Crafting the Future Classroom: AI, Agency, and the Art of Prompt Engineering 

We’re at the heart of a transformative shift in education, one in which emerging technologies redefine the essential skills required for our students’ future success daily. It’s an exciting topic, and one covered in depth at the 2024 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC). 

At the conference, I had the privilege of leading a session on the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), student agency, and how educators can leverage AI to enhance student agency and personalize learning.  

The core of that discussion was the intersection of student agency and AI. Student agency—the capability of students to make choices and take control of their learning experiences—is vital for creating engaging and effective educational environments. AI amplifies student agency by allowing students to navigate their educational journeys with greater autonomy and tailored support. 

AI in the Classroom: Responsible and Personalizing Learning with AI 

AI in the education space isn’t just about automation; AI is a powerful way to make learning more personal and give students more say in how they learn.  

In education, AI can provide students with real-time, tailored feedback on their work that fosters motivation and engagement — like giving each student their own coach who can provide guidance on what needs improvement while keeping them pumped up to learn more.  

Plus, AI enables the co-creation of learning experiences, empowering students to take an active role in shaping their educational tools and environments.    

However, incorporating AI into educational practices requires a nuanced approach and careful consideration of ethical and safety concerns — particularly regarding data privacy and bias mitigation.   

Algorithmic bias is a prime example of what we as educators need to pay attention to. Algorithmic bias is when computer systems make systematic and repeatable errors that create unfair outcomes, such as privileging one group of users over others. Such bias can stem from various sources, including the data used to train the algorithm, the algorithm’s design and implementation, or the interpretive frameworks applied to its output.  

In the context of education, algorithmic bias might manifest in ways that affect the personalization of learning content — potentially disadvantaging groups of students based on factors including race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Addressing algorithmic bias is crucial to ensure that AI technologies positively contribute to educational environments, promoting equity and fairness in personalized learning experiences.  

To address algorithmic bias, educators must carefully evaluate AI-generated content — remaining mindful of the bias they may encounter in the same ways they might be mindful of their own biases. Professional learning communities and departmental teams can also collaborate on leveraging AI tools successfully and analyzing AI-generated resources to mitigate algorithmic bias.  

Responsible integration of AI ensures its transformative potential is not negated by adverse impacts on students and learning. Carefully balancing the use of sensitive student information and collaboratively reviewing AI-generated content not only upholds the integrity of educational technology but also champions personalized learning.  

Practical Application: Co-Creating Learning Paths with AI Through Educational Prompt Engineering 

In my session at FETC, participants and I collaborated to create lessons and educational resources with AI, practicing the practical application of the concepts discussed above. Working in groups, participants crafted prompts (detailed instructions for AI tools like ChatGPT) to generate customized learning experiences focused on student agency.  

In essence, we practiced the new skill of educational prompt engineering. I provided guidance and considerations for prompt generation with specific recommendations for teachers to develop prompts to elicit helpful content from AI.  

This exercise demonstrated the potential of effective prompting and the importance of collaboration among educators to harness AI’s power in education.  

Take a look at some of the sample unedited prompts participants created during our session below. What do you notice about these prompts? How might you create a prompt that is useful in your classroom or school?  

Feel free to test these prompts in the AI tool of your choice! 

Given the learning context and outcomes, create some personalized ways the following 3 types of students might explore different perspectives on this complex topic while collaborating to keep an open mind as they encounter evidence.  Type 1- Tina is a refuge from Somalia who is an English language learner who loves American pop culture Type 2 – High achieving Gifted and talented student Type 3 – Tim is a football player and hunting fan  
Please create a personalized choice of products that an artist middle school student who is mature, introverted, and a reluctant learner can create to support the Florida state standard: SC.68.CS-CS. The product choices will need to allow the students to utilize electrical engineering skills. Also, include assessment options.  
Hey ChatGPT! I am a 4th grade math teacher. We are working on the math standard: “Explain why a fraction a/b is equivalent to a fraction (n × a)/(n × b) by using visual fraction models, with attention to how the number and size of the parts differ even though the two fractions themselves are the same size.” Give me a lesson plan to use to support struggling students who still do not have a full understanding of whole numbers but are now working with fractions. They also struggle with the vocabulary of numerator and denominator and the general concept that fractions are a part of a whole. We have access to digital, paper, and various manipulative resources. These students are very motivated by video games so tailor the ideas to this interest. They also struggle with reading comprehension and working memory.  

Preparing Educators for Success with AI: Moreland University  

As we look at the future of education, the integration of AI and student agency holds countless possibilities for more equitable, effective, and engaging learning.  

At Moreland University, we are committed to preparing educators to navigate this evolving landscape with confidence and creativity. Our online TEACH-NOW Teacher Preparation Certificate Program, which can be completed in nine-months, prepares candidates for success in the classroom — including how to effectively integrate AI and other emerging technology in their teaching practice. 

As Deepika Chhabra, an international educator and 2023 TEACH-NOW program graduate, describes it:  

“TEACH-NOW inspired me to be a lifelong learner. By the 8th module, we were already using artificial intelligence. I know [AI] is in education; it was not there one year back. But right now, everyone thinks about AI in education. I feel the Moreland curriculum is so robust, and they keep evolving the curriculum based on the way the education world is changing.”  

As educators, it’s our responsibility to embrace AI and emerging technologies responsibly and collaboratively — leveraging their potential to create transformative learning experiences for our students.  

Ready to power up your teaching career? Moreland University can help.  

Our nine-month TEACH-NOW Teacher Preparation Certificate Program and master’s programs can help enhance your teaching career and prepare you for the future in education. Request more information to discover your Moreland pathway to teaching excellence.  


About Joseph A. Pearson, M.S.Ed 

Joseph A. Pearson, M.S.Ed. is a value-driven educator and Partnership Development Specialist at Moreland University. He is an educational innovator who empowers educators across borders through collaboration with global schools and districts to enhance teacher recruitment, retention, certification, and professional development. His commitment to equitable education aligns with his doctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles emphasizing innovative online teacher development. Joey most recently led professional development on student-centered learning and educational technology at conferences and schools in Philadelphia, Orlando, and New York City; as well as internationally in Suriname, Guyana, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Uganda, and Kenya. Joey’s commitment to research-based practice and passion for fostering community have helped him reach educators around the world.   

Joseph A. Pearson, M.S.Ed.
Professional Development Officer, Moreland University

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