The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Automation, Chatbots, and Pedagogical Imagination

Martin Laba, Simon Fraser University - School of Communication (Canada)


The advance of technology has always been a provocation for profound social transformation. The history of the digital turn in media and communication for example, irrefutably ushered in an epoch of radical social change, and especially so in education—its progress, development, reinventions, currents and controversies. Indeed, technological elaborations have challenged and continue to test the foundations of educational philosophies and practices. The digital turn in culture and communication necessarily introduced and has sustained debates around the affordances of technology and the urgencies and directions of educational futures. As technological advance continually disrupts and contests established norms and practices of education, how do we reinvent our pedagogies? When such advance introduces new and expansive technical capacities in educational contexts and offers greater levels of autonomy and agency for students, how do educators respond with creativity and imagination to adapt to and revise the very concepts of teaching and learning? In more specific terms, with OpenAI’s introduction and development of the advanced chatbot, ChatGPT, do educators focus on how to “neutralize” the technology to mitigate a postulated unrestrained increase in academic dishonesty; or rather do educators focus on and reimagine pedagogical design and practice, philosophy and strategy, to reconceptualize course design, assessment measures and methods, elaborate experiential learning, understand learning spaces well beyond the classroom and the institution, and more. Pronouncements on the impacts of AI chatbots in education range from declarations that the college essay is dead (Marche, 2023)[2], that technology has overwhelmed the humanities and liberal arts, to admonitions for educators to avoid a technological panic around AI, to proposals for the strategic integration of AI chatbots into course assignment and assessment, and more. In his reflection on “the Great ChatGPT Panic of late 2022”, Mark Kingwell situates open access AI in long-established anxieties around technology’s domination, fears of dehumanization and the displacement of humans by machines, and the ambiguities between carbon and silicon intelligences. (Kingwell, 2023)[2] This paper offers a critical encounter with the ongoing provocations of automation in education and with the need for pedagogical imagination and pedagogical practices that anticipate the substance, scope, and velocity of technological change in education.   



Technology, pedagogical creativity, ChatGPT, automation



[1] Marche, Stephen. “The College Essay Is Dead”, The Atlantic, December 6, 2022. Accessed February 10, 2023 at

[2] Kingwell, Mark. “Why are we so afraid of being displaced by machines? It’s only human nature”, The Globe and Mail, February 18, 2023. Accessed February 18, 2023 at


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