Education Secretary Addresses BETT 2023

AI Basics

Humanity’s great lightbulb moments, especially those of transformation, depend on someone turning inspiration into innovation.

Prior to becoming a member of parliament, he worked in business and technology for almost 30 years.

I spent many years in the financial sector. There, he specifically worked on developing digital payments and strengthened e-commerce and m-commerce. Remember.

And I got to see life-changing innovations in action.

Back then, when you bought a new TV, you were issued a simple magnetic stripe credit card. If you want to book a family vacation, you stand in line at a travel agency.

I was part of a coalition of banks and Mastercard. Developed early digital payments using chip and pin technology. This was a game changer for retail at the time.

Like many people in this room, I’ve seen some incredible technological transformations in my business career. I’ve seen innovation come to fruition and disrupt entire industries. And I learned a lot during my travels.

First, you can’t innovate if you don’t get the basics right.

Second, you need to know what problem you are trying to solve and not create new problems.

And third, what seems incredible now will become commonplace in a few years. Technology moves fast.

These lessons have been useful to me. I also think we have a lot to learn about education, where technology adoption is often slow.

Let’s look at the basics.

Top of the list is connectivity. I almost said “obviously”. But if some schools are still battling ice age broadband speeds, I don’t think it’s so obvious. is.

We are fulfilling last year’s pledge to have all schools connected to gigabit broadband by 2025.

We are sourcing schools in the South West of England and are working with schools in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and Humber to acquire new fiber infrastructure.

We are also upgrading school WiFi networks that do not meet connectivity standards in the 55 municipalities with the lowest school performance.

You have to get the basics right.

This leads me to my second point.

When it comes to technology, I’m not the first Secretary of Education to say that what schools need is something that actually works that solves real problems.

Technology that doesn’t work is an expensive and potentially dangerous mistake that schools can’t forgive.

That is why we are launching the latest set of technical standards. These build on what was announced last year and help schools develop effective and safe strategies. This includes protecting students from potentially harmful and inappropriate online materials.

In September, we will also launch pilot services in Blackpool and Portsmouth, which are priority areas for investment in education. This helps schools meet standards, make the most of technology and plan for the future more effectively.

For example, we know teachers still spend a lot of time on administration, lesson planning, and grading.

We know there are great products out there and many schools are using them. Many of the best nominated for tonight’s bet awards.

We are also pleased to see so many innovative math tools being introduced.

I want to make it easier for schools and colleges to understand what works for them. To do that, you need to see evidence of how your product works in the real world.

This brings us to our third and final point: the game changer.

artificial intelligence.

Like many education sectors, I know that the education sector has its fair share of false dawns when it comes to technology. Effective and integrated use of technology is already making a difference in some areas, but it really adds to the workload: planning, grading, and her 1-2-1 support for students. Tasks haven’t changed much.

AI has the power to transform teachers’ daily work. I’ve seen people using it to write lesson plans and some interesting experiments with grading.

Can we do those things now to the standards we need? Should I sacrifice the quality of skilled teachers to save time? Absolutely not.

But will it actually significantly reduce teacher time-wasting tasks?

Getting to that point is a journey that we in this room can take together. We use technology to do better for our students, just as we have responded to other innovations such as calculators and Google.

We help you try things out, see what works, help and assist you in working together to do the same for each other.

We started that journey today by releasing a slightly more detailed statement on the DfE website about the opportunities and risks AI poses to education.

We are really looking forward to working with regulators, educators, researchers, and industry experts from the technology sector to advance this effort.

This is part of the government’s innovative approach to AI regulation, as evidenced by the AI ​​white paper and the launch of the Foundation Model Taskforce, which will also look at the UK’s domestic capabilities in this important technology.

Hopefully soon we will be able to provide more detail on how you can establish a plan to maximize AI in education and protect against risks.

Technology is a tool, and while schools have yet to make the most of it, it can’t be a wagging tail for a dog.

Whether it’s Estonia’s unified education data or South Korea’s exemplary leadership in the AI ​​transition, we need to look to others for best practices. It’s great to see so many of you here today from abroad for that purpose, and to see people I’ve met before. But we also have to lead our own best practices.

We’ve already done it in banking, we’ve already done it in travel, we’ve done it in retail, music and entertainment. We can’t wait any longer to make it happen in education. I know I’m preaching to converts here. Many of you have already embarked on this journey.

The late Steve Jobs famously said, “The only people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world can change the world.” This is what great innovators do, and I know our schools, colleges and universities can be beacons of innovation that transform education.

thank you.

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