Teachers and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Confronting Challenges to the Future of AI in the Classroom

ai teachers technology Jan 20, 2024

By Dr. Susan Neimand

Business and technology are thrilled with artificial intelligence (AI) and its prospectives.  It saves time.  It can produce rote work while using human intelligence to conduct tasks that require problem-solving and analytic skills.  It seems that the only community that is not as enthusiastic about AI is the educational community.

Education Week has written numerous articles about AI and schools. To cite merely a few: Can AI Predict Student Engagement (May 6, 2019); Is AI the Future of Education (August 21, 2017); Will Artificial Intelligence Help Teachers- or Replace Them (April 28, 2023); Three Reasons to Be Skeptical of AI in Schools (February 12, 2020); and Most Teachers are Not Using AI. Here’s Why (January 8, 2024).

As an educator with almost 50 years of experience and the bulk of working directly with teachers and providing professional development, one must understand the nature of teachers to predict the future of AI in the classroom.

First and foremost, teachers enter the profession because of the desire and passion for assisting students in growing, learning, and self-actualizing.  They yearn to get to know the students and to gain their trust.  They want to assist students in developing skills so that students can note their growth and learning.  They want students to experience authentic learning to develop their minds.  As John Dewey wrote, “School is the life of the child,” and not preparation for an unknown job in their future.  While AI can grade assessments faster than teachers and provide remediation more quickly, teachers want to know students’ areas of weakness.  They want to understand what the student’s brain cannot master and help them with brain-based information to address weaknesses in the present and for future learning. 

Second, teachers may experience fear of AI just as they did with technology in general when it became vogue.  Will AI supplant me? How much computer knowledge do I have to have to use AI effectively?  Who will provide that learning?  Are my students more capable than I am of using AI and, therefore, am I a dinosaur?  How does AI fit into the technology plan of my school and/or my school district?  If I use AI, am I adhering to policy? 

Third, where are AI resources found?  And who will bear their costs?  While the children of attorneys and business owners may have heard of AI, can the same be said of children whose parents are laborers?  Will wealthy schools be able to provide the resources for AI while lower SES schools cannot?  Will the inclusion of technology in the classroom exacerbate the educational divide between students in varying socioeconomic classes?  Teachers are concerned with equity and inclusion, whereas AI isn’t.

Fourth, how do I balance accountability with AI?  Since the 1990s, teachers have had to show effective teaching and student mastery of curriculum through testing.  In Florida, teacher benefits are tied to students’ scores on standardized tests.  Will AI sufficiently provide information on student mastery and prepare them for testing accountability?

Fifth, the news reports AI systems are used in questionable and fallacious ways.  For example, it was reported that the legal cases used to bolster a prosecutor’s arguments were indeed artificial and didn’t exist.  Photos and statements generated by AI must be assessed for their veracity; indeed, they are false.  Teachers, therefore, cannot rely on AI for truth, and in understanding that their students are still in various developmental stages, they cannot be sure that students can distinguish between authentic and contrived information.  This would require teachers to double down on their guidance in supporting students’ ability to determine the accuracy of information.  Since these are lessons in conducting research, determining AI accuracy may be outside teachers' purview and skill set.

Finally, there is the question of classroom management for teachers.  How do I manage a classroom and support students’ positive behaviors when each presumably does something different in the AI world and each needs assistance?  Classroom management and differentiating learning is quite a challenge in and of itself.  Adding a layer of questionable resources makes this challenge even more challenging.

In the final analysis, AI should become merely another tool and not be touted as the “be-all and end-all” in education.  Yes, it can assist students in collecting and classifying data, but the analysis and recommendations must come from the student’s mind to ensure their mind’s growth.  Yes, it can provide feedback and tutorials, but teachers want to understand how each student’s brain constructs knowledge.  With this information, teachers can teach aligned with students’ learning profiles to ensure and embed knowledge.

Since AI is a “black box” that omits teachers from the learning processes, an AI individualized report on each student might support teachers.  One can only hope that as the teaching corps becomes more technologically skilled and AI becomes more refined, these two blocs might meet in the best interest of student learning.



Dr. Susan Neimand has been a professional educator for almost 50 years.  She is the retired dean of Miami Dade College School of Education which she led for 14 years.  Dr. Neimand served as a P-12 school principal for 20 years, taught every grade level from 4-year-olds through doctoral students, instructed preservice and in-service teachers for 15 years at two institutions of higher education, guided more than 25 doctoral students as a dissertation editor, and developed significant and extensive curriculum, including a complete baccalaureate program in teacher preparation and an alternative certification program framed by cognitive neuroscience. She has written and been awarded millions of dollars in grants to support the work of her institutions, conducted numerous workshops and presentations, and served as an evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). Dr. Neimand has published articles and has served on local, statewide, and national committees, including Miami’s Children Trust, for over eight years.  Her areas of interest are cognitive neuroscience and learning, transformative pedagogy, and transformational leadership.  She is proud to work as an educational consultant at Learning One to One.


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