Keegan: Teachers’ work could be ‘transformed’ by AI

Education secretary believes artificial intelligence will 'reduce drain of tasks on teachers' time'

Education secretary believes artificial intelligence will 'reduce drain of tasks on teachers' time'

Education secretary Gillian Keegan unveiled the government's final pay offer to teaching unions earlier this week

Teachers’ day-to-day work could be “transformed” by artificial intelligence (AI), but it’s not yet at the standard needed, the education secretary will say today.

Gillian Keegan will use a speech at the Bett Show ed tech event in London to set out the government’s position on AI in education.

It comes amid a growing debate about the role that AI like ChatGPT will play in education.

“We’ve seen people using [AI] to write lesson plans and some interesting experiments around marking too,” Keegan is expected to say.

“Can it do those things now, 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.”

The Department for Education will also publish a “statement” to set “out the opportunities and risks that come with AI for education”.

It comes as exam board guidance for schools set out yesterday how to “protect the integrity of qualifications” amid fears of cheating using ChatGPT.

Schools should make students do some coursework in class “under direct supervision” to make sure they are not misusing AI, the guidance stated.

Keegan will call on the education and technology sectors to “work together, with government, to maximise” potential and “manage the risks”.

She will say: “AI will have the power to transform a teacher’s day-to-day work.

“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.”

Digital tool to be piloted

DfE will also update its digital and technology standards to help “schools save money and create secure learning environments”, a press release stated. This covers cloud technology, servers and storage and filtering and monitoring.

A new “digital service” will be launched to help school leaders with technology planning.

The tool will benchmark their technology against digital standards, suggest areas of improvement and provide actionable steps.

But the service will be piloted first in Blackpool and Portsmouth in September 2023, before being “rolled out across the country”. No timescales were given on the wider implementation.

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