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AI in Education: Strategies, Successes, and Lessons Learned

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Chris Goodall

Head of Digital Education, Bourne Education Trust

Adopting AI in education can be transformative, but its integration is not without challenges. This piece offers insights into the initial pitfalls faced during the implementation of AI tools like ChatGPT in the classroom, along with the corrective measures taken, highlighting the unexpected benefits realised when training teaching assistants.

The integration of AI into the educational sector promises groundbreaking advancements. However, it's essential to approach its integration thoughtfully. Our journey began with enthusiasm, leading us to rapidly introduce various AI applications. Our primary focus was on teachers, under the assumption that they would derive the most benefit from these tools.

However, we soon realised some missteps:

Speed of Implementation: Our eagerness led us to introduce AI tools at a pace that wasn't universally appreciated. Staff members' readiness to embrace these changes varied widely. While some were eager trailblazers, others required more time and support.

Choosing the Right Tools: In the initial excitement, we introduced various AI apps, many of which were mere replications of existing tools like ChatGPT. This not only diluted our core message but also created confusion among the staff.

Target Audience: Our primary training was directed at teachers. Though they benefited, we overlooked a critical group: teaching assistants (TAs). Once TAs were trained, we realised that AI could profoundly impact the support they offer, especially to SEN students.

As a result of these learnings, we streamlined our approach:

We now offer weekly updates with structured messages to cater to the diverse needs of our staff.

We focus on promoting high-quality AI tools, introducing new ones only when they offer unique value.

Our training modules now equally prioritise TAs, recognising their crucial role in supporting vulnerable student groups.

Key Learning