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Relevant learning with AI


AI and the quest for relevant education

Darren Coxon, keynote speaker at this year’s IPSEF conference on June 27th,  argues that the use of AI in education is a rational way to make learning more relevant in our classrooms.


The school must represent present life – life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighbourhood, or on the playground.

John Dewey

Dewey is still right

Philosopher and educational reformer, John Dewey believed that schools should reflect the realities of the world outside the classroom walls. However, a stark contrast often exists between our fast-paced, dynamic world and the comparatively static environment of a traditional school classroom.

Schools are designed to provide students with a structured environment where they can learn and grow, but they can also be seen as disconnected from the real world. Their routines and frameworks for learning often remain unchanged, seemingly frozen in time, while the world outside is buzzing with uncertainty, flux, and rapid innovation.

This disconnect raises a critical question: how can we bridge the gap between traditional approaches to education that only changes slowly and the dynamic world outside to create a more relevant and engaging education for our students?

AI as an educational answer

AI could be one factor in solving some of the challenges currently faced by our sector. Although there are mixed feelings about AI, it has the potential to revolutionise the way we approach teaching and learning. However, this transformation requires a shift in our mindset – we must move away from the traditional and rigid structures of the past and embrace a more flexible and adaptable approach to education.

Aligning AI to learning needs

Several immediate issues must be addressed as schools consider integrating AI into their systems. Firstly, AI can significantly impact the curriculum by enabling personalised learning experiences tailored to each student’s needs and abilities. However, schools must carefully consider how to align AI-powered tools with their existing curriculum and learning objectives. This may require a thorough review and potential curriculum redesign to ensure that AI complements and enhances student learning rather than disrupting it in a negative way.

Flexibility and training

Secondly, introducing AI in the classroom will inevitably change teaching practice. Teachers must be trained to use AI to effectively support student learning. This may involve rethinking traditional teaching methods and adopting a more data-driven, adaptive approach to instruction. Schools must therefore provide teachers with adequate professional development opportunities to ensure they can effectively leverage AI.

Reliable assessment and valid feedback

Thirdly, AI can revolutionise assessment by providing real-time feedback, identifying gaps in learning, and offering targeted support. However, schools must ensure that AI-powered assessments are valid, reliable, and aligned with learning objectives. Additionally, schools must consider balancing the use of AI-generated assessments with traditional forms of evaluation to provide a comprehensive picture of student progress.

AI and school management

Outside the classroom, AI can also support a school’s administrative structure, marketing, and finance. AI can streamline administrative tasks such as scheduling, record-keeping, and data analysis. By automating routine tasks, AI can free up time for administrators to focus on more strategic initiatives. AI can also provide valuable insights into school operations, enabling data-driven decision-making and resource allocation.

Marketing and financial analysis

In marketing, AI can help schools improve their efforts by analysing data on prospective students, identifying target audiences, and personalising outreach. AI-powered chatbots can provide instant support to prospective students and parents, answering common questions and guiding them through admissions. Additionally, AI can help schools create targeted marketing campaigns based on data-driven insights into student preferences and behaviour.

Finally, AI can support school finance by providing predictive budgeting, forecasting, and resource allocation analytics. By analysing historical financial data and identifying patterns, AI can help schools make more informed decisions about investments, staffing, and other financial matters. AI can also help schools identify cost-saving opportunities and optimise their spending to maximise educational outcomes.

Challenges . . .

Of course, it’s vital to acknowledge the challenges of using AI in schools. Ethical concerns like data privacy and bias need to be addressed along with strong safeguards. Teachers should be trained to effectively integrate AI into their teaching, and students must have equal access to AI-powered tools and resources to prevent further inequalities. By prioritising students’ needs, engaging in open dialogue with stakeholders, and proactively addressing these challenges, we can leverage the power of AI to create a more relevant, engaging, and equitable education for all.

. . . and opportunities

Integrating AI in schools presents both opportunities and challenges. By carefully considering the impact of AI on curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, administration, marketing, and finance, schools can leverage the power of this technology to create a more relevant, engaging, and equitable education for all students. However, addressing ethical concerns, providing adequate teacher training, and ensuring equal access to AI tools is crucial to realising AI’s vast potential.

With thoughtful implementation and a commitment to student success, AI can help bridge the gap between traditional education and the world outside the classroom. This is the bridge we must build – one that prepares our students for the challenges and opportunities of the future and empowers them to become lifelong learners and agents of change in an increasingly complex, interconnected world.


Chief operating officer of Britus Education, Darren Coxon oversees the academic operations of nine international schools in the MENA region. He is currently based in Tunisia where he also leads the British International School of Tunis, one of the first schools in the world to fully integrate AI and project-based learning into its curriculum.

Darren is a keynote speaker at the IPSEF Global conference taking place in London on June 27th.

See https://ipsef.net/london/overview


FEATURE IMAGE: by Nahrizul Kadri on Unsplash

Support Images:    by Unsplash+In collaboration with Getty Images & Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash



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