Hoogleraar onderwijseconomie Carla Haelermans geeft een keynote over AI op IPON 2024
Hoogleraar onderwijseconomie Carla Haelermans geeft een keynote over AI op IPON 2024

NOLAI at IPON - Part I

IPON 2024 took place on 28 and 29 February. The trade fair IPON is a national event in the field of educational innovation and ICT. For two days, halls in the Jaarbeurs Utrecht were filled with suppliers from the education technology sector, hosting a wide range of lectures, presentations, and workshops. NOLAI was also present, with Professor of Educational Economics and member of the Pedagogy and Didactics focus area at NOLAI, Carla Haelermans, giving the keynote speech 'Does AI make everything better?'.

Does AI make everything better? 

Technological development in education often leads to the expectation that it will make everything better. But does it? Carla's keynote speech revolved around this question. "Will AI make everything better in education? Not yet, and not everything, but AI does have the potential to bring a lot of improvement to education. However, the big promise that AI will solve everything for us will not be fulfilled any time soon. For that, it still lacks the context it needs to fully function and be used by everyone. We are not quite there yet, even though development is going tremendously fast." 

Hoogleraar onderwijseconomie Carla Haelermans geeft een keynote over AI op IPON 2024

AI as Magic 

So what exactly is AI? The definition of artificial intelligence has shifted over the years. Carla took her audience past Alan Turing's Turing Test, the coding machine Enigma, and the language program Prolog, through time to TomTom and Captcha. All, in their own time, considered artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, we know Siri, Alexa, Tesla, and ChatGPT. Today, AI revolves around neural networks, Large Language Models, Deep Learning Models and Transformer Models. Due to the hidden layer between input and output, AI sometimes seems like magic, but humans train these neural networks. This is also where the biggest risk of AI lies: it is biased by definition because we are.  

Hoogleraar onderwijseconomie Carla Haelermans geeft uitleg over Large Language Models in haar keynote over AI op IPON 2024

Implementing AI in Education 

AI is entering education. It is there, so we have to do something with it. In her keynote speech, Carla stressed that when implementing AI in education, it is essential to always keep the pedagogical-didactic goal in mind. Carla: "How can we implement AI in education in such a way that we benefit from it, whilst also ensuring that students are still learning something? And shouldn't we also teach about AI, how to use it, and its pitfalls? AI can disrupt education, but it can also assist it." 

Hoogleraar onderwijseconomie Carla Haelermans geeft uitleg over AI op IPON 2024

Results from Research 

The use of AI in the classroom is not always necessarily effective. Carla: "We know from research that computer-assisted learning has a small positive effect. We see this mostly in basic skills, with the effect greater in maths than in language. We can see that the effectiveness of AI depends on how it is implemented and the pedagogical-didactic goal. AI remains a means and not an end in itself." 

Hoogleraar onderwijseconomie Carla Haelermans geeft uitleg over het 6-lagenmodel van automatisering op IPON 2024

Who is in charge? 

In her keynote speech, Carla presented the 6-layer model of automation (developed by Inge Molenaar and Anne Horvers), which can be used to clarify the division of roles between teachers and AI. The model has six levels: from none to fully automated teaching. When we arrived at the explanation of the different levels, mobiles came out, and listeners enthusiastically took pictures of all the slides. But at the last two levels, those of high and full automation, the unease among the audience also increased. Handing over complete control to the AI? That clearly gave food for thought! 

Nationaal Onderwijslab AI

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Artificial intelligence (AI)