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BCS calls for training in AI for teachers


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Julia Adamson
Julia Adamson
Image source: BCS

BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, has said that an understanding of AI should be part of teacher training courses and headteachers' leadership qualifications.

It has recommended that using the technology, including in the classroom, should be prominent in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and National Professional Qualifications for school leaders.

The measures would help teachers use AI tools and other packages for lesson planning, creating worksheets and marking, and to better understand how students are using AI at home, it said.

In addition, schools should be asked to publish digital strategies covering areas like cyber security, backed by professional IT staff.

Julia Adamson, managing director for education and public benefit at BCS said: “Teachers and school support staff should be able to use digital technology in every aspect of their work; but they aren’t trained to do that and are being let down.

“We are calling for the National Professional Qualifications for heads and leaders to include having a vision for the safe and effective use of technology in their schools, including understanding of the impact of AI.

“Teachers’ use of technology in learning and assessment should also be a key part of initial teacher training (ITT) and accredited professional development programmes - and, again, AI needs to be included.

“We should also develop professional standards for IT staff working in educational institutions and require schools and colleges to publish digital strategies.

“The big challenge for any government guidance and training is to be agile enough to keep up with how quickly AI and regulation is moving.”

School leaders' letter

The recommendations have come after a letter to The Times by school leaders, led by Sir Anthony Seldon, headteacher of Epsom College, warning of a lack of policy guidance on AI in education. The group announced a new-cross sector body made up of leading teachers and guided by independent tech experts.

BCS’ Computing at School (CAS) network earlier this year rated fellow teachers’ understanding of ChatGPT as ‘low’ or ‘very low’. CAS said most schools did not have plans for the impact of AI.

Guidance from the Joint Council for Curriculum and Qualifications (JCQ) in March said schools should make students do some coursework in class “under direct supervision” to stop misuse of AI.

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