Exploring AI and Authenticity in Education | Trafalgar Castle School
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March 13, 2024

Exploring AI and Authenticity in Education

Megan McLeod

Over the past year, Trafalgar Castle School has noted the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recognizing the impact AI would have on everyday processes, Trafalgar has made it a top priority to introduce various forms of AI technology into its education model. This initiative began with the development of an internal committee composed of faculty and staff dedicated to understanding the diverse uses and implications of AI so that they are better equipped to pass this understanding on to the student body. 

Trafalgar’s Dean of Academics, Laurie Kuchirka, described the team’s goal as “ensuring consistency in our whole-school approach, particularly around bias and ethical use, but also in how we leverage AI tools to support our workflow.” With this approach in mind, teachers have dove headfirst into AI education and have begun to see the benefits of incorporating it into their curriculum.

Bailey Coyle, an English and Social Sciences teacher at Trafalgar, believes that AI offers a wide range of opportunities for students to expand how they learn. The technology “helps students to build their own opinions and interpretations of texts by having one-on-one ‘conversations’ with AI tools that let them engage in discourse in a personalized and responsive way.” She also notes that “AI is not a barrier to student thinking, but when used appropriately, can instead help to foster it.” This tailored approach to learning through the employment of AI challenges students in an exciting new way and supports Trafalgar in providing each student with individualized educational opportunities. However, while AI provides these new avenues of education, its integration is accepted only after careful consideration from both faculty and students.

On the artistic side of education, Studio Art, Photography and Design Thinking teacher Sam Welbourn discusses how she and her students navigate the use of AI hand in hand, employing a healthy amount of optimism and critical thinking. From a practical lens, Welbourn remarks on how her students are actively expanding their understanding of how AI can support the creative process: “These tools offer tailored recommendations, enabling students to experiment with compositions, colour palettes, and visual elements quickly. We have used this technology for storyboarding, streamlining narrative visualization, and allowing artists to sequence scenes and refine storytelling techniques.” The integration of AI in such art forms expands the students’ options for learning, as well as their understanding of the capabilities of artificial intelligence. In this vein, students have begun to ask: how much AI is too much?

Welbourn’s students are keenly aware of the ethical implications of AI-generated art and how these readily available programs may lead to an influx in the influence of our subconscious: “Despite the efficiency and innovation that AI brings, there is a hesitation of relinquishing too much creative control and a desire to preserve unique human artistic expression. As such, students are cautiously exploring these tools while using  critical thinking as they learn more about the role AI plays in their own creative process.”

This thought was clearly presented by our students and has brought forward a question that Trafalgar’s internal committee continues to explore. The committee is not only examining how AI can aid in our approach to education but also how this technology might sacrifice authentic thought and creation. This tied back to the committee’s initial intention of exploring the ethical implications of AI in the education system. Welbourn states that her students “have expressed that their goal is to strive to maintain a balance between leveraging [AI’s] capabilities and preserving the uniqueness of human thought and creativity,” and the committee is determined to support them.

As Trafalgar Castle School’s AI Committee continues to employ artificial intelligence to expand learning opportunities for its students, it also looks to its students for the answers they desire and the ways in which their authentic thoughts can be preserved. Trafalgar plans to tackle the integration of artificial intelligence both into the school and into society.

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