Educational institutions, like any other organization, may have concerns or reservations about the integration of artificial intelligence. Not all educational institutions are “scared” of AI, but they may approach its adoption cautiously due to several legitimate considerations, including uncertainty about its impact, ethical and privacy concerns, concerns about digital overreliance and more.
There are also some concerns that AI and automation may replace some educational roles, such as administrative tasks or even teaching positions. These fears can create resistance to AI adoption among educators and staff. Coupled with the fact that implementing AI systems often requires a significant initial investment in technology and training, schools and districts may be hesitant to allocate resources, especially if they are unsure of the long-term payoff.
When it comes to supporting the PR goals of education technology companies that use AI, especially in the context of addressing public concerns about AI, PR professionals should consider these tips to design the most beneficial media campaigns.
Educate and build trust
Educating and building trust in AI-based education technology requires strategic communication and outreach methods. Changing misconceptions about adopting and integrating AI-based education technology should begin with illuminating its benefits.
For this to be effective, ensure that your clients’ messaging about their AI-based education technology is clear, concise and easily accessible to the public. Consider incorporating visual aids into your campaigns where possible, like infographics, diagrams and charts. Whether in a full-length report or a social ad, visual representations can make complex ideas more accessible and memorable.
Using media campaigns to explain how AI enhances the learning experience, personalizes education and ensures data privacy is key. Sharing success stories, case studies and endorsements from educators who have seen positive outcomes with AI technology can help ground swirling misconceptions and familiarize the public with its overriding advantages.
Highlight ethical practices and compliance
PR teams can address public concerns about AI ethics by showcasing their clients’ commitment to responsible AI practices. Highlight clients’ compliance with industry standards and regulations, as well as any additional voluntary measures they take to protect students’ data and privacy. Companies should feel empowered to be open about how their AI algorithms work without revealing proprietary details. Explaining the inputs, processes and outputs in a way that non-technical stakeholders can understand provides insight into the decision-making processes of your AI systems.
As AI protocol develops, take stock of active company decisions through an AI equity lens, including bias mitigation, fairness and inclusivity. Consider organizing webinars, panel discussions or interviews with experts in AI ethics to demonstrate your clients’ dedication to continual AI equity, accessibility and safety.
PR professionals should suggest issuing press releases and announcements to publicize their partner companies’ AI ethics initiatives and achievements. Inclusively, support the social leg of companies’ feedback channels by monitoring for input and clearly communicating their commitment to listening to and addressing feedback. Periodically, transparency reports or case studies showcasing real-world examples of how companies have addressed AI ethics challenges can help bolster confidence and may provide data-driven stems for more robust thought leadership campaigns.
Maximize thought leadership potential
Position your education technology client as a thought leader in the intersection of AI and education. Once companies have their own approach to AI mapped out, PR partners should motivate them to pivot and offer insights into the future of AI in education, discussing the latest trends and providing guidance to educators and administrators on how to make the most of AI-powered tools.
In such a fast-paced and dominating space, it can be daunting to break into news cycles around AI. Finding the right niche is key. Even non-AI-powered companies can speak to the AI revolution in terms of how their tool can or should integrate with AI, the human skills their tool elevates against the backdrop of AI, or planned future AI adaptations. For AI-powered education technology, keeping the focus on student success, complementing teacher instruction, and lightening the load for taxed post-pandemic administrators is a strong, product-aligned core message to follow through.
By positioning the client as a trusted authority in the spaces most relevant to their particular platform/solution, PR teams can continue to shape the conversation around AI in education and help allay public concerns. For a comprehensive approach, employ a content strategy that includes blog posts, whitepapers, research reports, and op-eds that address AI-related topics in education. All content should be well-researched, data-driven, and provide actionable insights for educators, administrators, and the industry as a whole.
In addition to these tips, always be prepared to respond to questions and concerns from the public in a timely and transparent manner. Public relations efforts should not only focus on proactive messaging but also on addressing any issues or misconceptions as they arise. Creating a comprehensive crisis plan for an education technology company to address fears about AI adoption involves a strong PR and media component. PR professionals play a crucial role in crafting messages, managing media relations and ensuring that the company’s response is effective in alleviating concerns.
Building and maintaining a positive reputation for your education technology client in the context of AI will require ongoing efforts to inform, engage and build trust with the public. Stay informed about the regulatory landscape for AI in education and engage with relevant authorities and organizations to ensure your client’s technology aligns with industry standards and best practices. Being proactive in regulatory compliance can greatly enhance trust among all stakeholders, support sales and marketing efforts, and – at the consumer level – equip students with tools to vastly accelerate comprehension and achievement.