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Making the most of AI

Artificial intelligence is with us and leading schools are discovering how to bring out the best it has to offer.

NEWS 24 Apr 2024

The brave new world of AI is stirring up plenty of debate and Haileybury Rendall School has closely followed discussions about artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on the world of education.

From ChatGPT and using AI to generate images and practice exam questions, to helping students gain deeper understanding when researching projects, HRS is looking at the benefits of AI for students and teachers.

Michelle Dennis, Head of Digital at Haileybury believes that, with the right guidance, AI can broaden learning, encourage creativity and critical thinking, and make better use of teaching and study times.

The AI balance

“As a school, the challenge is finding a balance,” says Michelle.

“AI is undoubtedly changing jobs now and into the future and the way to protect students in that dramatically shifting world is to make sure they know how to use AI.

“As educators, we can give students digital citizenship as well as an ability to talk about the consequences of AI and how society can put guardrails around it. We’re just at the beginning of seeing what can be done with AI in schools”
Michelle Dennis, Head of Digital

Guiding principles

To underpin how AI is used across the School, five guiding principles have been developed: academic integrity, critical thinking and ethics, privacy and security, creative uses, and key skills.

Academic integrity encourages students to acknowledge the use of ChatGPT and other AI platforms for assignments, and teachers are also using products with AI detectors to support academic integrity.

“Critical thinking is focused on students being able to pull apart AI and think about concepts, results and potential biases,” explains Michelle.

To ensure privacy and security, students are reminded not to submit personal information when using AI platforms and only approved platforms can be used within school.

“From a creativity perspective, we are training students to find ways to use AI to help them learn better and to add value to their learning. Finally, we don’t want AI to take over the development of foundational skills, such as mathematical and writing skills. So, while embracing AI, we want students to have opportunities to develop key skills for success later on,” says Michelle.

HRS at the forefront

AI is already present in HRS classrooms says Briony Watson, Head of Digital Innovation.

HRS is a Microsoft Showcase School; one of a select number of schools worldwide that uses the latest Microsoft tools to ensure students have future-ready technology skills. HRS staff are also supported to stay up to date with new tools, such as the AI-driven Copilot.

HRS teachers are joining colleagues at Haileybury Melbourne to better understand how Copilot can enhance student learning and teacher workloads. Like ChatGPT, Copilot can provide information, answer questions, and generate stories, translations and codes.

“AI is very new for education, and it can seem quite confronting. We need to develop a mindset so we can use AI for its potential benefits,” says Briony.

A brave new digital world

“There are lots of opportunities for AI to reduce workloads so teachers can spend more time teaching students. It offers exciting possibilities for image generation, too, and a lot of our students are exploring how they can use AI in the world of design. It can also be used by computing students to check their code to see if it works, or to proofread a document to save time.

“Two or three years ago, we didn’t know what AI was and now it is everywhere and evolving at a rapid pace. HRS has embraced AI from day one so we can equip our students to enter the digital world with knowledge and confidence.”