Generative AI and more at the well-attended OnderwijsFestival

Picture: Wunderlust fotografie

On Thursday 7 March, UU's premier education event took place: the OnderwijsFestival. It was a day full of inspiring and instructive activities around various educational themes. 426 participants from across the entire UU community, found their way to the University Hall - making the number of participants even higher than last year.

Picture: Wunderlust fotografie

On this sun-drenched day, they enjoyed the wide range of workshops, poster presentations, entertainment and encounters - all in a festival atmosphere. They attended workshops with stimulating names like "Away with tests?!" and ‘’Shape your teaching with drawings!’’. But also sessions on Community Engaged Learning, education with Extended Reality, and poster presentations from teachers on evidence-informed research on their own teaching (SoTL). You could also attend a live podcast recording on the road to becoming a teacher.

Picture: Wunderlust fotografie

Of course, relaxation was also on the programme, including a street poetry walk, a silent disco, and lecturers, students and other UU staff met each other over a snack and drink. And the annual winners of the Teacher Awards and the UU Team Award were announced.

Generative AI in education

Several sessions focused on Artificial Intelligence. These included the workshop "Tackling low literacy with AI - is it possible?". Participants could also play a game on information literacy in the age of AI and information overload. Or attend the workshop on how to submit a query to ChatGPT.

The day started with an interactive panel discussion where teachers and students exchanged views with the audience on the role of generative AI in education. The central question was how to integrate AI into education and handle it with wisdom. After all, education remains human work. The discussion panel, which included two associate professors, a bachelor’s and a master's student, produced interesting discussions.

We cannot ignore AI anymore, not even in education. Most agreed on that. It is better to embrace it than banish it. It does however require a different perspective on education: how do you use it wisely in education? It is important for teachers to understand how generative AI works to develop more relevant teaching methods and forms of assessment. For example, giving assignments to students that not only check the final product, but also at the overall process of making the assignment.

We cannot ignore AI anymore, not even in education.

It is also important to teach your students how to reflect on their use of generative AI. They will use it, but teachers can teach them how to do so responsibly. To ensure the quality of our education, we need to emphasise the importance of academic skills such as critical reflection. Part of this is teaching digital literacy.

To ensure the quality of our education, we need to emphasise the importance of academic skills such as critical reflection.

Finally, it was also argued not to make generative AI a taboo subject in the lecture hall. Also, don't engage in the battle of enforcement, but have the open conversation with students about what the learning objectives are, what values - such as academic integrity - we consider important, what we understand about generative AI, and where it leads. The panel discussion concluded by saying that it is good that we are and remain in conversation about it. Importantly, AI should not just be seen as a new hype, but rather an open, meaningful dialogue to responsibly harness its potential and ensure that it improves our education rather than disrupting it in unintended ways.

The next edition of the OnderwijsFestival will take place on 6 March 2025. Will we see you there?