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Exploring the Impact of AI on Education and our Preparing Students for the Future

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, it is vital for educational institutions to equip students with the skills needed for success in the 21st century. At NEAT Academy Trust, we are committed to ensuring that our students are prepared for the future by incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) education into our curriculum.

As the digital sector continues to grow, it has become clear that AI holds significant potential for future employment opportunities. Industries such as healthcare, finance, and education are already beginning to leverage the power of AI to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and enhance decision-making. Recognizing this, we believe it is essential to empower our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate an AI-driven world.

On Friday, 27th Oct, Head of IT Andrew Buxton and Head of Digital, Helen Symonds-Taylor attended the Dymano Talks event hosted by Northumbria University.  

Led by Dr. Kimberley Hardcastle, Assistant Professor in Marketing at Northumbria University, the event brought together a panel of distinguished experts in their fields. Dr. Colin Richardson, Assistant Professor in Business Information Systems and Data Analytics, Karen Marshall, Apprentice Education and Engagement Lead at Accenture, Kevin Telford, Strategy Consultant at Monstarlab, Lucy Batley, Owner of Traction Industries, and Matthew Edwards, Senior Data Scientist at the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD), shared their insights on AI’s challenges and opportunities.

 As the digital sector continues to grow in the northeast, we recognise that AI is an area of immense opportunity for future employment. That’s why we were committed to adapting our curriculum and supporting our students in acquiring the necessary digital skills that would prepare them for this ever-evolving world.

Key takeaways from the AI session at Dynamo Talks: 

The session focused on three themes: risk, regulation, and strategy. Thoughts were captured to help form a strategy, and the announcement of the formation of the North East AI Sustainability Network was made. 

 – Machine learning and narrow AI were explored as tools to solve problems and enhance teaching and learning. 

 – The risks discussed included trust, underlying algorithms, validity, and cybersecurity. Concerns were raised about big tech companies controlling AI development and potential job displacement. 

 – The discussion touched on GDPR, data collection, and storage ethics, as well as the potential impact of AI on jobs and economic opportunities. 

 – Ethics and unbiased algorithms were emphasized as important considerations in AI development. 

 – The opportunities for innovation, democratising education, and addressing educational divides were explored. 

 – The challenges of regulating AI, both nationally and internationally, were acknowledged. It was stressed that governments should work together and be transparent in regulating AI. 

 – The session highlighted how AI can benefit secondary schools and stressed the importance of developing an AI strategy for organisations.

  – Upskilling students and staff, teaching critical thinking skills, and addressing the skills shortage in the AI sector were discussed.

The session closed with Chi Onwurah, Labour MP, emphasising the Northeast’s positioning for AI innovation while acknowledging the importance of balancing risks and benefits.

 At NEAT Academy Trust, our Cradle to Careers ambition lies at the heart of everything we do. We strive to provide our students with a holistic educational experience that not only nurtures their academic abilities but also equips them with the skills needed for lifelong success. By integrating Digital, including AI education into our curriculum, we are building a strong foundation for our students and enabling them to thrive in an ever-changing digital landscape.

 NEAT is at the start of an exciting Digtial learning journey.  Our commitment to embracing AI education is underpinned by our belief that every student should have access to the tools and opportunities they need to maximise their potential. By preparing our students for the future world of work, we are empowering them to create positive change within their communities and contribute meaningfully to society.

We are excited about the journey ahead and the doors that AI education will open for our students. We continue to evolve our curriculum to meet the demands of the digital era. Our ambition is to ensure that our pupils are equipped with the necessary digital skills to succeed in an AI-driven world whilst at the same time ensuring we mitigate the potential risks.