It's no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the world we live in.

From healthcare to finance, entertainment to transportation, AI is making a significant impact on our daily lives. And as technology advances, so too does the need for education to keep up.


That's where educational leaders come in.

We all have some responsibility for leadership in a time of disruption like this. Educational leaders are not limited to job titles and include anyone in school buildings that take the lead in helping students succeed. This includes teachers, support staff, administrators, and anyone else that displays leadership attributes.


We are all responsible for preparing our fellow teachers and students for the AI revolution. But this isn't going to be an easy task. It's going to take courage and innovation to embrace these new technologies and the changes to teaching that will occur.

Educational leaders will need to be brave enough to take risks, experiment with new approaches, and embrace change. They'll need to be willing to challenge the status quo, question traditional teaching methods, and be open to new ideas.

But here's the thing - by doing so, educational leaders can unlock incredible benefits for themselves, their teachers, and their students. They can create a learning environment that is engaging, dynamic, and relevant to the needs of the 21st century.


By being courageous and innovative, educational leaders can help their teachers and students to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the AI revolution. They can prepare them for a future where AI is not just a tool, but an integral part of daily life.

So, my message to all educational leaders out there is this - be brave, be bold, and be innovative. Embrace the AI revolution and lead your teachers and students to a brighter future. It won't be easy, but the rewards will be more than worth it.

I have mentioned Vijay Govindarajan’s Three Box Solution to Managing Innovation in previous articles. I had the pleasure of studying innovation under him recently at Dartmouth University.

In his model he argues that any organization that wants to survive needs to spend time in and dedicate resources to Box 3:

Are we up to the task?

The virtues of an AI educational leader

As education enters the AI revolution, it is crucial for leaders to possess certain virtues to guide their teachers and students through this change:

  • Collaborative
  • Inclusive
  • Adaptable
  • Ethical
  • Learners

Of course, these are virtues that all leaders should possess anyway, but here’s some suggestions on how to apply them in the AI revolution.

Virtue 1: Collaborative

No one knows everything when it comes to new AI.

Leaders will need to:

Work with edtech companies to develop AI-powered educational tools that help students learn more effectively and staff be more productive.

Collaborate with schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations to share data, insights, expertise, and resources.

Bring together diverse teams with different perspectives, skills, and experiences to develop AI solutions that are ethical, unbiased, and inclusive.

Encourage open communication and transparency to build trust with stakeholders and ensure that the AI systems are aligned with the school's mission and values.

By being collaborative, educational leaders can build a strong foundation in their organization for the AI revolution, ensuring that the AI used is effective, ethical, and meets the needs of their students and staff.

This will lead to increased innovation and progress.


Did you know TeacherGoals Publishing is launching a book on artificial intelligence in education?

The AI Classroom is a must-read for all educators!

Virtue 2: Inclusive

Inclusivity is multi-faceted.

From access to technology, development of skills, and ensuring diversity in thought. Leaders will need to:

Prevent another digital divide and provide access to these revolutionary learning tools, where they can. Educational leaders can work to provide access to hardware and software resources that enable students to learn and experiment with AI.

This could include access to AI development kits, cloud-based AI platforms, and other tools that allow students to utilize this powerful technology.

Organise training programs and workshops: Inclusive educational leaders can organize workshops and training sessions that are open to all, regardless of their previous experience or knowledge. These programs can help to demystify AI and make it more accessible to a wider range of students.

Foster a diverse community: Educational leaders can actively work to create a diverse community of AI learners and practitioners. This could involve reaching out to underrepresented groups and encouraging their participation in AI-related activities.

Create mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities: Inclusive educational leaders can work with local businesses and organizations to provide mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities for students.

This can help to provide students with hands-on experience with AI technology and give them the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals.

Encourage interdisciplinary learning: Inclusive educational leaders can encourage interdisciplinary learning and collaboration across different fields, such as computer science, engineering, and the social sciences. This can help to broaden the understanding of AI and its potential impact on education and society.

By implementing these strategies, leaders can help to ensure that the benefits of the AI revolution are accessible to all students, regardless of their background. This will help to prevent a digital divide and create a more diverse and innovative community of AI practitioners.

