Headteacher at elite girls’ public school says pupils should use AI to do their homework and insists fears of children teaching are exaggerated
- Headteacher Vicky Bingham has argued there are benefits to children using AI
- She questioned if enough children are aware of how to use the tool ‘intelligently’
The newly-appointed headteacher of a prestigious public school has called for more children to learn how use artificial intelligence (AI) to do their homework.
Vicky Bingham is soon to take the reins at North London Collegiate School (NLCS), an elite all-girls establishment.
She said concerns about children using AI for homework have been ‘exaggerated’ and added that teachers should consider whether enough pupils are aware of how to use AI in the first place, The Sunday Telegraph reports.
Ms Bingham said: ‘One of the things I’m thinking of is surveying pupils to ask them how many of them genuinely do use ChapGPT, because my hypothesis would be that they’re not using it.
‘Some may be but others won’t be and actually therein lies the point, that we’ve got to teach them how to use it effectively.
‘So I think some of these fears about children just cheating using ChatGPT to do their homework, I’d say they’re exaggerated.’
The education leader added that teachers should ask if enough pupils know how to use AI ‘intelligently’ to assist their learning.
She explained her view that most adult jobs use an ‘iterative process’ to do things such as write essays and added that ‘ChatGPT is perfect for that’.
Ms Bingham also said it feels as though schools are stuck in an ‘old fashioned assessment system.’
She shared her hopes that NLCS will create a research centre to explore new ways of assessing pupils, working alongside local state schools.
Her plan would entail tech companies, businesses, universities and both state and independent schools collaborating on creating a new format of digital assessments.
She said this would involve working with exam boards and other teaching bodies to embed technology in subjects where it has not already been done.
Ms Bingham vowed to look for technology companies who would be interested in her scheme to find out how young people will use AI in their future lives.
She pointed to a number of high-earning roles that use the technology, including ‘prompt engineers’ – who can collect £100,000 a year ‘asking ChatGPT the right questions’ which she dubbed to be ‘high-level thinking’.
In June, it was reported that two thirds of secondary school pupils use artificial intelligence to do their homework and one in 10 teachers admit they have no way of knowing, a survey claims.
Around 67 per cent of youngsters surveyed admitted they used chatbots such as ChatGPT to write essays or do work for them.
Almost half, 42 per cent, otf the 1,000 secondary school students surveyed said they use AI all the time to solve maths problems, while 41 per cent use it to write English essays.
Whereas a quarter, 25 per cent, tapped into these chatbots to translate something into a foreign language, write a poem (24 per cent) and help with their physics work (20 per cent).
According to the data, 18 per cent admitted they have turned to AI to help come up with an essay topic for history, create a piece of art (18 per cent) and take a science test (18 per cent) for them.
Surprisingly, two-thirds of the students polled, 68 per cent, said they are getting better grades and results by using AI.
Mel Parker, Educational Technologist at RM Technology and a former Headteacher, said: ‘This research shows the sheer prevalence of AI in the classroom already – but its impact is only starting to be felt.
‘Generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, have great potential if regulated properly in schools, and can be used to create a more inclusive educational environment for students.
‘But the real impact will be on the time AI can save teachers.
‘From assisting with marking to alleviating some of the burden of administrative work – AI can support teachers in saving hours each week, which can be reinvested into more face-to-face time with students.
‘While it’s clear proper training and regulation are necessary, we as a sector must start to embrace the opportunities AI brings.’
Four in ten, 40 per cent, use the technology to actually write the work which they then edit, while one in four (28 per cent) have used the likes of Chat GPT to edit something that they had written.