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Turn of the Century: Artificial Intelligence in Education

May 8, 2018

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Sam Wignell is Head of Science and Technology at Ansford Academy. In this post he writes about his school’s experience using the artificial intelligence platform Century Tech to offer all students a personalised learning experience. 

Just a few years ago, the extent of technology in the classroom didn’t really stretch beyond the use of a smartboard and the teacher’s computer. We all use technology to make tasks easier, such as collecting assessment marks and analysing them, curation of PowerPoints and worksheets for a lesson and communicating with colleagues.

Over the course of this academic year, I have been implementing Century Tech at Ansford Academy. Century has had a huge impact so far. It’s Artificial Intelligence has personalised the learning pathway for each individual student, and its live data analytics have enabled meaningful interventions to happen with very short notice and with no manual manipulation of a spreadsheet.

Century is capable of analysing the way that students respond to different types of learning material and can change the learning material presented to different students. Data is also compared to other students nationally to enable Century to make comparisons and recommendations for further learning. Students are amazed by the platform’s ability to have a whole class review the same modules, yet give every student  a different experience.

Data is a teacher’s best friend, impacting how lessons are adapted based on the strengths and weaknesses of each individual, ensuring that all students can make progress. Data also shows us how effective our interventions have been.  A common problem with data is the regular manual maintenance required. Century can assess students and update itself, with no input from the teacher. This enables us to spend time coaching the students who need support rather than completing admin tasks.

Century is used as a homework tool enabling students to review prior learning, particularly in areas they found difficult. However, it can also be used as a flipped learning tool. It has a large amount of content that can be set for students to complete in advance of a lesson. This material is followed by an assessment. Using the platform in this way enables teachers to  refocus lessons and advance students further since less time is spent ensuring everyone has the same prior knowledge. Before the lesson, teachers can check to see who has a good grasp of the key ideas and highlight students who might benefit from working in a small support group.

As our Y11 students have been heading into exam season, Century has helped them get their revision on track. Revision is a daunting task for many students, the biggest hurdle being “where do I start?” Having a personalised pathway of recommended learning has mitigated this issue, helping students focus on the learning that is important to them. Century decides what learning material should be revisited more urgently, so students don’t have to remember the areas they have a hard time with.

Using AI has saved me countless hours over this academic year in marking and has made me a better teacher. Students have had a personalised experience, along with interventions at just the right time. Most importantly, it has freed up admin time, so I can dedicate more time to planning and teaching!

Whole Education is working with schools to help teachers use AI to save time and target interventions where they are most needed. To find out more, email RosieWe are also working with experts to think about the implications of AI for work and education. At our Annual Conference, Professor Rose Luckin and Sir Anthony Seldon were part of a panel debating Work In 2030.

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