The Future of Education: Embracing AI for Student Success

By: Dr. Michael Horowitz

This article originally appeared on

Our world is in the early stages of a potentially transformational technological revolution. Artificial Intelligence (AI), fueled by vast generative language models like ChatGPT, is predicted to upend virtually every corner of society. From business to government to consumer behavior, AI will have profound effects on how we work, live and engage with each other.

Higher education is no exception, and there is a growing imperative for colleges to embrace and adapt to the potential sea change before us—to support our students and ensure the flourishing of our institutions. AI has the potential to revolutionize education in business and in practice—both what we do and how we do it.

Unfortunately, too often attention is focused on the problems of AI—that it allows students to cheat and can undermine the value of what teachers bring to the learning equation. This viewpoint ignores the immense possibilities that AI can bring to education and across every industry.

The fact is that students have already embraced this new technology, which is neither a new story nor a surprising one in education. Leaders should accept this and understand that people, not robots, must ultimately create the path forward. It is only by deploying resources, training and policies at every level of our institutions that we can begin to realize the vast potential of what AI can offer.

People-Powered AI

At its most basic level, AI offers incredibly powerful productivity tools for any professional environment. Every organization should be encouraging its leaders to experiment with drafting memos, creating slideshows, and synthesizing and summarizing complex texts using AI, all time-intensive tasks that can soon be fully automated. Having access to these tools can’t and won’t replace the role of thoughtful, creative people. But it can help drive productivity and transform what a student, individual employee, department or division can achieve while dramatically reducing the time required.

What AI Isn’t

Depending on how seriously you take some forecasts, AI will absorb every information-based job by the end of the decade. It may also bring about the end of civilization itself. But catastrophe on the margins shouldn’t stop us from applying transformational tools to advance our agenda while still leaning into the profound value humans bring to work. In AI, as in all things, it is the people who matter
To fully embrace AI’s potential, institutions should invest in the necessary infrastructure, resources and professional development opportunities to empower educators and administrators. This means providing basic how-to instructions and access to cutting-edge tools, platforms and training to give people the skills to effectively leverage AI in their respective professional roles.
Moreover, collaboration across disciplines and institutions is crucial to drive innovation, share best practices and tackle complex challenges collectively. At TCS Education System, we are deploying AI across each of our six distinct learning communities and collaboratively sharing best practices from each one. Like any tool, not every school will apply AI in the same way. But the proliferation of tools and creative cooperation creates opportunities that would not otherwise be possible.

An Example from Our Community

Within our organization, AI has become an important tool for faculty to develop learning curricula and teaching modules. It’s also become useful in identifying and addressing emerging performance problems before they threaten to derail a student’s ability to complete his or her degree. One of the challenges we previously faced was the ability to provide timely and targeted interventions to such students. AI-powered systems can analyze data from multiple sources, such as test scores, assignments and engagement metrics, to quickly flag potential issues.
The identification of these students is now easier, more accurate and much, much faster. But it is educators who must intervene proactively, offering personalized support and guidance to students who need it most. By leveraging AI to monitor student performance, we can create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment, ensuring that no student is left behind.
That’s where humans come in. An algorithm capable of identifying at-risk students isn’t capable of building a relationship with students, nor does it have an understanding of their history or the ability to establish empathy or trust in helping them receive the support they need. So while AI is an invaluable tool to empower educators, it is people who leverage that knowledge to create an exceptional learning environment in new ways never before possible.

New Tools in a New World

The world is changing every day. Some days the change is more pronounced. Each passing announcement about the new capabilities of AI seems to press on the accelerator a bit harder, leaving our previous professional landscape further in the rearview mirror.
This means that institutions have a very basic choice: embrace the new tools that are shaping the future or pretend that things have not changed. Trepidation of the unknown is not a reason to deny opportunity. Instead, we should be learning as fast as we can how to leverage AI to prepare students for success in a future in which they will face constant change.
Because that is what we are here to do: empower students by expanding the definition of what constitutes an education. AI is part of the landscape now. Wishing it wasn’t so is not an effective (or responsible) strategy for success.