School teachers, principals warned over the usage of AI for school reports and newsletters

School teachers, principals warned over the usage of AI for school reports and newsletters

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) writing tools has made writing work faster and easier. Still, education authorities in Victoria have sounded the alarm over the “overuse” of these tools and even directed teachers and school principals to refrain from using them in writing their school reports and creating newsletters, according to a report from The Age.

Under the Education Department’s new policy on the controversial technology being used in more and more educational institutions in the state, families will also be asked to opt their children in or out of any classroom learning that uses the rapidly evolving technology and might require feeding personal information about the student into an AI tool.

“Use or not to use?”: The pitfalls of AI in education

Earlier, the country’s education ministers turned the green light to using AI in all schools in Australia. Even the Victoria government issued guidelines and even advised school administrators and educators on how to use these powerful generative tools safely. However, the government sector has been lagging when it comes to the usage of this technology, compared to Catholic-run educational institutions, which completely embraced these tools in 2023, according to The Age report.

But education authorities and advocates have always been wary about the inappropriate use – and dangers – associated with the technology. Nevertheless, the Victoria Education Department has issued comprehensive advice to avoid common dangers of AI such as cyberbullying, deep-fake pornography, privacy violations, racism, misogyny, and other forms of online hate, stated The Age report.

Meanwhile, teachers have been warned not to replace their professional judgment with AI-aided tools in assessing, evaluating, or reporting students. Principals and school administrators have also been advised to maintain their “authentic voice,” and not to depend heavily on AI-generated materials in communicating with the school community.

Also, under the new rule, all materials created using this sophisticated technology should be properly labelled.

Parents should be proactively supervising their children over the use of AI

On the other hand, Gail McHardy, Parents Victoria’s chief executive, wants the opt-in process for AI in classes to be “very clear and in plain language” to avoid “misunderstandings.” She also said that the policy on maintaining authentic learning relationships is critically important.

McHardy also urges the government and the education department to be careful with the use of innovations like AI because they might have unintended consequences, and make the policy more flexible as technology continues to evolve.

“Some parents are fully aware this was all coming when the federal education minister made announcements late last year, but how it will work at the school level will all depend on how schools engage with it,” McHardy said.

Meanwhile, an Education Department spokesperson said there are strict guidelines in place to protect privacy and data and provide advice to schools to ensure academic integrity, specifically the “creation of biased or inaccurate content, misuse of sensitive or confidential information and the use of generative AI for inappropriate purposes.”