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The AI Imperative: Why Schools Must Have A Seat At The Table

In the future, every school will use AI.


They may not call it AI, which would be great, but they’ll use it.


The benefits are just too vast, from generating content for policies and marking to enhancing teaching methodologies that drive student outcomes, including Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and revision bots. We're looking at an era of automation where AI executes tasks as directed.


If education was easy, maybe this prediction wouldn't come about. But education is hard. There is never enough money, teachers or time. We all know about retention issues and hiring targets not being met. Meanwhile the demands of educators increase...


More work, less time all whilst aiming to prepare students for a future that seems increasingly alien and more advanced than anything for which we're currently equipped.


The future is going to be very different for our young people - they're set to enter a job market characterised by heightened competition, where robots can perform tasks and biotechnology has the capability to alter genes. We're woefully unprepared, but clinging to the past only hinders progress. Technology marches on, and the future awaits our young with open arms, or perhaps cold, metallic ones.


This impending future, although daunting, is inevitable.


It's tempting to bury our heads in the sand, wait for the storm to blow over... but reluctance to admit the world is changing will only act as a bottleneck. The exponential growth fostered by new technologies marches on and the sooner schools harness and control AI the better.


For schools, AI has can reclaim time for teachers. Completing administrative tasks with ever increasing dexterity and efficiency. It may reduce teacher turnover and stress associated with excessive workloads. Improving teacher wellbeing as well as pupil outcomes.


But there is another reason. Teachers need to use AI so they are aware of what their pupils are already using. To highlight its faults and risks, from sharing sensitive data to manipulation. In an age of deep fakes and algorithm driven content educators must teach digital literacy and AI ethics to help children critically assess technology's influence on information, preparing them to challenge and discern between real and fake.


But the pressing question remains: which form of AI is appropriate? Currently, schools have three options: AI providers, AI wrappers, and AI workshops:


  • Providers like OpenAI, Google and Meta have built huge Large Language Models (LLMs). They are powerful prediction models, some are better at certain tasks such as emotive language or maths. Some have free access where you exchange your data (please, never upload anything you wouldn't want your neighbour to know) and accept the role as a Guinea Pigs testers. Or opting for paid subscriptions that offer enhanced features, typically costing around $20, and at the pinnacle, enterprise access for universities and companies, which comes with a significant price tag.

  • Next we have wrappers, companies utilising Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to access the capabilities of LLMs from providers like OpenAI, presenting them via simplified chatbots. They might also impose specific rules or roles on the AI, forcing it to undertake tasks such as lesson planning, scheme of work generation and creative writing. The appeal here lies in the simplicity and affordability, making AI more accessible. Convenience comes at a cost, though. Data management and control vanishes. You can only use the chatbots available and specificity takes a nosedive as you can't determine what the AI uses to answer questions. Ask about the Civil War, and you'll likely get the American one, not the Chinese or English ones.

  • So that’s leaves workshops. Interactive Tutor - my company is a workshop. We believe that for tools to be genuinely useful, they must not only adapt to user needs but also leverage powerful technologies in a safe and reliable manner. Workshops offer choice, so users can combine the robust capabilities of LLMs with the flexibility required to meet specific needs. With a workshop - the teacher, SLT, SENCO, governor or parent can create the AI they need, for what they need. From selecting the right LLM for tasks like reasoning or image generation or customising the AI's training data with specific information for it to work from all done in a way that protects, and doesn't share, your information.


The rationale behind creating an AI workshop for education extends beyond current needs; as in the classroom it's about keeping pace with rapid technological evolution.


At present, AI can communicate; soon, it will perform actions—writing timetables, notifying staff, reading emails, and drafting responses based on school policies.


It could even render Ofsted inspections obsolete (fingers crossed) by automatically capturing essential information and aiding the senior leadership team in addressing gaps.


Interactive Tutor aims to facilitate all these functionalities, the tools in our workshop will continually evolve alongside technological advancements, thereby offering our subscribers an ever-expanding array of capabilities.


AI will effect your school; it's crucial to select a partner who aligns with your goals. At Interactive Tutor, we're here to make AI work for you. Talk with us or request a consultation with one of our certified trainers and education consultants to learn more.


In the meantime, we'll keep building "Simply the Best AI for Schools!".


 

Alexander Fahie

Alexander Fahie is Founder and CEO of Interactive Tutor, the fastest growing AI for schools in England and Wales.




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