How can AI be leveraged to enhance learning in schools?

New research article highlights three tips

In light of new AI (artificial intelligence) technologies such as ChatGPT affecting education, Louis Volante, affiliated professorial fellow at UNU-MERIT, co-authored a recent article offering educators research-informed pathways on how to harness AI to promote research, writing and critical thinking skills in secondary schools.

In the research article “Leveraging AI to enhance learning,” Volante and his two co-authors Christopher DeLuca and Don A. Klinger acknowledge the inevitable threat of AI to academic integrity due to the difficulty of identifying ChatGPT plagiarism, among other challenges. However, their view is that we must consider how to integrate these applications in an ethically and educationally defensible manner – and that AI can actually help spur long-overdue innovations in how students think about written work.

Pointing to a study suggesting that texts from ChatGPT and other AI applications are prone to factual errors and distortions, Volante, DeLuca and Klinger explain how use of these technologies can in fact present an opportunity for teachers to help students further develop their research literacy skills. Specifically, the authors propose that teachers use the Ideas, Connections, Extensions (ICE) model (Fostaty-Young & Wilson, 1995) as a way to formatively assess and build on work generated by ChatGPT. (The ICE model shows how student learning develops – see Figure 1 below.)

 This figure illustrates how ICE maps onto the six levels of cognition in Bloom’s taxonomy. [Source: ‘Leveraging AI to enhance learning’]

In this vein, the authors put forth a few tips for how teachers can help students work with AI to their own educative benefit:

1.  Understanding ideas: When students engage with AI-generated output, they should confirm all facts from multiple sources, thereby enhancing research skills as well was capability to interpret facts and figures.

2.  Making connections: As AI-generated text is often uniform, without much variety in sentence-length or complexity of word choice, students can learn to develop their own rubrics for judging the written quality of AI outputs – and, in turn, enhancing them by deepening connections between ideas within the text as well as relating those ideas to their own lives and experiences.

3.  Creating extensions: The final step is for students to go beyond polishing and refining AI-generated text and to layer it with “critical, creative and higher-order thinking.” This means taking the ideas generated by AI and broadening them, coming up with alternatives, or translating them into new points of action altogether – which ultimately results in deeper learning.



Read the full publication here to learn more about how education systems can use AI in new types of learning exercises. As the article states:

If students are going to use AI language models, and they undoubtedly will (and are), then we need to point out the shortcomings of these applications and leverage them, where possible, to promote deeper learning. A just-say-no approach will not suffice. We need to confront this new elephant in our schools and turn it into a teaching and learning opportunity.

The research article ‘Leveraging AI to enhance learning’ was published on 28 August 2023 by Phi Delta Kappan and written by Louis Volante, Christopher DeLuca, and Don A. Klinger.

Prof. Louis Volante is an affiliated professorial fellow at UNU-MERIT and a full professor in Education Governance at Brock University.