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AI in the classroom and the future of AI


Mid-June, EdTechNZ held two events in Wellington and Auckland respectively.

The first was the AI in the classroom event in Wellington and guests were treated to a great discussion from the panel with our very own Duane Grace and Alana Pellow representing EdTechNZ. Great to also have a student and a teacher to provide a balanced view too.

Topics centred around privacy of personal data, security of data and governance of data. We didn’t get into the specific solutions that help learners learn and teachers teach etc., but we need to get the former topics squared away before we consider wider use of AI in the classroom.

Thanks to the Wellington team for putting this together and our own Dave for getting everyone engaged with a quick speed dating exercise and then moderating the panel discussion!

On the same day in Auckland we hosted a more modest meet-up style event featuring Jan Zawadzki, co-founder of Hapara. It was great to hear the lessons learnt, the challenges and opportunities of entering the US K12 market. Insightful and very helpful for any budding founder. Thanks to Jan for giving up his time and Peter Dong from VR Voom for hosting us on the night.

The EdTechNZ events team are working on a programme of larger and more intimate meet-up style events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch so keep an eye out here and maybe join your local EdTechNZ group.

AI in general has been topical for awhile now and I had an interesting conversation earlier this week with a large NZ ISV. When asked what their big focus was, AI seems to be top of their list. Whether AI is used in business or within education, there is clearly an opportunity for AI to be a game changer. For the learner, the AI doesn’t necessarily replace the tutor, rather it augments the in-person experience with tailored interactions – delivering better learner experiences and outcomes. In the broader business sector, AI is already removing some of the drudgery and “low value” tasks, freeing up valuable time to focus on that which is of higher value to the business but also the individual. It can also aid with a better and healthier work/life balance.

I think that there is an important wider conversation to be held to help dispel the myths, misunderstandings and assumptions around AI, its role, what it is and what it isn’t. Foremost is that the question shouldn’t be about human vs. AI, rather it’s more along the lines of AI’s role in augmenting people and experiences and making everyone’s life better and more productive and delivering better outcomes!

Shane Kerr
EdTechNZ Chair

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EdTechNZ EdTechNZ is the voice of EdTech in New Zealand, supporting the growth of the sector. Our purpose is to drive the creative use of technology, inside and outside the classroom, for better student outcomes. We aim to facilitate a world class education system for all New Zealanders and showcase local EdTech to the world.