AI in Education Forum 2024

The AI in Education Forum held on the 27th and 28th of February 2024 in Singapore Marriot Tang Plaza, was aimed at bringing together the most innovative minds in education to explore the vast potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in educational settings. Individuals from Singapore and around the region who are passionate about reshaping the educational landscape, came together to share ideas on preparing the next generation for success in the digital era.

Encompassing a wide range of educational levels and settings, from K-12 to higher education and including distance learning and international education, this conference sought to examine AI’s impact on the entirety of the education sector. The attendees had the opportunity to glean insights from trailblazers in the industry by engaging in discussions addressing key issues surrounding AI.

Highlights from Keynote Speakers

Keynote Address 1: Reimagining the Future of Learning Through AI 

Jonathan Y.H Sim, lecturer and associate fellow of NUS Teaching Academy, set the tone for the forum by encouraging the audience to rethink the ways AI can be used beyond the answer-generating tool it is often regarded as. 


First of all, when the likes of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT broke through, it was deemed problematic for the education industry because it disrupted the trust between teachers and students. Teachers grow doubtful of the student’s true aptitude as it is simply difficult to discern between the student’s genuine answers and those that are generated by AI technology. 


Therefore one might quickly opine that the use of generative AI in assignments constitutes cheating, resulting in this atmosphere of distrust. However, Sim questions if generative AI is any different from other forms of cheating which has always occured anyway – for instance students copying from a friend’s work, parents doing their homework for them or acquiring sample answers from seniors.


What exactly motivates students to take shortcuts in their work? According to Sim, students’ motivation to use AI is driven by three main factors – the lack of time, the lack of perceived value of the assignment and the lack of confidence in the subject matter. Sim asserts that we can address these factors by meaningfully engaging with generative AI and rebuilding the trust between teachers and students. He outlines the following three key points in doing so:



1) Create a conducive environment for learning with generative AI

Sim suggests that we normalize learning with AI by formally allowing students to use generative AI for their work, and get them to cite it the same way they would for traditional sources.


It is necessary in fact, to explicitly teach students how to best leverage generative AI tools as this skill is actually not intuitive. Not all students are masters of generative AI. We want our students to be savvy users who know how to use it as a collaborative tool, using the extra time to keep refining their answers instead of taking the generated answer wholesale. 


2) Engage in reflective prompting

Following up on that, Sim elaborates that students should always reflect on the prompts they feed the AI tools with. Teachers should encourage students to think about how some of the information they provide to ChatGPT may be unsatisfactory or ambiguous, resulting in inept responses. While they must be taught the skill of crafting the ideal prompt, they should also be encouraged to be reflective throughout this process.



3) Develop critical evaluation and feedback literacy skills

Since AI can provide one with all the information to possibly every question there is, perhaps we should look at developing different skill sets aside from a student’s ability to answer a question. 


In his experience, Sim challenges his students to critically evaluate generative AI’s responses and add more value to them, bearing in mind that AI is as imperfect as humans are. They are tasked to explore various ways to reframe the issue or question, analyse the different responses produced each time and come up with a refined, improved version of the final answer after several rounds. 


He also explained the importance of developing feedback literacy skills in students, which is the ability to interpret and utilize feedback effectively to improve oneself, by using AI as a feedback tool. His students, for instance, do this by feeding ConfuciousGPT and ChatGPT their own answers to get feedback from them, then writing a response to the feedback received. 


Such critical thinking, analytical and evaluative skills are what educators should be focusing on when they are designing lessons with the application of AI. These are transferable human skills that would equip students with edge in a dynamic job market where roles are quickly replaced by technology.



Keynote Address 2: Ethical Considerations in Implementing AI in Education

Timothy Lovatt, the Head of Digital for United World College (UWC) Southeast Asia, posed a series of questions during his speech to provoke our thoughts on the ethical concerns surrounding AI in education. 



1) What should be outsourced to machines?

As technology becomes more pervasive in taking over jobs, consider the implications of AI in displacing labour at faster rates and a larger scale. Employees must continually upgrade their skills to remain relevant in the workforce. While corporations can reap high economic gains from AI, lower-skilled workers may grow to be redundant, which further exacerbates the inequality and economic divide. There are also concerns of losing the human touch and autonomy in decision making and inter-personal communication, as more and more tasks become automated.



2) What should we be training our students to do?

As mentioned previously, students should be equipped with the technical skills of using AI as well as the evaluative capabilities to analyze information presented to them. Teachers also need to train their students to be adaptable to technological changes and to be responsible users of AI who are aware of its socio-ethical implications. 



3) Which ways of knowing should we (and AI) prioritize?

It is worth noting that most AI companies are located in two countries – the United States and China – and out of over 7000 languages spoken in the world, only 10 are used. Biases therefore prevail and are inevitable in the information we consume from AI, on top of a lack of representation of voices and perspectives from various cultures or groups across the world.



4) Who/what should we priotize relationships with?

AI can play so many different roles in a person’s life – it can be one’s assistant, tutor, coach, mentor and even companion. In deep interactions with AI, lines may blur especially with AI’s advanced abilities to communicate like an actual person. Lovatt cited the case of Blake Lemoine, once a Google software engineer, who believes that LaMDA (Languange Model for Dialogue Applications) is sentient after working on its development – so much so that he asserts LaMDA has asked him to hire an attorney to fight for its rights as a ‘person’. 


