by Emma Hudson, Content & Services Manager
Two hot topics of conversation right now in the education space are AI and sustainability. Both have large implications for the future of teaching and learning, and here we delve into these topics to better understand their impact and potential.
1. There’s more to AI than ChatGPT
Recent advancements in AI causes most people to initially think of large generative AI apps, such as ChatGPT, when the topic of AI is brought up in conversation. For years, AI has quietly been transforming education through big data in assessment and the use of ‘narrow AI’, which performs simple tasks like text to speech. Through tracking mouse clicks and working out the probability of a child getting a question correct, we can quickly predict which children and which schools need more support in certain subject areas. These technologies have enhanced personalised learning experiences in the past and will continue to do so, allowing teachers to focus on guiding students towards academic success.
2. Critical thinking in the age of AI
As AI gains prominence in the classroom, it’s crucial for students to improve their critical thinking skills. With 30% of young people turning to social media for news, being able to distinguish fact from fiction is an important life skill. Integrating critical thinking into lessons and educational resources helps students to navigate information and make informed decisions.
3. Embracing AI in the classroom
Curiosity is key! Teachers need time and resources to learn about the AI tools available to them and how to get the most value from them. As an industry, we must establish best practices with AI that make a positive difference to learning. Now is the time for collaborative efforts between everyone in the education space to define these practices and ensure responsible AI integration whilst bearing in mind that there is a still a digital divide across schools.
4. AI is not perfect
It’s essential to acknowledge that whilst AI has transformative potential, it also has imperfections. Moments of ‘artificial hallucination’ can occur in applications such as ChatGPT highlighting the need for ongoing development. Some teachers have taken the opportunity to use these flaws as a lesson in class, asking ChatGPT to write a geography essay and then prompting students to find errors and missed facts. It’s also been proven that ChatGPT struggles with counting! Recent studies have shown that there is still a long way to go before AI can be accurately used for marking assessments. For example, it’s possible to ‘fool’ AI by writing the same paragraph multiple times. A human marker would spot this quickly. AI does not.
5. Beyond climate change
Sustainability education extends beyond climate change. A recent survey looking at students’ attitudes to sustainability shows that students want to delve deeper into sustainability topics that impact their everyday lives. Understanding how to live sustainably is vital, and students express a strong desire to make conscious choices that contribute to a sustainable future. By building environment and sustainability into the classroom across Early Years, Primary and Secondary allows students to have a well-rounded understanding.
6. Curriculum creation in sustainability
The integration of sustainability into curricula is gaining momentum, with some Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) creating their own sustainability content across various subjects including science, geography, literacy and art. This holistic approach ensures that sustainability becomes an integral part of the curriculum.
AI and sustainability offer boundless opportunities and provide much food for thought when creating educational resources. By embracing both, we can not only create a learning environment which prepares students for a future defined by technological advancements and sustainability practices, but we can also find innovative ways to teach and assess learning.
Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss how we can help you incorporate these exciting trends into your resources.