Virtue 3: Adaptable

We’re in for a fast ride. 

The ability to be agile in leadership, forget previous learning, and embrace new possibilities will be vital. Leaders can do this by:

Keeping up with new technologies and tools: AI is an ever-evolving field, and there are always new tools and technologies emerging that can help educators better understand student needs and tailor their teaching to meet those needs.

An adaptable leader will stay up to date with these developments and be willing to try out new tools and technologies to see how they can benefit their students.

Adjusting their teaching strategies: As new tools and technologies come into play, they may require different teaching strategies to be effective. Adaptable leaders are able to adjust their teaching strategies to make the most of these tools, tailoring their approach to meet the unique needs of their students.

Widening their networks: Adaptability also means being open to collaboration with others, whether that's other educators, tech experts, or industry professionals.

By working together, leaders can stay up to date with the latest developments in AI and use this knowledge to improve their own teaching and student outcomes.

Learning from mistakes: Finally, an adaptable leader will be willing to learn from their mistakes and make adjustments to their approach as needed. In the world of AI, where things are always changing, this is especially important, as it can help educators avoid getting stuck in a particular way of doing things and instead stay open to new possibilities.

Adaptability is difficult, but the strategies that we’ve relied on for so long will very quickly start to fail.

Virtue 4: Ethical

In the AI revolution, educational leaders have access to powerful technology that can transform the way education is delivered. However, this technology can also pose significant ethical challenges. Leaders will need to know that:

AI has the potential to impact many aspects of our lives, and if these systems are not designed and implemented ethically, they can cause harm to individuals and society as a whole.

Education leaders have a responsibility to ensure that AI systems are designed and used ethically to avoid potential harm.

Biased AI algorithms can perpetuate discrimination and inequality in the education system, exacerbating existing disparities. Educational leaders who prioritize ethics can help ensure that practice is designed in a way that is fair and equitable.

Being ethical in the use of AI can help build trust and credibility with stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, and the broader community. When AI systems are implemented with transparency and accountability, people are more likely to trust and embrace them.

Educational leaders who prioritize ethics in the use of AI can help close achievement gaps and ensure that all students have equal opportunities to succeed.

Leaders who prioritize ethics in the use of AI can contribute to a world where AI is used for the greater good - to improve education and therefore the successes of their students and staff.

Virtue 5: Lifelong Learners

The best leaders are continually learning.

Leaders in the educational AI revolution can keep learning by:

Keeping up with the latest trends: They need to stay on top of the latest trends and innovations in the field. This means reading academic journals, attending conferences, and staying up to date with the latest research. By doing so, they can ensure that their school is using the most cutting-edge AI technologies to enhance teaching and learning.


Knowing the right time to shift focus: AI is constantly evolving, which means that as educational leaders, they need to be adaptable and able to change their approach when necessary. Being a lifelong learner means being open to new ideas and being willing to learn from mistakes.

Fostering a culture of learning: Having the power to influence the culture of learning is vital. By being lifelong learners themselves, they can model the importance of continuous learning and inspire others to do the same. This can lead to a more innovative and forward-thinking school culture, which will benefit both teachers and students.

Asking for advice from their network: Being a lifelong learner also means connecting with other educational leaders in the field. This can help them stay up to date with the latest trends, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects. By building a strong network they can create a community of support.

I hope you are a leader who can develop these virtues so that true innovation can take place. 

I honestly believe we are at crossroads right now. Ignoring AI now will exasperate the existing digital divide that many of our students suffer from.

Be sure to check out The AI Classroom to learn how to stay ahead of the curve with artificial intelligence in education!

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Top 5 Virtues of an Artificial Intelligence Educational Leader was authored by:
Dan Fitzpatrick

Dan Fitzpatrick is the Strategic Lead for Digital Skills at Education Partnership North East, Director at Edufuturists and founder of ThirdBox. He has an M.A. from Durham University, a PGCE from UCL and a Post Graduate Diploma in Design Thinking & Innovation from MIT.

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