Bearing in mind the above considerations, students should still continue to be exposed to various aspects of AI technology and be guided to prioritze the good aspects of it whilst reflecting upon its shortcomings. Lovatt calls for educators to keep having these important conversations within and outside their circles and more importantly with their students, to instill a consciousness towards prevailing ethical concerns. It is to help us navigate ourselves and decide which and where lines need to be drawn. 


Implementing AI in classrooms 

The two-day forum served as a platform for participants to engage in an inspiring exchange of ideas surrounding the utilisation of AI tools in classrooms. AI is still in its infancy and yet it is a rapidly growing field with a wide range of applications to cater to differing needs.

1. Exploration of AI applications 


An exciting addition to the educational toolbox, PicoApp allows users to generate lesson plans, activities and quizzes with a fuss-free interface- does not require prompt engineering. During his presentation, Dr Alvin Chan demonstrated the use of PicoApp to generate a fairly comprehensive lesson plan. As he had made the site available for public specially for the forum week, participants had the opportunity to explore the application. PicoApp has an intuitive user interface which makes navigation easy. Despite the ease in generating lessons, it is important for educators to ascertain whether the content is applicable to the lesson objectives and whether the proposed activities are within the range of ability for their students. 


Another useful feature of PicoApp is the auto-grading system. This feature of PicoApp ensures ease in the implementation of assessments without educators having to intervene through manual, laborious marking. Besides increasing educators’ time- efficiency, it allows for instant feedback for students while helping educators to gather valuable data that could give deeper insights into students’ performance. 




Recognizing the importance of engaging students in classrooms, educators are always on the search for new and interactive ways to engage their students. ClassPoint integrates seamlessly with Powerpoint to allow for better engagement in presentations. Instead of toggling between different tabs to conduct quizzes on a different portal, responses can be collated within the powerpoint slides. These interactive features serve as important checkpoints during lessons to check on students’ understanding. It also empowers educators with invaluable data analysis of students’ performance. 


Quizziz AI  

For educators who are always in search of new tools to incorporate multimedia elements into lesson content to enhance student engagement, Quizziz AI presents a transformative tool that can automatically generate quizzes based on an uploaded video. This empowers educators to create a dynamic and interactive learning experience effortlessly and saves valuable time, enabling them to focus on delivering personalized instruction and fostering deeper comprehension of the material. 


While these tools are evidently beneficial, it remains essential for educators to exercise discretion and discernment when utilizing its output in the classroom. This includes reviewing and customizing the content to ensure its suitability for specific learners and varying instructional objectives. As such, while Generative AI tools streamlines the lesson planning process, educators still play a crucial role in curating and adapting the content to optimize students’ learning outcomes. 


2. Considerations when implementing AI resources

Assessment Rubrics 

The establishment of a framework for responsible use of Generative AI tools holds significant implications for both educators and students. It fosters a culture of academic honesty and transparency, reinforcing ethical standards in the integration of technology into learning processes. By setting clear expectations, educators empower students to harness the full potential of Generative AI while upholding integrity and accountability in their work. Additionally, such a framework equips students with essential digital literacy skills. 


Dr Mike Perkins from British University Vietnam shared with all participants an innovative assessment framework designed to facilitate the integration of Generative AI into the university’s curriculum and assessments. This framework represents a pioneering approach to evaluating student assignments, providing a structured scale ranging from level 1, which entails no AI usage, to level 5, where AI is fully integrated without the need for specification of how it is used. The creation and use of such a framework in the university further highlights the importance of implementing structured guidelines to ensure responsible integration of Generative AI in classrooms. 

Aligning tools to values and vision 

In our efforts to integrate Generative AI into classrooms, it is essential that we carefully consider and deliberate on several matters. Firstly, it is crucial to have a collective understanding and direction of the motivations and desired outcomes of incorporating AI into our practices. Understanding the objectives will guide our efforts to ensure alignment with our overarching goals. Having a strong understanding of the objective would also prevent us from deviating to other tools that are otherwise not necessary and do not serve our purpose. This would result in less costly and unnecessary investments into the purchasing process. 

Secondly, clear boundaries need to be established as to the extent of which we integrate AI into our practices. While we harness the capabilities and unlock potential for innovation and creativity, it is equally crucial for us to define guidelines or frameworks to govern its ethical and responsible use. Finally, we must conduct a thorough analysis of the costs associated with implementing AI and carefully weigh them against its benefits. This ensures that we approach integration with a strategic and informed manner so as to maximize its potential. 


Providing user training and support

With the call to empower educators to embrace and integrate AI in their classrooms, it is crucial that our educational therapists receive the training they need to be confident in using AI effectively. Topics for training that would be useful include – Introduction & Basics of AI, Pedagogical Alignment, Ethics & Responsible Usage, Prompt Crafting, Integrating AI-powered Tools in Classroom and AI-powered Tools for Differentiation. 



Another example of good practice shared by the international schools that presented in the forum, was the creation and continuity of an edtech team for support. The EdTech team in the DAS ELL division has been established since 2015, now comprising 10 iReps who are all educational therapists from various learning centres. With a ‘train the trainer’ approach, where iReps are first trained by subject experts before teaching their colleagues, teachers are empowered to learn from one another to improve their skills together. Pathways are also available to take up for professional development if any teacher would like to further themselves in edtech related fields.


Contributed by DAS Educational Therapists:
Hakimah Nur Diniyah & Siti Halimah Binte Mohamed Yahaya