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AI in Education

01 May 2024

by William Horwood, Director of Libraries and Future Learning

In the last 12 months, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has stepped out of the realm of Science Fiction and into various aspects of our lives, including education.

As an institution that values seamless technology integration and innovation, we are embracing AI as a powerful tool to enhance teaching and learning. Choosing this approach not only improves learning outcomes but also aligns with our strategic pillar, 'Create,' which aims to foster lifelong learning adventures for our students and staff. 

Embracing the potential of AI in education has resulted in the delivery of a range of initiatives and workshops, aimed at reaching our whole community.

A key part of the rollout of AI at Penrhos has involved professional learning opportunities for our teaching staff. Our staff workshops delved into how generative AI works, its applications, ethical considerations and the responsibilities of the user. By developing staff understanding of AI, we hope to empower them to understand the role of AI in assessments – how to use AI to streamline their workflow; the importance of good, prompt engineering; and the ability to harness AI in a responsible, ethical and critical way.  

Our parent workshop was equally pivotal, fostering an understanding of AI's role in education and fortifying our educational philosophy, emphasising ethical usage, and supporting students in navigating AI's landscape responsibly. We look forward to continuing to build AI understanding with our parent community through further workshops in 2024.

Ethical Considerations

A crucial aspect of the introduction of AI into any area is the ethical implications and this is paramount to all new technologies. As new technologies develop at an exponential rate, so do data and privacy concerns. Therefore, we are extremely cognisant of the importance we must place on this aspect. 

This has led to the creation of comprehensive guidelines for both staff and students, ensuring the safe, ethical and effective utilisation of AI tools. The release of the AI Acceptable Use Guidelines were supported with student workshops, for students from Year 7 to Year 11. These workshops were designed to help students fully understand their responsibilities regarding AI use while also maintaining their privacy and data security.

Leveraging AI within the College

Another way we have leveraged AI in our school is by engaging our students in AI-assisted tasks and projects. The English Department has led the way integrating AI in innovative and meaningful ways. For example, in a novel analysis unit, AI was used to help students generate summaries, questions, and insights – fostering deeper understanding and reflection. 

In a graphic novel unit, students used AI in narrative construction, encouraging collaboration and creativity. Canva's AI tools have also been employed to support students in story development and collaborative prompt creation. 

Our Secondary students have also leveraged AI as a tutor and mentor for various subjects and skills. In our STEM program, a talented group of students harnessed AI to create algorithms to create assistive technology for those who have colour blindness.

Our Junior School students haven’t been left out – and were supported to utilise generative AI tools to create professional quality products with Year 6 students creating stunning artwork using Adobe's generative AI features.  

The Future of AI at Penrhos

Looking forward, the potential for AI in education appears promising. The evolving landscape suggests that AI's integration will eventually render the technology seamlessly accessible, minimising the learning curve. To me, this is already the case with many of Apple’s applications of AI. However, we also acknowledge the challenges and limitations associated with AI use in education. 

Educators should leverage AI's benefits for personalised learning while being mindful of ethical, pedagogical, and assessment implications, especially for younger learners. AI augments learning but cannot replace human creativity, critical thinking, or collaboration. Therefore, its use in education requires discernment, responsibility, and evidence-based guidance.