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Use of Technology & AI in education

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At Colegio Montserrat, we wished to understand the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on education and to create a comprehensive digital policy framework. Our goal was to equip parents, students, and teachers with the knowledge of emerging AI tools and explore how these technologies can be harnessed for educational purposes and in the professional lives of parents.

This course was designed to engage parents, senior students, and teachers in a collaborative effort to shape the school's digital policy and incorporate these transformative technologies into our educational framework. The report is structured following the Erasmus+ Collaborative Cycle of Enquiry four key phases: Explore, Design, Deliver, and Sustain, each of which played a crucial role in understanding the concerns of our community, designing effective learning experiences, ensuring successful course delivery, and evaluating the impact of our efforts. We believe that this report not only highlights our commitment to embracing technological advancements in education but also serves as a valuable resource for schools looking to navigate the complex intersection of education and emerging technologies.

Stage 1: Exploration


In this phase, our aim was to research and understand the current concerns of parents regarding technology and artificial intelligence in education. We undertook several actions to gain a comprehensive view of these concerns.
We conducted surveys and interviews with parents to gather their opinions and concerns about the use of technology in the educational process.
We analyzed current studies and trends related to the integration of artificial intelligence in education. We organized focus groups with teachers to comprehend their experiences and expectations regarding technology in the classroom. The results of this phase allowed us to clearly identify the need to address this topic and understand the perspectives of different stakeholders.

We have received valuable insights from our participants that we view as recommendations for enhancing the explore stage in future workshops and projects.

Clear Articulation of Objectives and Outcomes: To ensure alignment with the participants' expectations and goals, future initiatives should consider explicitly defining the success criteria. Clearly articulating the intended learning outcomes and how they relate to the participants' needs will provide a more focused and effective learning experience.

Ongoing Participant Feedback: Incorporating mechanisms for collecting feedback from participants at various stages of a project or workshop is essential. This allows us to adapt and tailor the content and format to better meet the identified needs and preferences of our stakeholders.

Holistic Understanding of Stakeholder Concerns: Our feedback highlights the importance of understanding the diverse concerns and perspectives of different stakeholders. While we initially addressed concerns about technology in education, it's essential to maintain an open dialogue with parents and other stakeholders to identify evolving topics of interest. This can help ensure that future initiatives remain relevant and engaging.

Thematic Alignment: projects should be closely aligned with the identified needs and interests of participants. In our case, the decision to explore AI arose from teacher concerns and experiences related to academic honesty. Ensuring a clear thematic connection between the project's content and the participants' concerns fosters greater engagement and relevance.

Evaluation of Parent Learning and Growth: To measure the impact of our initiatives on parents' knowledge and growth, we recommend developing and sharing explicit criteria for evaluating their learning journeys. This can help participants understand their progress and achievements more clearly.

Stage 2: Design


In the design phase, we closely collaborated with an expert, Meritxell Vinyas, in emerging technologies, and their application in education. We crafted a learning approach that engaged adults (parents, teachers) in acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve our learning objectives and success criteria.
We worked in conjunction with the expert to develop an online workshop that explored the latest developments in technology and AI, especially in their educational application.
We designed an in-person workshop where we brought together families, teachers, and students to collaborate in crafting a digital policy for our school.
This design approach focused on ensuring that all participants (teachers, parents and students) had the opportunity to learn and contribute to the development of a suitable digital policy for our school.

 

Here are some recommendations to take into account in the Design stage:

1. Stakeholder Engagement: Continue to prioritize the involvement of key stakeholders, including parents, teachers, and students, in the planning and design of training courses. This collaborative approach ensures that the content and objectives align closely with the needs and concerns of all participants.

2. Needs-Driven Design: Maintain a needs-driven approach in course design. As evidenced by the success of your blended training course, aligning the curriculum with the specific concerns and interests of parents, such as AI in education, is a strategic approach that fosters engagement and relevance.

3. Strategic Considerations: Consider strategic aspects, particularly in areas where differing approaches or perspectives exist. Tailoring the content to address these varying viewpoints can help create a more inclusive and effective learning experience.

4. Shared Objectives: Clearly define and communicate shared objectives for the course. In our case, objectives related to providing valuable information about AI and co-creating policies were instrumental in guiding the course design. Ensuring that participants understand these objectives can help maintain focus and alignment throughout the course.

5. Innovative Co-Creation: Continue to explore innovative approaches like co-creating policies with parents and students. This not only empowers participants but also fosters a sense of ownership and commitment to the outcomes, making the learning experience more engaging and impactful.

6. Flexibility: Build flexibility into the course design to accommodate different learning styles and preferences. Not all participants may have the same level of familiarity with technology or AI, so offering adaptable content and approaches can ensure that everyone benefits from the training.

