children using computers in education

Teachers need training to ‘understand impact of AI’ in classrooms, BCS says

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Understanding AI should be part of teacher training courses and headteachers’ leadership qualifications, the professional body for computing has recommended.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has said that the use of digital technology, including AI in the classroom, should be more prominent in teacher training programmes.

The measures will help teachers use AI tools and other packages for lesson planning, creating worksheets and marking – and to better understand how students are using AI at home, BCS said.

Schools should also be asked to publish digital strategies covering areas like cyber security, backed by professional IT staff, it added.

Concerns have been ramping up in recent months that education facilities are not equipped to deal with the more advanced era of conversational AI ushered in last year by ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is a large-language model chatbot which can answer questions in a seemingly natural way and is trained on a massive data set.

A BCS survey in February found that 62 per cent of education professionals believe that chatbots will make it harder to mark students’ work fairly.

It has been shown to be able to create passing-grade answers even at university level – including passing law exams at one university.

Julia Adamson, managing director for education and public benefit at BCS said: “Teachers and school support staff should be able to use digital technology in every aspect of their work; but they aren’t trained to do that and are being let down.

“We are calling for the National Professional Qualifications for heads and leaders to include having a vision for the safe and effective use of technology in their schools, including understanding of the impact of AI.

“Teachers’ use of technology in learning and assessment should also be a key part of initial teacher training (ITT) and accredited professional development programmes – and, again, AI needs to be included.

“We should also develop professional standards for IT staff working in educational institutions and require schools and colleges to publish digital strategies.

“The big challenge for any government guidance and training is to be agile enough to keep up with how quickly AI and regulation is moving.”

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