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Artificial Intelligence Workshops

Article is by Andrew Dax, Head of Digital Strategy at Queen Anne's School.

 

'I am thrilled to share the success and impact of the recent AI workshops conducted for students in years 7 to 12 at Queen Anne's School. These workshops not only introduced students to the world of AI but also focused on essential aspects such as ethics, e-safety, academic integrity, and practical applications of AI.

Year 7 and 8: Exploring Bing AI for Information Retrieval and Revision Quizzes:

The workshops kicked off with a presentation and discussion about what AI truly is, ensuring that students had a solid understanding. We discussed the ethics of AI, transparency, and responsible use. Addressing e-safety concerns related to AI was also a crucial part of the discussion, empowering students to make informed choices in their digital lives.

For Year 7 and 8 students, the focus was on utilising Bing AI to search for information effectively and create engaging revision quizzes. By harnessing the power of AI, students discovered how to navigate vast online resources efficiently, ensuring accuracy and relevance in their research. Additionally, they learned how to leverage AI to construct interactive quizzes, fostering a dynamic and engaging approach to revision.

Year 9 and 10: GCSE AI Skills and Academic Support:

Year 9 and 10 students delved deeper into AI's practical applications. The workshops centred around supporting students with essential GCSE skills, including essay structure, AI feedback, Maths and Science equation assistance, and revision aids. Students were guided on how to structure prompts effectively, leveraging AI tools to receive constructive feedback on their writing. This process also honed critical thinking skills and analysis of AI output.

Year 12: Advanced Academic Skills and Ensuring Academic Integrity:

Year 12 students focused on refining their academic skills with AI support. The sessions revolved around advanced essay structuring techniques and utilising AI feedback features to enhance the quality of their work. Comparisons were made between AI feedback and that of their teachers. Interestingly, the results were very similar.

Emphasizing Academic Integrity: Combating Cheating and Dishonesty:

Throughout all year groups, one critical aspect was highlighted - the detrimental consequences of cheating and academic dishonesty with AI. Students were educated on the ethical boundaries and the importance of maintaining integrity in their academic work. By demonstrating real-life examples and engaging in meaningful discussions, we aimed to foster a culture of honesty and responsible AI use among students. The recommended outcome is that of transparency – students showing when and how they have used AI. This can be easily done by them providing screen clippings of their AI chats. If used to give feedback on an essay, they hand in the original + AI feedback + final version. This gives the teacher a full understanding of their progress and openly shows the use of AI. The teacher can also monitor the use and feedback given by AI and re-direct, if necessary.

Challenges of organising AI workshops across all year groups.

When organising interactive workshops for younger students, one significant challenge is the age restrictions imposed by many online platforms and tools. To set up an account on ChatGPT or Google Bard, individuals need to be 18 years old, and they must be over the age of 13 to use ChatGPT. So how can we  introduce students to complex concepts such as AI and provide them with engaging learning experiences?

Bing AI does not have the same limitations for use. Users under 18 must have parental consent and be over the age of 13. Using this in a controlled environment, such as the workshops being run, was a great way to introduce them to some of what AI is capable of for them. While Bing AI served as a suitable option for Years 7 and 8, offering a user-friendly interface and comprehensive search capabilities, Years 9, 10, and 12 required a more advanced AI platform. To overcome the age restrictions associated with many AI platforms, we explored alternative solutions to ensure that these students could still participate in interactive workshops and benefit from AI applications.

One effective approach we adopted to introduce ChatGPT to students in Years 9, 10, and 12 was to create a large number of school accounts specifically for students to use during the workshops. These accounts were carefully managed and supervised by staff to ensure a safe and secure environment. The school accounts not only enabled access to ChatGPT but also provided an opportunity for staff members and other students to use it for training purposes and academic support beyond the workshops. 

By setting up these dedicated accounts, we ensured that students in Years 9, 10, and 12 could fully engage with ChatGPT and explore its capabilities. This allowed them to trial AI-driven conversations, receive feedback on their work, and seek assistance with essay structuring, revision, and other academic tasks.

Moreover, the school accounts provided an additional layer of supervision and accountability. Staff members could monitor student interactions, review the generated content, and guide students on responsible AI usage and potential ethical considerations. This approach not only ensured compliance with age restrictions but also fostered a safe and supportive learning environment.

Communication and support for parents.

The AI workshops were followed-up with an information communication to parents. The communication included an overview of the workshop content, emphasising AI ethics, e-safety, the school's AI policy, and practical AI applications covered in each year group. Parents were provided with discussion prompts, resources, and references to engage in meaningful conversations about AI with their children. The communication emphasised the importance of transparency, responsible use, and parental involvement in supporting children's ethical AI practices. It aimed to empower parents to guide their children in using AI ethically, legally, transparently, and responsibly.

Mentions must go to the work of other colleagues and professionals whose work inspired the information and resources used; Chris Goodall, Dan Fitzpatrick, D-ID.'  

-Andrew Dax, Head of Digital Strategy