British children at risk of being the AI dunces of Europe

school kidsThe Government will have to go back to school – quite literally – to achieve its aim of making the UK a science and technology superpower by 2030, with new research revealing the tech curriculum is simply not keeping up.

As the ChatGPT phenomenon spreads like wildfire through the tech sector, worryingly it seems British kids have already fallen behind the rest of Europe in using AI technology.

While children in Austria are leading the continent with 43% already using AI technology to learn, followed by those in Italy (41%) and Spain (40%), just a third (32%) of UK children using the tech anywhere – at home or school – and just 6% of say they are being taught about AI in the classroom.

So says the GoStudent Future of Education Report 2023, commissioned by online tutoring provider GoStudent, with a view to helping parents, schools and education providers better understand what children want from their education.

The report identifies that children would like a greater focus on emerging technologies in their education, with six out of ten 14- to 16-year-olds (59%) saying it is important for schools to use more adaptive learning in the next five years.

It also revealed that children value the support technology as a whole can bring to their learning, with four out of five (81%) children in the UK saying technology makes it easier to learn and more than three-quarters (77%) feeling technology helps them to develop their creativity.

Parents do not feel armed to support their children, with just a quarter (25%) saying they have a good understanding of how to operate and use AI and are keen that their children get the support they need from teachers. In total, more than eight out of ten parents (87%) agree that teachers should be skilled in using digital technology within the classroom.

GoStudent CEO and co-founder Felix Ohswald said: “With the right application, AI has the potential to revolutionise education. AI-driven content, for example, can allow a class of children to engage with the same subject matter in entirely different ways, based on how quickly they absorb information or how they learn best – improving their learning outcomes and providing an individualised approach without losing the social setting of a classroom.

“We need to support more schools in using this kind of technology, because we know that four out of five (81%) children in the UK say that using technology makes it easier to learn.”

“That just 6% of students in the UK are learning about AI in school is a surprising insight: this technology is quickly becoming more commonplace and, in order for this generation of students to truly harness the technology, they need to understand what it is and how it works.

“From our research we know that 14- to 16-year-olds wish school incorporated more tech into the curriculum, to help prepare them for their future job, so it appears they are acutely aware of this need.”

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