Article: 4 essential strategies to successfully implement generative AI in education

The Generative AI for Education Leaders Summit examines how generative AI is reshaping the landscape of education, offering unprecedented opportunities for innovation and transformation.

Ahead of the Summit, we spoke to Professor Romy Lawson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students), Flinders University and Professor James Adonopoulos, Academic Dean and Director, Kaplan Professional | Independent Higher Education Australia to identify the key strategies that institutions need to successfully implement generative AI in education.

Read on to gain Romy and James’ insights into:

  • The importance of collaboration and communication between people, departments and other institutions
  • Challenges and opportunities of integrating AI into your organisation
  • Understanding the ethical considerations of AI
  • Training and professional development to foster successful AI implementation

Leveraging collaboration and communication to successfully implement generative AI

Implementing AI in education requires a collaborative approach that involves different people and departments working together. To ensure alignment across all stakeholders, James proposed “to begin with a consultation process whereby internal stakeholders’ perspectives on AI inform the development of a position paper that conclusively and authoritatively conveys the organisation’s expectations of staff in this regard.”

James outlined the logistics that need to be discussed alongside the implementation of AI in an institution. “By unambiguously conveying the organisation’s AI ambitions, risk appetite and propensity for experimentation, staff will have an instructive compass that ensures they operate in accordance with the organisation’s strategic direction.”

Collaboration doesn't stop within an organisation; engaging with other institutions is essential. Generative AI is still in its infancy, and shared resources and knowledge can be leveraged when developed collaboratively to serve multi-faceted requirements. Romy Lawson underscored this idea, stating, “AI is not trusted by everyone and so in addition to declaring use of AI tools, we can support understanding for the wider population by explaining how and why AI has been used in practical examples.”

Overcoming the challenges and seizing the opportunities when implementing AI

Navigating the integration of generative AI into education unveils a spectrum of challenges and opportunities. Although significant possibilities emerge, there are hurdles that demand attention. Initial anxieties surrounding issues like plagiarism and cheating are gradually diminishing. However, it is imperative for educational leaders to perceive generative AI not as a threat but as a transformative opportunity. James explained, “My hope is that leaders increasingly recognise that generative AI isn’t a threat to be feared but an unprecedented opportunity to be leveraged.” James further advocated for a visionary approach. "Let’s use this once-in-a-generation technological revolution to reimagine every aspect of how we design and deliver education."

Recognising and minimising ethical risks

Implementing generative AI in education requires careful consideration of the ethical implications and thorough education of minimising ethical risks. Romy explained that “This education has to go beyond the technical aspects of how to operate the tools; beyond the critical thinking of how to formulate prompts to gain the best outcomes and how we analyse these outputs; it has to centre around the ethical practice of using AI. This ethical practice revolves around openness and transparency, declaring use as part of the process and not claiming the output as a product of an individual’s work.”

Ensuring transparency and openness in employing AI tools is not only essential for ethical practice but also plays a pivotal role in fostering trust. James echoed this sentiment, saying "Otherwise, we’re failing to equip our students with a skill essential to their future career which in my view is an ethically unconscionable proposition."

Strategies for effective training and professional development

Given the newness of generative AI, providing educators with the necessary training is essential. James emphasised that “It’s a developmental gap that will widen the longer that leaders wait to provide their educators with the requisite professional development, thereby rendering it much more difficult for their teams to catch up.” Short online courses, some of which are available for free, can be a cost-effective way to bridge this gap. Comprehensive programs are also available for institutions with more substantial resources.

Romy shared a similar perspective, noting that “AI is not trusted by everyone and so in addition to declaring use of AI tools, we can support understanding for the wider population by explaining how and why AI has been used in practical examples.”

The undeniable future of generative AI in education

Generative AI holds immense promise for education, but its successful integration requires collaboration, addressing challenges head on, and always keeping sight of ethical considerations. By promoting collaboration and communication, embracing transparency, and providing educators with the necessary training, the sector can harness the full potential of generative AI to create a transformative learning experience for students.

Join us at the Generative AI for Education Leaders Summit 2024 to hear more from Professor Romy Lawson, Professor James Adonopoulos and a host of other leaders working at the cutting edge of education and tech. Learn more.

To access the detailed conference program, download the brochure here.