Can HPE teachers use technologies such as ChatGPT to help ease workloads?

The conversation around ChatGPT being adopted and misused by students is currently a hot topic among the education community, but with ever-increasing workloads, could the emerging prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI) technology present an opportunity for health and physical education (HPE) teachers?

AI is a rapidly evolving technological resource that has and will continue to impact all areas of education and teaching, so its role must be thoroughly understood. If utilised, it must be done with a clear understanding of how it can be used effectively and ethically within an educator’s role and the overall teaching profession.

What is AI?

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines as AI as, “a machine-based system that can, for a given set of human-defined objectives, make predictions, recommendations, or decisions influencing real or virtual environments.

AI systems are designed to operate with varying levels of autonomy.” – (OECD, 2019). While AI computing has been around since the 1950s, it’s only been since the 2000’s that we’ve started seeing advances in the AI-related areas of computer vision, graphics processing and speech recognition technology (Mitchell and Brynjolfsson, 2017).

Thanks to films and television, often when we think of AI, we imagine some kind of hyper-intelligent artificially sentient being, set on destroying society as we know it. In 2023, AI has not evolved far enough to be anywhere near that point (thankfully).

At present, we are in an era of narrow AI which is a type of AI that is only able to do the single or focused task they were designed to do. Sometimes they perform these tasks with efficiency or effectiveness that can outperform humans, sometimes not. For example, Siri on your iPhone uses voice recognition and is powered by AI to locate and organise large amounts of information much faster than a human could. But, as we’ve all experienced, Siri doesn’t always get it right.

We highly recommended this read from the Australian Education Union (AEU) entitled, ‘Artificial intelligence, machine learning and why educators need to skill up now’ which explores the history of AI, and some of the important moral and governance issues surrounding AI technology and education.

Can teachers work with AI?

In short, yes – but perhaps not in the way you might imagine. AI cannot replace the critical teacher-student relationship, and it can’t improve student learning outcomes on its own. As educators find themselves with an ever-increasing load of administrative tasks to complete. This is an area AI may be able to assist with, but the innovation, content creation, personalisation, individualisation and adaptability of human teachers, can never be replaced by AI.

This article by Bernard Marr states, “AI can drive efficiency, personalisation and streamline admin tasks to allow teachers the time and freedom to provide understanding and adaptability—uniquely human capabilities where machines would struggle. By leveraging the best attributes of machines and teachers, the vision for AI in education is one where they work together for the best outcome for students.”

The latest research from McKinsey indicates that, “20 to 40 percent of current teacher hours are spent on activities that could be automated using existing technology. That translates into approximately 13 hours per week that teachers could redirect toward activities that lead to higher student outcomes and higher teacher satisfaction.” This suggests that existing technology could potentially help teachers reassign approximately 20 to 40 percent of their time to activities that support student learning – like teaching.

ACHPER Victoria General Manager, services Scott Bumpstead agrees that AI could be useful for teachers but recognises there may be limitations.

“While HPE educators could use AI to their advantage to help with planning, it’s vital to remain wary of content or activities which are not curriculum-aligned or best practice within our profession,” Scott said.

“Understanding and embracing new technologies should be encouraged across all schools, and the adaptation of AI could be considered as a new, developing, cutting-edge tool for teachers, but not relied upon as the sole source of truth.”

Before too long, AI will evolve and be integrated into teachers’ everyday toolkit, helping with planning and other tasks. But for now, our sentient PL team has put together a range of resources for F-10 and VCE to help ease HPE teacher’s workload. Check them out.