Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, is set to tell audience members in a speech at the Bett Show in London that artificial intelligence (AI) has the ability to transform the day-to-day lives of teachers all over the United Kingdom.
Keegan’s speech will coincide with the publication of statement from the Department of Education, which will set out the benefits and risks that would come with a widespread introduction of AI into education.
For many years now, technology experts have said that AI is the future of digital technology and we are beginning to see some of its potential with the launch of ChatGPT – an online tool that can write detailed and sophisticated responses to any question or command entered into its search bar.
In a report on the government website ahead of the speech, Keegan said:
“AI will have the power to transform a teacher’s day-to-day work. We’ve seen people using it to write lesson plans and some interesting experiments around marking too.
“Can it do those things, to the standard we need? No. Should the time it saves ever come at the cost of the quality produced by a skilled teacher? Absolutely not. But could we get to a point where the tasks that really drain teachers’ time are significantly reduced? I think we will.
“Getting to that point is a journey we in this room are going to have to go on together – and just as we’ve responded to other innovations like the calculator, we’ll use it to deliver better outcomes for students.”
The concerns around artificial intelligence in education
Since ChatGPT launched, there have been concerns among education leaders across all levels about how the software could be used by students to cheat. In theory, students would be able to ask ChatGPT to write their essays and assessments for them and then simply proofread the response to check it all makes sense.
A number of Russell Group universities have already banned ChatGPT from their servers amid fears that students have already been doing this and the Education Secretary has acknowledged “the risks that AI brings to education”.
She added that she would soon be publishing a plan that outlines how educators can get the most out of AI, while also protecting the sector against the risks. Keegan is adamant that “it can’t be the tail that wags the dog.”
Despite the Education Secretary’s bullish approach, exam boards announced yesterday that they are now urging schools to ensure that all coursework should be completed in the classroom under strict supervision due to concerns about GPT.
Meanwhile, Daisy Christodoulou, Director of Education at No More Marking has told MPs that ChatGPT spells the end for continuous assessment coursework. She said:
“People don’t realise just how powerful tools like ChatGPT are, that it’s capable of producing original, quite hard to detect, relatively high-quality responses to any kind of question.
“They won’t be perfect, but they’ll be good enough for a lot of students and I think that means that uncontrolled assessments become very, very problematic.”
The Department for Education is also set to announce further support for schools to get them up to speed before they can introduce powerful technology. New technology such as cloud tech, updated servers, and filtering/monitoring will boost learning outcomes and help schools save money.
One major change will the be introduction of a new digital tool that will help senior leaders with technology planning. The tool will be able to demonstrate to leaders how their technology matches up with digital standards and suggest areas of improvement.
The service will be piloted in Blackpool and Portsmouth later this year before being rolled out across the rest of the country. It builds on the promise the government made in the School White Paper last year to “fix the basics” in school technology.
Last year, Rishi Sunak vowed to transform the education sector as one of his top priorities. Part of that transformation should include introducing artificial intelligence to the sector because if we don’t, then we are in danger of falling behind the rest of the world from a technological standpoint.
While ChatGPT is far from perfect in its current form, there is no reason why it can’t get to a point in a couple of years’ time where teachers are able to plan their lessons with support from the tool (or equivalent) at the very least.
Levelling Up Commission
Through roundtable meetings with MPs and senior leaders of local and regional government from across the UK, quantitative data analysis and regional sprints, the Commission intends to set out a series of recommendations to consider how regional inequalities can be reduced from the perspective of public services in four key areas:
- Health and Social Care
- Housing and Homelessness
- Education, Skills and Training
- Crime, Justice and Rehabilitation
To hear thought leaders discuss levelling up in health and social care, signup to the Commission first inquiry session here.
To learn more about the commission, get in touch with our policy lead Shivani Sen at email@example.com