The UK government has announced a £2 million investment in the Oak National Academy to develop and expand Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for teachers. This initiative aims to provide teachers across England with AI-powered resources to aid in lesson planning and quiz creation while reducing workloads.
The government’s investment is directed at Oak National Academy, an online platform created to offer high-quality curriculum resources to teachers. This investment marks the beginning of an effort to provide personalized AI lesson-planning assistants to every teacher in England.
Positive feedback from teachers
Teachers who have participated in the pilot phase of this initiative have provided positive feedback. They have noted that AI-powered tools have the potential to speed up lesson planning and enhance the quality and variety of quizzes. For example, one Year 4 teacher mentioned that Oak’s AI tool significantly improved the quality and variety of quizzes they could create, saving them valuable time.
Supporting the government’s mission
The government’s investment aligns with its mission to reduce teacher workloads and enhance the quality of education. By harnessing the potential of AI, the aim is to support teachers in focusing on teaching and supporting their pupils.
Oak National Academy has committed to making its resources available under the Open Government Licence. This means ed-tech companies experimenting with AI can access Oak’s curriculum resources to build innovative educational products. This initiative ensures the accuracy, safety, and quality of content using these AI tools.
AI hackathon and ongoing collaboration
The announcement coincides with a two-day AI hackathon hosted by the Department for Education, Faculty AI, the National Institute of Teaching, and the AI in Schools Initiative. The hackathon brings together teachers and education leaders to explore AI opportunities in education.
The government plans to continue working with teachers and experts to develop solutions to reduce teachers’ working hours by five hours per week. The upcoming release of the results of the AI call for evidence, which gathered input from educational professionals on the risks and possibilities of AI in education, will further inform the government’s approach to AI in education.
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, raised questions about allocating the £2 million investment to Oak National Academy. He emphasized the need for clarity on how this money will be spent and its impact on the existing education technology industry.
Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of the school leaders’ union NAHT, highlighted the potential of AI to reduce teacher workload but also cautioned about the associated risks and limitations. He called for closer collaboration between the government and the education profession, emphasizing the importance of addressing training and ethical considerations.
The UK government’s £2 million investment in AI tools for teachers through the Oak National Academy represents a significant step toward leveraging AI to support educators and improve the quality of education. While the initiative has received positive feedback, questions have been raised about funding allocation and the need to consider AI’s implications in education carefully.