Artificial Intelligence, Student Intelligence, and Equity with Varun Arora | The LP: EP 5

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We are in an era where excitement, fear, promise, and paranoia about the capabilities of artificial intelligence are a part of everyday conversation in our society as we are steadily integrating AI into essential elements of our lives. What does this mean for how we teach, learn, and do school? Will the inequities that exist in analog instruction continue to improve or worsen as digital technologies for teaching and learning evolve? Varun Arora invites us to explore opportunities to guide AI development in a manner that enhances teacher ownership of equitable instruction, instead of replacing or negating it, in his book Artificial Intelligence in Schools: A Guide for Teachers, Administrators, and Technology Leaders.

Key Takeaways

  • The lag of the public school system, plus the fast evolution of AI, makes it hard for educators to find ownership and voice during these advances, but it’s important that we fight for it. Otherwise, more power in our profession is lost.
  • Great teachers are great pattern recognizers. So is great AI. How can great teachers use their pattern recognition skills to direct fruitful outcomes from AI’s pattern recognition?
  • AI technology, just like anything else a human creates, like a language, a building, a policy, or a practice, reflects culture and bias. This is not talked about enough and can have serious implications on education as AI becomes more prevalent.
  • Random Access Memory, or RAM, represents the amount of data readily accessible in an operating and multi-tasking computer. AI in the classroom, like a good pre-AI curriculum, is supposed to expand and free up the RAM in a teacher’s mind so that recalling and acting on best practices becomes easier to concentrate on. 
  • All of these considerations require a decentralization of knowledge, ownership, and training with Education-related AI in order to make sure AI serves the purpose of amplifying organic human teaching and learning experiences instead of diluting, polluting, or substituting them. With folks like Varun leading the charge, I look forward to this process.
Varun Arora
Varun Arora
Varun Arora
CEO of OpenCurriculum and Author of Artificial Intelligence in Schools: A Guide for Teachers, Administrators, and Technology

About Varun Arora

Varun Arora is the CEO of the education technology company OpenCurriculum, which uses expert systems and NLP technologies to help K-12 teachers design pedagogically effective curriculum and instruction, using research and evidence from classrooms around the world, and the author of Artificial Intelligence in Schools: A Guide for Teachers, Administrators, and Technology.

About The LP: Literature in Practice

UnboundEd's goal is to instill the GLEAM™ (Grade-Level, Engaging, Affirming, and Meaningful) instructional framework into classrooms across the nation with professional development, curated programs, and now with a brand new podcast series, The LP: Literature in Practice. Host Brandon White interviews the authors of today’s thought-provoking educational literature and connects the text to GLEAM.

About Brandon White

Brandon White is a former middle school ELA teacher and Restorative Practices educator for the Rochester City School District. He has worked for seven years as a servant leader intern and site coordinator for Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Summer Literacy Programs in Rochester. He has also advocated for these practices through his participation in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Teacher Advisory Council and through providing professional development at BMGF-sponsored Elevate and Celebrate Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) Conferences.


Episode Extras

Purchase the book



Curriculum: OpenCurriculum by CEO Varun Arora
Article: We Gave ChatGPT 5 Common Teaching Tasks. Here’s How Teachers Say It Did by EdWeek
Database: EdSurge Product Index by EdSurge
Report: AI and Education: guidance for policy-makers by UNESCO
Video: Neuroscience, AI and the Future of Education by Scott Bolland
Book: Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code by Ruja Benjamin