wield AI as a powerful tool to augment their skills and streamline their workflow. 

Preparing future writers for AI-enhanced writing

Educators must prepare students for this collaborative dynamic. First, educators must ensure that students learn the proper mechanics of writing. Just as students must learn to manually add, subtract, multiply, and divide before using a calculator, students must learn to be adept writers before using AI to enhance their writing. 

Writing curricula should evolve to teach AI literacy – understanding what current AI can and cannot do, and best practices for human-AI co-writing. Students should experiment with AI writing tools to experience their potential firsthand. The goal is to develop the judgment to optimize human-AI synergy.

Harness the Power of AI in Education

It can be intimidating to start thinking about how to use AI in education. I hope this guide has helped ease your fears and motivated you to get started. When you’re ready, start by exploring our AI Curriculum Resources to get started. Or join the movement by launching an AI Club using our AI Club Toolkit (the toolkit was designed for students interested in starting an AI Club but can also be used by educators). The future of maximizing human potential through responsible and ethical AI integration is already here — it’s time to embrace it. 

How will you use AI to maximize your impact? 

Send me a message to let me know how you are using AI in education. As things continue to move exponentially, I will do my best to update this guide accordingly.

AI was used to provide feedback on this guide, was used to stimulate different ideas for how to rephrase certain sentences, and in some instances was used to assist in editing this guide.

Please forgive the wordiness and repetitiveness of this guide — given the exponential rate of change, I thought it was more important to move fast than to aim for perfection.

Published March 20, 2024; Updated April 9, 2024.