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Forecasting Ed Tech in 2024: Experts Weigh In

More integrations, low-connectivity tools, small language models, an avalanche of resumes: This is not a Christmas wish list but a set of predictions for what generative AI will bring to education in the months ahead.

A businessman stands, staring ahead, on an empty road with the number 2024 written on the pavement.
While 2023 may be remembered as the year Open AI’s ChatGPT took the world by storm, educators and ed-tech professionals alike hope 2024 marks the year generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) is refined to assure more good than harm.

From new innovations for teaching and learning, to increased digital equity, to new attitudes in the educational community about AI's usefulness, experts in the field say there's plenty to get excited about.


Garrett Smiley, CEO of Sora Schools, a virtual private institution that serves students in 46 states and seven countries, said in the next 12 months, K-12 schools will increasingly integrate generative AI functions into digital teaching and learning tools they use every day. He said tools such as, or similar to, Khanmigo and ChatGPT will be widely incorporated in learning management systems, rather than running alongside them in a separate window for the purpose of copying and pasting.

Likewise, the expectation for students will be access to generative AI tools outside of the classroom, expert tutors in their pockets for homework help, and the opportunity to learn about anything that sparks their curiosity.

“Any sufficient learner can teach themselves,” Smiley said, “but teachers will be the ones to inspire kids.”

Dave Touretzky, a Carnegie Mellon professor involved with several research projects pertaining to generative AI in K-12 education, said 2024 will be the year that generative AI becomes “the new electricity — and then everybody needs to have it.” He wrote in an email that Microsoft Copilot, the AI-powered assistant in Microsoft operating systems and apps, could eventually become standard at colleges and universities as well as K-12 school districts.

Touretzky further predicted that Khan Academy’s AI-powered Khanmigo student tutor and teaching assistant tool will take off in 2024. Regarding ChatGPT, he said cheating concerns will cool down as schools learn to cope with a technology that simply isn’t going away. Moreover, students and educators will increasingly realize that generative AI still gets plenty of things wrong, and that talking with a large language model is not like talking with a person.

“It’s a weird alien intelligence that is good at some things, and terrible at others,” Touretzky wrote. “That’s what 2024 will be about: We’ll all be learning to converse with aliens.”

Instructure's VP of Global Strategy Ryan Lufkin agreed with Touretzky that education communities will dispel the fear around generative AI, amplify that ChatGPT is much more than a cheating tool, and embrace the technology as a teacher’s assistant that can grade assignments, generate quizzes and tests, and help with lesson planning.

“None of these tools will ever replace educators,” he said unequivocally.


There's good news and bad news for digital equity, according to Jamie Alexandre, co-founder and executive director of Learning Equality, a nonprofit working to bridge the digital divide by building “offline-first” educational technology, such as text-based AI interfaces for tools like WhatsApp and ChatGPT that can work with low-connectivity channels like SMS — even on old flip phones. Alexandre said 2024 will be the year when the growth of accessible AI technology in underserved areas across North America and the rest of the world — encompassing over 2 billion people — begins to “leapfrog” broadband access. He said awareness of this gap between the accessibility of tools versus high-speed Internet will increase in the near future, but then it’s a matter of massive fundraising in the years ahead.

“The rate of Internet growth has actually slowed,” Alexandre said. “But we don’t have to wait for it. Anything that can do a voice call will work [with AI technology], even a ‘dumb phone.’ As long as someone can store it and carry it. We call it the ‘sneakernet.’“


This spring, generative AI is likely to play a starring role in resume building and interview preparation, especially for high school and college students pursuing careers or continued education, said Jared Chung, founder of the nonprofit, a website that offers free career advice.

Whether they use ChatGPT or a combination of other free tools to help with written and verbal communication skills, Chung said, young people will be accessing generative AI en masse for job and college applications. The technology may enable them to submit thousands per day, potentially creating an avalanche for hiring and admissions professionals.

“There will be better applications, and a lot more of them,” he said. “If the volume doubles or triples, that’s going to make it kind of tricky for those on the hiring end.”


Beyond the evolution of existing tools, Lufkin added, developers will begin looking at ways to build smaller language models for specific uses in individual classrooms. The knowledge and technology are already in place for that, he said, but it’s a matter of making such a tool affordable and assuring data privacy.

“It would be like having an incredibly smart TA [teaching assistant] in your classroom,” Lufkin said.

Delia DeCourcy, an education portfolio manager at the laptop company Lenovo, wrote in an email that higher education in 2024 will witness AI touching functions of campus life beyond the classroom, including aspects of the student experience, faculty research and even physical infrastructure on campus.

“All of this has the potential to improve students’ access to resources and support, automate tasks so faculty has more time to spend on teaching, and enhance efficiencies and decision-making at the administrative level," DeCourcy wrote. "However, this is dependent on institutions leveraging AI in ways that matter. In the year ahead, universities must develop a comprehensive plan for how AI can help achieve their goals and ensure they have both the right people and technology in place to successfully implement it.”
Aaron Gifford has several years of professional writing experience, primarily with daily newspapers and specialty publications in upstate New York. He attended the University at Buffalo and is based in Cazenovia, NY.