How might AI diminish student agency?

Or could it flourish?

Tom Barrett
3 min readMar 11, 2023

In preparation for the third dialogue in my free webinar series on AI, I met with guests Claire Amos and Philippa Wintle from Albany Senior High School in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

We are all set for a fascinating session next Wednesday, and a brief comment by Claire has been on my mind all week. I paraphrase, but it was along the lines of:

Artificial intelligence tools have the potential to reduce student agency.

Tom x MJ

You will know I advocate for balancing the hype about AI with some contrarian ideas and taking up a critical position. So let’s spend a moment to speculate on the impact of AI on learner agency.

In this context, let’s agree that agency is an intricate combination of students having a say in their experience (voice), an active part in the decision-making about their learning experience (choice) and they are personally invested in the process (responsibility).

(Adapted from the work of Chris Harte and Summer Howarth in “Renegotiating learning in a hybrid world.”)

How might AI reduce agency?

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Tom Barrett

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