Article: Transformative trends – how generative AI is reshaping assessments, learning, and curriculum

By Olivia Baillie

In the lead-up to the Generative AI for Education Leaders Summit 2024, we asked some of the presenters to unpack the key benefits and exciting possibilities from integrating generative AI into education. From assessments to learning outcomes to staff development to curriculum planning, the insights from these education leaders shed light on the transformative potential of generative AI in education.

Read on for insights from:

  • Professor Simon Bedford, Pro Vice -Chancellor (Learning Futures), Western Sydney University
  • Matthew Esterman, Director, Innovation and Partnerships, Our Lady of Mercy College
  • Professor Steven Warburton, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education Innovation), University of Newcastle
  • Associate Professor Danny Liu, Associate Professor (Education Focused), University of Sydney
  • Sharon Foster, Executive Director, Curriculum, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority


Generative AI plays a pivotal role in transforming assessments, benefitting both educators and students. Associate Professor Danny Liu, Associate Professor (Education Focused), University of Sydney highlights some of the key advantages, explaining that educators can leverage AI's creativity to design diverse and authentic assessments. Additionally, AI aids in developing supporting resources like exemplars and rubrics, enhancing feedback accessibility and relevance, ultimately saving time.

“For educators, generative AI can help with assessment and feedback design and delivery. AI is quite good at being creative, so it can help us think of different ways to assess learning outcomes, to design authentic assessments. AI can also help us draft supporting resources for assessments such as exemplars, rubrics, and guides, that will help students better understand the requirements. AI can also help us improve the feedback that we give to students, making feedback more accessible and relevant whilst saving us time.”

For students, interacting with generative AI prepares them for its ubiquity in future workplaces, emphasising productive and responsible use in assessments.

“For students, generative AI will be a ubiquitous part of their working lives, so the key benefit of using generative AI for assessments is that they learn to work with it productively and responsibly. This looks different in different disciplines, but what is becoming clear is that since we can’t ‘AI-proof’ assignments, and AI will be embedded in many platforms that we use, having students engage with AI in the process of completing assessments will be very valuable. We need to design assessments where students are encouraged and supported to use generative AI in authentic ways. Of course, we also need other assessments that confirm students have achieved learning outcomes, especially at a program level, but the majority of assessments should be authentic and motivating – and these days, this largely means involving AI.”


Generative AI significantly impacts learning, providing personalised support and feedback to cater to individual student needs. Professor Simon Bedford, Pro Vice -Chancellor (Learning Futures), Western Sydney University emphasises its role in adapting content, recommending resources, and modifying teaching methods. AI-driven tools, such as simulations and virtual reality, contribute to better engagement and assessment for learning, supporting diversity, equity, and accessibility in higher education.

“Generative AI can adapt to individual student learning needs, providing personalised support and feedback for each student. It can tailor university educational content, recommend resources, and even modify teaching pedagogies to suit individual requirements – which is paramount for supporting diversity, equity and accessibility (LSES, FiF, and ATSI) that is a growth market in Higher Education. In addition, and with respect to supporting recruitment – we have better retention through AI-driven tools that can create interactive learning environments, such as simulations and virtual reality, enhancing engagement, and assessment for learning. Also, translation and linguistic support for international students.”


Generative AI offers transformative possibilities for staff and educators. Professor Bedford envisions AI accelerating professional learning, fostering creativity, and co-creating original content with students. He explains that “It can also revolutionise how we develop our staff. Generative AI in professional learning can help them accelerate their exploration and creativity, spark curiosity, and suggest new ideas and ways of teaching.

Matthew Esterman, Director of Innovation and Partnerships, Our Lady of Mercy College highlights the potential to redefine the teacher's role by minimising administrative burdens and focusing on meaningful interactions with students, all supported by AI. “The most exciting possibility is that we can truly rethink the role of the teacher in the rest of the 21st century. What might we achieve if we aren’t as bogged down with administration, with data collection and analysis, with generating documents, and can redirect that creativity and energy into really knowing our students (with AI assistance), with giving them the best human experience possible? We can begin to dismantle some of the artificial structures we have placed on and around humans and focus on what students need from us when we’re together as a learning community. We need to be brave enough to do it before students surround themselves with AI assistants for every aspect of learning and teaching.”

Professor Steven Warburton, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education Innovation), University of Newcastle emphasises the importance of a human-centered AI design paradigm. “We are deep into the 'possibilities stage' of using generative AI, and this has generated both anxiety and excitement across the higher education sector. As we move forward, we need to reduce the anxiety and find ways to amplify the benefits. From my perspective, human-centred AI is the design paradigm that does this. In other words, we need to focus on enhancing human capabilities. When I apply human-centred AI to learning and teaching, I see a number of different areas where generative AI can add incredible value.”


Australia is updating its curriculum to embrace the benefits of Generative AI. Sharon Foster, Executive Director of Curriculum, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, emphasises the opportunity to teach young Australians about AI's fundamentals and promote responsible and ethical usage. She explains that integrating generative AI concepts into the curriculum fosters critical thinking, creativity, ethical reasoning, and empathy, preparing students for the future.

“Artificial intelligence in the context of the Australian Curriculum V 9.0 provides an opportunity to explore how young Australians gain essential knowledge of what AI is, how it works, and how to be responsible and ethical designers and users of AI systems. By incorporating a whole school approach to learning about generative AI, the risks and challenges of and its likely effect on individuals and society can be explored. Students need opportunities to develop critical thinking, creativity, ethical reasoning and empathy as part of a holistic education. Students have the opportunity to consider how using generative AI systems can lead to innovation, enterprise and the creation of preferred futures. There should be opportunity, access and equity for everyone to use and design AI solutions that bring benefits to all members of the community.”


As we navigate the evolving landscape of education technology, the insights shared by these experts underscore the need to embrace generative AI thoughtfully, focusing on its potential to enhance human capabilities and prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the future workforce.

Join us at the Generative AI for Education Leaders Summit 2024 to hear more from Professor Steven Warburton, Professor Simon Bedford, Associate Professor Danny Liu, Sharon Foster, Matthew Esterman 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.