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Embracing AI in NZ: Transforming the Educational Landscape

AI can transform the educational system by tailoring lessons to each individual and offering constructive feedback in real-time. Alex Sims, an Associate Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Auckland, shared his views on the increasing use of artificial intelligence among students.

Some schools have taken steps to identify bot-written work as AI-driven technology becomes more widespread and open-access technologies allow students to employ bots to help with tasks. Despite this, Sims thinks AI technology can help teachers in many ways, especially by enabling them to provide pupils with more tailored responses to their work.

Students with dyslexia or learning English as a second language may have difficulty articulating their thoughts, leading to lower grades. He notes that tests often prioritise writing skills over content mastery and predicts the eventual elimination of essay-based grading, levelling the playing field for students who struggle to express themselves.

Sims suggests that AI can aid academics in providing personalised feedback to students amidst a large volume of assignments. With hundreds of assignments to grade, academics can use AI to provide students with a richer array of comments tailored specifically to them. “Instead of hiring someone who doesn’t understand the material but can write about it well, we can use automated systems that outperform human writers.”

While many in academia are eager to embrace AI, Sims recognises that some may struggle to adjust. But she thinks that AI will help teachers tailor their lessons to the specific needs of each pupil.

Furthermore, several classes have already begun integrating AI-enabled generative tools into their curriculums, allowing students to verify and analyse the answers produced by the bots. As the use of AI to create material grows more commonplace, though, plagiarism detection software has begun including such checks.

Plagiarism detection software was employed in New Zealand’s educational institutions, but professors question its reliability. Sims argues that as AI develops, so too must plagiarism detection software if it is to identify AI-generated work correctly.

As a result of the rise of AI-enabled generative tools, a growing number of New Zealand professors have advocated for reforming the current system of university-wide evaluations. Chris Whelan, the Executive Director of Institutions New Zealand, thinks that schools and institutions should rethink their approaches to student evaluation.

The University of Auckland Senior Lecturer Paul Geertsema provided a similar response. He agreed that universities should reconsider how they currently use essays as a means of assessment. Students’ essay requirements should be rethought. These algorithms can produce fantastic articles on most subjects. Therefore, the education sector needs to re-evaluate what it is we want people to be able to achieve.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has gained widespread attention worldwide in recent years. As research and development into AI continue, the scope of its application is expanding to include additional fields and sectors. Some nations have begun to see how AI is altering traditional business models.

That has become one reason why the University of the Philippines Mindanao and the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) created an education programme about AI and its many potential uses. The real potential of AI is now being employed in various markets, and it is being used in a variety of settings. Consequently, corporations and institutions in the Philippines are beginning to recognise its value.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s National Research and Innovation Agency recognises the excellent potential of artificial intelligence technology for assessing and making sense of external data. This can make drawing valuable conclusions and progress towards targeted goals easier.

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