Education (Em)powered by Generative AI

by Lizzy Bleumers,  Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Belgium.

The research project ‘(Em)powered by AI’ aims to help educational organisations, educators and those that support them in making meaningful use of generative artificial intelligence for teaching. This 1-year project is an initiative of Sustainable Business and Digital Innovation Centre of Expertise. It connects with three other expertise centres at Thomas More University of Applied Sciences: Design and Technology, People and Wellbeing, and Education and Learning. In this newsletter article, we will tell you more about the context, cause and approach of the project and invite you to join our mission.

Promise of Generative Artificial Intelligence

Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) refers to AI models and tools that enable users to create various types of content, including text, images, video, audio, and code. GenAI applications like ChatGPT take natural language as input. A simple question can prompt ChatGPT to create a text in an instant.  As such, GenAI as a technology seems to hold a promise for educators and those who seek to support them, namely, to facilitate the production of educational content tremendously.

Need for Digital Competences

Our initial interactions with GenAI tools may sometimes leave us disappointed. As our experience with it increases, we find ‘speaking with AI’ may not be as intuitive as we thought. It feels like a new language that we have to learn. Just like with any other novel digital technology, we need to develop competences to use it effectively and responsibly. This means not only mastering the ‘language’ (developing skills), but also understanding how the technology works (acquiring knowledge), and gaining confidence to experiment with it, allowing us to take an ethical stance on when or where (not) to use it (establishing attitudes). In the case of GenAI, the underlying technology is quite difficult to grasp, and developments happen so fast that people struggle to comprehend the implications of this technology, also in educational practice.

Approach of (Em)powered by AI

With Empowered by AI, we seek to help organisations and citizens by providing an overview of the opportunities and challenges of applying generative AI in four domains: design, leisure, wellbeing, and education and by investigating how we can promote competent use. In addition to making an inventory of use cases through desk research, we are investigating one use case more in depth, within the educational domain. Here, we ask how we might support teachers and students to process educational resources and put them into practice by means of GenAI.

Takeaway and Call to action

What we learned so far is that many GenAI driven applications in education focus on saving teachers time. This addresses a critical need. However, when teachers express feeling pressed for time, it often points to a deeper underlying need; the desire to teach their students to the best of their ability. With Empowered by AI, we hope to unveil and spark more applications that apply unique qualities of GenAI to promote quality of learning.

Do you want to connect with us as we continue our mission? Contact:

Editor’s note: Lizzy will be giving a keynote presentation at the Media & Learning Conference that will take place 20-21 June in Leuven, Belgium. More information about the conference can be found here.


Lizzy Bleumers,  Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Belgium