Key research question

How can Artificial Intelligence be effectively and equitably integrated into adult tertiary education in Aotearoa New Zealand? 



The project is scheduled to be completed February 2025.

Sub questions

  • What are the current perceptions and understanding of AI among adult tertiary educators in Aotearoa New Zealand?
  • Which AI tools and technologies are most accessible and relevant for adult tertiary education settings?
  • What are the ethical considerations when implementing AI in adult tertiary education?
  • How can AI contribute to achieving equitable educational outcomes, particularly for Māori, Pacific, and neurodiverse learners?
  • What models or frameworks exist for successfully integrating AI into adult tertiary education?


ako staff profile Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith

Project Co-Leader

Independent researcher
Ako Aotearoa Michael Grawe

Michael Grawe

Project Co-Leader

Independent researcher


In progress


$42,500.00 (excl GST)

$32,500.00 Ako Aotearoa Research and Innovation Agenda (AARIA)
$10,000.00 Organisation contribution

How will answering these questions help?

The integration of AI into adult tertiary education is an emerging field with significant potential but also challenges. There's a lack of comprehensive understanding among educators about how to effectively and ethically utilise AI. This project aims to fill that knowledge gap.

The team hypothesize that a well-designed, equitable approach to integrating AI can enhance the quality of adult tertiary education, particularly in achieving better outcomes for all learners, including Māori, Pacific, and neurodiverse individuals. 

Expected Outcomes

Impact on the Practice of Ako

  • Informed Decision-Making: The project will provide educators with insights into the effective and ethical use of AI, thereby informing curriculum design and teaching methodologies.
  • Capability Building: By identifying accessible and relevant AI tools, the project will contribute to professional development, equipping educators with the skills to integrate AI into their practice.
  • Quality Assurance: The ethical considerations outlined in the project will help serve as a guideline for quality assurance in the implementation of AI in education, aligning with compliance and governance frameworks.
  • Innovation: The project will seek to introduce innovative methods and tools into the educational landscape, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and adaptation.
  • Collaboration: The project could serve as a model for other organisations, encouraging collaborative efforts in enhancing the quality of education.

Impact on Ākonga

While our primary goal is to help kaiako (educators) with ways to integrate AI into their teaching, there may also be benefits for ākonga (learners). AI integration may contribute in the following areas:

  • Equitable Outcomes: identify how AI can be used to tailor educational experiences for all learners, including those who are Māori, Pacific, and neurodiverse.
  • Engagement: Effective use of AI could lead to more engaging and interactive learning experiences, thereby increasing learner satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Accessibility: AI can make educational resources more accessible, benefiting learners who may have different learning needs or face geographical constraints.
  • Career Readiness: Understanding and interacting with AI tools can also prepare learners for the workforce, where such technologies are increasingly prevalent. 
  • Learner Autonomy: AI can provide real-time feedback and adaptive learning paths, empowering learners to take more control over their own educational journey.

Organisational and Broader Impact

As mentioned our main focus is on how AI integration may be of value to educators; however, there could also be broader possible impacts, improving teaching and learning outcomes and fostering innovation in education.

  • Scalability: The project's findings could serve as a model that can be scaled and adapted by other educational organisations.
  • Policy Influence: The research could inform educational policy, particularly in the area of technology integration and equitable education.
  • Community Building: By sharing the project's findings and collaborating with other organisations, the project could contribute to building a community of practice around AI in education.