Time-strapped WA teachers could gain access to artificial intelligence tools to ease their workloads under plans to cut red tape and free them up for teaching. Education Minister Tony Buti will on Thursday unveil initiatives to lighten the administrative burden for teachers, which will include examining ways to harness powerful AI chatbots such as ChatGPT. Next year the Education Department — in partnership with private schools and curriculum authorities — will test AI tools to see how they can be best used to streamline planning and enhance teaching. The department will set up AI “demonstration environments” for teachers to explore and provide feedback on the effectiveness of AI for improving classroom learning and reducing workloads. The sudden rise of generative AI tools has sent shock waves through education since the most well-known, ChatGPT, was launched just 12 months ago. Fears that ChatGPT’s ability to produce human-like writing in seconds would encourage students to cheat meant it was banned from all WA public schools at the start of this year, though the ban was later lifted for teachers. Dr Buti said AI had the potential to revolutionise education, lesson planning and even the way students provided feedback. “We want to harness the positive impact AI can have on the way teachers teach and students learn,” he said. “Generative AI presents opportunities for students and teachers, but there are also risks such as the privacy and safety of school children in how it is currently being used, so we must ensure school communities are using these tools safely and effectively. “While it will never replace the human touch, empathy and creativity that teachers bring to the classroom, it is a whole new world that has the potential to positively reshape the educational experience in our schools.” The Cook Government will allocate a portion of its $24.3 million curriculum resource commitment to the trials of AI tools. It will also take into account the use of AI in other states to streamline professional learning and lesson planning. The initiative was shaped by findings from the department’s red tape review, recommendations from the teachers’ union and early research on the effective use of AI. The Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia told a Parliamentary inquiry earlier this year that up to 80 per cent of secondary teachers in private schools were already using AI tools for tasks such as writing lesson plans, student quizzes, essay topics and articles for school newsletters.