Digital Literacy and Ethics: Navigating the AI-Enhanced Classroom


As the educational landscape evolves, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in institutions such as Abu Dhabi University (ADU) is changing the paradigms of teaching and learning. This shift is not just about technological advancement, but a journey that requires a deep understanding of digital literacy and a strong commitment to ethics, especially as we grapple with challenges such as plagiarism and copyright.

The evolving concept of digital literacy

Digital literacy in the AI-powered classroom goes beyond basic technology skills. It is about a comprehensive understanding of AI tools – how they work, their applications in the classroom and the intricacies of their responsible use. ADU’s strategy of using AI for content development, personalized learning and innovative assessment methods underscores this multifaceted nature of digital literacy.

Digital literacy across all generations

The needs and approaches to digital literacy differ significantly between Generation Z and older generations, necessitating tailored education strategies:

Generation Z: As digital natives, Generation Z students are inherently comfortable with technology. However, their digital literacy extends to understanding the intricacies of AI, its ethical use and potential biases. ADU’s approach, aligned with their technological literacy, focuses on advanced AI applications, data ethics and critical digital consumption.

Older generations: This group, which includes both non-traditional students and educators, needs basic AI skills. Their education focuses on basic AI technologies, ethical implications and adapting to a rapidly evolving digital world.

Ethical considerations in AI education

The ethical use of AI in education encompasses a whole spectrum of concerns, from privacy and algorithmic bias to the broader social implications of the technology. The ADU’s comprehensive guidelines for the ethical use of AI demonstrate a commitment to these concerns. However, constant vigilance is required, particularly in areas such as:

Privacy: protecting student data from unauthorized access and misuse.

Algorithmic bias: Ensuring that AI systems are developed and used without inherent bias.

Transparency: Maintain clear and open AI algorithms and practices.

Plagiarism and copyright in AI powered education.

With the ease with which AI can access and process information, issues of plagiarism and copyright are becoming increasingly apparent. ADU uses AI-driven tools to detect plagiarism, but this is only one facet of a broader strategy. A comprehensive approach includes:

Educational initiatives: Educating students about academic integrity, copyright laws and the responsible use of information.

Views expressed by Dr. Hamad Odhabi, Vice Chancellor, Abu Dhabi University

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