Brianne Rabel and Marisa Ponti
Brianne Rabel is a Master’s Student in IT and Learning, University of Gothenburg, and Marisa Ponti is an Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Information Technology, University of Gothenburg

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Navigating the Future of AI in Education

Published: December 5, 2023

How do you feel about our future in the company of artificial intelligence in education? Are you excited, worried, hopeful, annoyed? Perhaps you are considering how this might affect you, your family, your students, your community or workplace, or other people, communities or workplaces. Maybe you’re worried about some issues of concern, or wondering about the economic implications, or the technical or policy developments that could lead to this future.

In a world increasingly influenced by Artificial Intelligence (AI), its integration into education signals a transformative shift. On November 14, 2023, the WASP-HS conference, AI for Humanity and Society 2023, recently hosted a scenario workshop titled Living with AI in Education – Mapping Future Pathways. The event focused on the future of AI in education (AIEd), attracting 11 participants, including students, educators, and researchers to delve into this evolution. The workshop’s agenda was to explore the burgeoning role of AIEd and its manifold ethical, legal, and social implications. At the heart of AIEd lies the promise of personalized learning experiences, intelligent tutoring systems, and administrative efficiencies. Yet, these opportunities are tempered by significant challenges such as data privacy concerns, the digital divide, inherent biases, and the evolving role of educators. The workshop thus served as a crucible for examining these issues, acknowledging the need for comprehensive, nuanced policy guidelines in an area where innovation must be carefully balanced with stakeholder protection.

Participants at the Living with AI in Education – Mapping Future Pathways workshop. Photo: Charlotte Bärg

Participants engaged in two small groups to address the question What Macroenvironmental Factors are Likely to Influence the Impact of AI in Education? We encouraged them to widen their perspectives to identify, interpret, and anticipate upcoming issues related to living with AI in education. To do so, we employed a blend of qualitative methodologies, including scenario building (UNPD, 2022), design narrative research (Inayatullah, 2012), and PESTLE analysis (UNDP, 2022). Design narratives, or ‘design fictions,’ were introduced as a tool to stimulate discussion. We crafted two scenarios that projected future states of consequences of AIEd, using academic literature and discussion within the WASP-HS project The Missing Teacher In AI research team:

Scenario 1:
“As AI in education gained acceptance, the role of teachers saw a significant transformation. While AI-driven platforms took over rote lessons, teachers now dedicate more time to providing personalized mentorship and igniting curiosity and have reduced their administrative workload in class. In the meantime, however, the ratio of students to teachers increased from 20 students per teacher to 45 students per teacher in elementary schools, and many teachers grappled with technology adoption, feeling overshadowed by algorithms. Additionally, the continuous need for up-skilling to stay ahead of AI innovation became a pressing demand on teachers.”

Scenario 2:
“In the wake of an economic downturn, governments globally sought cost-cutting measures and turned to a new initiative for public schools. Teachers were urged to digitize their teaching personas into 24/7 chatbots. Costing 10 euros an hour, this approach widened the socio-economic divide in classrooms: privileged students had round-the-clock access while others faced limited classroom time. As technological advancements raced on, educators found themselves caught in a whirlwind of debates around privacy, pay gaps, and ethics.” By articulating potential future scenarios, these narratives provided a framework for the participants to explore and debate AIEd’s varied trajectories. As Kitchin (2020) observed, “In a post-truth age, where the academy is struggling to convince politicians, media and the public to engage with and heed its work, fiction, and more creative forms of academic writing have the potential to open up new avenues to reach readers beyond academia,” (Kitchin, 2020, para. 10).

In one segment of the workshop, participants engaged in a PESTLE analysis, examining the political, economic, social, and technological factors that could shape AIEd’s trajectories. The findings, documented on a Padlet, illuminated how these external factors might influence AIEd’s implementation and highlighted the importance of considering these dimensions in policy formulation.

One of the most engaging aspects of the workshop was the dynamic interaction among the participants, whose diverse backgrounds enriched the discussions. There was a palpable sense of engagement and curiosity, alongside a healthy dose of skepticism, particularly from participants with educational backgrounds. This mix of perspectives brought to the fore the complex interplay between AIEd’s potential benefits and its risks. Discussions often centered around social implications, reflecting a collective concern about AIEd’s impact on mental health, the changing roles of educators, and the psychological effects on learners.

Interested readers can find the results of the discussion in the Canva.

As the workshop concluded, it was clear that while AIEd offers exciting possibilities, its path is strewn with challenges that require thoughtful navigation. The insights gathered will be instrumental in the preparation of a Master’s Thesis, where AIEd’s social, ethical, and political implications will be further explored.

The workshop underscored the criticality of multidisciplinary perspectives in understanding and shaping the future of AI in education. As AIEd technologies continue to evolve, it is imperative that policymakers, educators, and technologists collaborate to create a landscape where AI is used ethically, equitably, and to the enhancement of educational experiences for all stakeholders. As noted during the workshop, “using workshops as a research methodology is an especially useful approach in studies that are emerging and unpredictable,” (Ørngreen & Levinson, 2017, p.73). This encapsulates the essence of our endeavor at the WASP-HS conference, marking a significant step towards envisioning and shaping the future of AI in education.


Inayatullah, S. (2012). “Futures Studies: Theories and Methods.” There’s a Future, Visions for a Better World. (pp.37-63). OpenMinds, BBVA Publishing. Spain.

Kitchin, R., (2020, December 11). Writing Fiction as Scholarly Work. London School of Economics and Political Science.

Ørngreen, R., & Levinsen, K., (2017). Workshops as a Research Methodology. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning. 15(1), 70-81.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP). (2022). UNDP RBAP: Foresight Playbook. New York, New York. Available at:

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