How AI can help schools address the teacher shortage

Schools across the globe are struggling to find enough teachers.

In the United States, for example, the shortage is most acute in rural and urban areas. The problem is only expected to get worse as more baby boomers retire.

While in Australian teachers are leaving the profession in record numbers. Monash University recently surveyed 2,444 Australian primary and secondary school teachers, and found 59 percent said they intended to leave the profession.

So how can AI help education manage this shortage, while ensuring students get the assistance they need? In a number of ways.

First, AI can be used to create personalized learning experiences for students. By using data from each student’s performance, AI-powered programs can tailor content and assignments to each individual. This frees up teachers to work with small groups or one-on-one, and also allows them to focus on more complex concepts with students who are struggling.

Second, AI can be used to automate administrative tasks. For example, AI can be used to help grade essays, provide feedback on student work or assist in writing individual student reports. This frees up teachers’ time so they can focus on more important tasks, like lesson planning and professional development.

Third, AI can be used to create virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences that immerse students in the material they are learning. These experiences can be used to supplement traditional instruction or to provide additional support for students who need it.

Fourth, AI can be used by students to help them prepare for lessons, by summarizing and even simplifying or translating information they need to read so it is easier for them to comprehend and take away major points. This has particular value for students whose first language isn’t english and for those who struggle with learning disabilities that make complex texts more difficult to comprehend quickly.

Fifth, AI can be used to monitor students’ social media activity and flag potentially concerning behavior by them, or by the people they are interacting with. This can help schools prevent bullying, cyberbullying, and other social media-related issues.

Sixth, AI can be used to provide targeted professional development for teachers. By analyzing data from student performance, AI can identify areas where teachers need more support. This targeted professional development can help teachers improve their practice and better meet the needs of their students. AI can also be used to summarize the materials that teachers are required to review and understand in order to develop lesson plans and manage their classrooms, saving them valuable time that they can use to focus on students or improving work/life balance.

Finally, giving teachers and students access to use and apply AI in the classroom will help our students prepare for the world of work in the future, where they will be expected to work alongside ‘digital staff’ to jointly achieve outcomes. Preparing students today for AI-assisted workplaces tomorrow is critical for future economic and social success.

In summary, AI is not a silver bullet for the teacher shortage. But it can be a powerful tool assisting and support both teachers and students to improve their performance. By leveraging AI, schools can create more personalized and effective learning experiences for all and help train the workforce we will need in the future.

We’re already exploring some of the opportunities for AI in education with partners and via cohosting the EdgyTech podcast.

We welcome additional conversations on this topic.