7. Continuous Improvement: Establish mechanisms for ongoing feedback during the design phase. Collect input from potential participants to ensure that the course aligns with their expectations and needs. This iterative feedback loop can help refine and enhance the course design.

8. Expert Collaboration: Continue to collaborate with subject matter experts, as you did with Meritxell Vinyas, to ensure that the course content remains up-to-date and relevant. Expert input enhances the quality and credibility of the training materials.

 


Stage 3: Deliver


The delivery phase was focused on ensuring participants engagement and the attainment of learning objectives.
Our course was structured into two workshops, one conducted online and the other in person.

Online Workshop:
In the online workshop, the AI expert, Meritxell Vinyas, provided us with an in-depth overview of current AI tools and their applications in education. Participants gained insights into the latest advancements in AI and learned how these technologies can enhance the learning experience for students and support educators in their roles. The facilitator of the online workshop guided participants through the content and fostered interaction of participants using the chat in zoom.


In-Person Session:
During this workshop, we worked together in small groups, involving teachers, students, and parents. Our main objective was to analyze the pros and cons of AI in education and to draft an initial outline for the school's digital policy.
During the in-person session, Meritxell Vinyas delved into important topics related to AI, such as intellectual property rights and ethical considerations. We were prompted to reflect on responsible AI usage, identifying both the positive applications that can empower education and the uses that must be avoided due to concerns related to plagiarism, ethical breaches, or other important factors.

Throughout the course, we collaborated to craft a digital policy framework for our school. This framework serves as a guiding document, outlining our approach to integrating AI responsibly and ethically into our educational environment. It encapsulates our commitment to harnessing AI for the benefit of our students, teachers, and parents while adhering to ethical principles and legal standards.

Recommendations for the Delivery stage:

1. Enhanced Interactivity for Online Workshops:

Incorporate interactive elements, such as breakout rooms or group activities, in online workshops. These activities can promote collaboration, engagement, and hands-on learning, making the session more dynamic.

2. Tailoring Content for Diverse Audiences:

Recognize the diverse composition of your workshop participants (parents, students, teachers) and tailor the content accordingly. Ensure that each group finds the content relevant and engaging, possibly through parallel sessions or customized segments.

3. Clear Objectives for Each Group:

Define clear and distinct objectives for each group of co-designers (e.g., parents, students, teachers). This can include specific topics or areas related to AI use, such as acceptable and unacceptable AI use, ethics, or citing from AI sources. Clarity in objectives will guide discussions and enhance efficiency in policy co-creation.

4. Guided Group Accountability:

During group discussions, provide clear guidance and tasks to ensure participants actively engage and contribute meaningfully. Assign specific responsibilities within groups to facilitate the collection of input necessary for policy development.

5. Hands-On AI Learning Opportunities:

To meet the expectations of parents and deepen their understanding, incorporate more hands-on learning experiences related to AI. Encourage problem-solving with AI tools and provide practical guidance on how parents can support their children in using AI effectively.

6. Ongoing Feedback Mechanisms:

Establish mechanisms for ongoing feedback throughout the workshop. Encourage participants to share their thoughts and experiences openly, creating a culture of continuous improvement and adaptation.

7. Differentiation of Outcomes:

Recognize that participants may have varying learning needs and expectations. Design workshops to allow for differentiated outcomes that cater to the unique requirements of students, parents, and teachers.

8. Deeper Exploration of AI Use Cases:

Encourage participants to explore a wider range of AI use cases, showcasing the practical applications of AI in education beyond academic honesty. This can broaden participants' perspectives and spark deeper discussions.

9. Efficient Policy Co-Creation:

Streamline the policy co-creation process by providing clear guidelines and expectations for each group. Ensure that the policy development aligns with the objectives set for each segment, fostering efficiency in the co-writing process.

10. Encourage In-Depth Feedback:

Create opportunities for participants to provide more in-depth feedback on the content, discussions, and overall experience. Feedback sessions can be structured to encourage thoughtful reflections and suggestions.

Stage 4: Sustain


In the final phase of the process, we documented evidence of learning to evaluate its impact. Participants,  working in small groups, worked on a shared drive to write down their learnings and inputs for the School Digital policy.
We conducted a survey among all participants to assess the course's effectiveness, gather feedback on its usefulness, determine whether participants acquired new knowledge, and ascertain if they feel more capable of effectively and ethically managing GPT. 
This sustainability phase allows us to assess the effectiveness of the entire process and make informed decisions about how to proceed with the implementation of the digital policy based on feedback and outcomes.

 



We believe that our experience can serve as a valuable reference for other educational institutions looking to embark on a similar journey. By sharing our materials and insights, we hope to inspire and guide other schools in the development of their own digital policy frameworks. Together, we can create a more informed, responsible, and innovative educational landscape in the age of AI.

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