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ELT & AI: The Big Questions (CUP Panel Discussion)

Updated: May 29

I had the honour to take part in a fantastic event in March, 2024. I was invited to a panel discussion organized by Cambridge University Press and Assessment on the big questions surrounding artificial intelligence in English language teaching. I was lucky to share this discussion with amazing panelists, Dr Henry Shevlin, Andrea Vinkler, and Dr Evelina Galaczi. You can find some main points and the recordings in this post.


ELT & AI: The Big Questions illustrated notes
ELT & AI: The Big Questions illustration

 

This panel discussion was broadcast on Linkedin on March 12, 2024. We represented 3 major areas in ELT to cover the whole spectrum:

  • Andrea spoke for Learning

  • Evelina for Assessment

  • and I spoke for Teaching


These were some of the intriguing questions that were raised during our two discussions:


Learning

  • What are some potential problems that could arise when learners are using generative AI tools?

  • What skills should learners possess in order to be able to use GenAI tools safely and effectively?

  • Could you share any tips for checking our students’ homework when it comes to writing (i.e. essays)? It seems they are more and more influenced, if not directly produced, by AI.

Assessment

Teaching

You can read some of the main takeaway messages below (copied over from the official Linkedin post):

“AI is like a little teaching assistant sitting on our shoulders to help us out when we need some quick help with brainstorming or materials design. However, it’s important to always be aware of two things: even though AI is capable of spitting out almost anything in seconds, a human teacher should be there at all times to check the output for bias, accuracy, and a potential lack of creativity. Another thing to bear in mind is whatever (student essays, published materials, personal data) we enter into most of these chatbots will become public property.” (Jo Szoke - TEACHING)

“The opportunities with generative AI tools are endless. We need to encourage learners to familiarise themselves with them as they offer massive potential for personalised learning.” (Andrea Vinkler - LEARNING)

“The transformational power of GenAI creates so many opportunities and challenges for English language assessment. We’re already seeing fantastic examples of GenAI being used to quickly create learning and assessment materials, that are personalised. However we must keep the human in the driving seat at all times - so our examiners, teachers and test developers are working alongside the machine to get the very best out of this groundbreaking technology.” (Evelina Galaczi - ASSESSMENT)

There are several recordings you can watch:

  1. Edited recording on Youtube (afternoon session)

  2. Original Linkedin recording with live comments (morning session, starts at 8:12)

  3. Original Linkedin recording with live comments (afternoon session)

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