Emerging Technologies In The Classroom

Jason Tomilson
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Report on national research and an expert roundtable commissioned by RM Technology

Summer 2023


Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionise the education landscape, empowering students with personalised learning experiences, enabling educators to create dynamic and adaptive teaching methodologies, and transforming the way knowledge is acquired, shared, and applied. To explore the current impact of these emerging technologies, we commissioned national research and hosted a roundtable with industry experts.

The research explored teachers’ and students' views on AI and the safety implications of generative AI tools such as Chat GPT.

Artificial intelligence has a long history, from predictive modelling applications for weather and financial forecasting to image and voice recognition algorithms. Recent releases of generative AI applications have captured the general public’s attention as they appear to possess the ability to mimic what was considered the sole remit of human intelligence.

This raises questions for the education sector. Until now, there were few ways in which a student could easily outsource their work and pass off the results as their own. On the other hand, some educationalists believe that generative AI could be a welcome disruption to the way we teach and assess learners.

RM commissioned research into how pupils are using AI, how they feel about it and what their teachers think about AI’s role in education.

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Key Themes and Discussion Points:

Understanding AI in education
Ethical considerations
Teacher/Student Collaboration
Professional Development

In what elements of study do pupils use AI?

Being completely honest, have you ever used AI - artificial intelligence to help with homework?

Yes, all the time

Yes, once or twice

No, I’ve never used AI

Two-thirds of pupils surveyed said that they had used AI at least once for homework. It seems that teachers can spot it since the same proportion of teachers say that they’ve received work that has been written by AI. This raises the question of what they should do about it.

In terms of the subjects where AI has been most used, English and maths tasks top the list.

Do you think you have got better results when using AI for schoolwork/homework?

Yes, all the time

Yes, sometimes

No, about the same

No, worse

Nearly one third (29%) of pupils think that using AI improved their results but more (36%) worry that using AI denies them an opportunity to learn.

"We use an AI based learning platform in our schools, which is where we have embarked on our journey with AI and it's about saving teachers time. It doesn't replace a teacher but it's a vehicle for supporting children in certain areas."

Multi-academy trust CEO

How do teachers see the role of AI in their job?

Are teachers ready to allow AI to help them?

Only 14% agree that AI will help teachers to focus on teaching rather than admin. Fewer currently feel comfortable using AI to carry out routine work tasks. Even fewer actually use AI in their teaching (9%).

Despite optimistic noises from the Department for Education, a significant proportion of teachers see AI as another burden on their already pressurised professional life. One in five agree that it’s confusing and places additional pressure on teachers.

Which of the below do you agree with?

Teachers need proper
training in AI

AI tools
need regulating

My students know more
than AI than I do

Education sector is not moving fast enough to adapt new technologies like AI

Students are not learning by not doing the work themselves






A Department for Education statement on generative artificial intelligence in education issued March 2023 reads:

"When used appropriately, technology (including generative AI), has the potential to reduce workload across the education sector, and free up teachers’ time, allowing them to focus on delivering excellent teaching."

Embrace and regulate

Students seem ready to accept a greater role for AI even if they’re unsure they should be using it.

Being completely honest, do you feel guilty about using AI to help or do your coursework or homework?



I’ve never used AI to help me

Although you might complete the tasks quicker using AI, are you worried that you might be missing an opportunity to learn?

Yes, I'm worried

No, I'm learning the same as I learn by briefing and correcting AI

No, I'm learning more with AI because I'm learning the school lessons while I learn how to operate a new tool

Of the 66% who admitted using AI, more felt guilty about it than not (38% v 28% of the overall sample). However, this was not because they miss out on learning opportunities by using AI – 47% said that they learnt the same amount using it, 17% said that they learnt more in having to master a new tool.

Pupils split almost half and half on whether a ban on using AI tools would be a negative for learning with 51% saying no and 49% yes.


Yes, it keeps me outdated from the new technologies and tools

As they use AI themselves, pupils are tolerant of their teachers using it to prepare their lessons with 73% being positive about the prospect.

Only some teachers are clamouring for schools to embrace AI.

One third (35%) agree that the sector is not moving quickly enough in adapting to technology such as AI. One quarter say that it should be incorporated into the curriculum so that students know how to use it.

There is more appetite for oversight with 41% saying that AI needs to be properly regulated and 31% agree that the Government needs to introduce regulations to help police its use.

Already 60% of schools’ online safety measures block AI sites. Since one third (32%) of students admit to using AI to access inappropriate content, perhaps that figure should be higher.

"Where should a school or trust start with incorporating AI? Fear comes from a lack of understanding. By training the teachers first about the possibilities of AI we can demonstrate the benefits so they embrace its use."

Education Consultant, RM

Questions to consider for each
school or trust’s unique circumstances

Trusted and reliable mechanisms for learning enable children to thrive. Which aspects of AI can contribute to fostering those environments?

Can AI tools help address the needs of SEND children? Could using AI to remove some admin tasks from teachers increase the time available to tailor lesson plans to meet different learning requirements?

Questions to consider

Digital citizenship is an important element of the PSHE curriculum. By increasing exposure to AI in a school environment are you fostering the right kind of healthy attitude towards technology?

Is your school or trust equipped with the knowledge and infrastructure to allow teachers and pupils to use AI tools appropriately to help them achieve more?

"Applications in marking have yet to be fully explored. Comparative marking using AI tools removes bias from the process as well as maintaining a consistent approach over hundreds or thousands of individual pieces of work."

Director, EdTech company

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Actions and future developments

Regulatory measures

  • The UK government has published a white paper on AI regulation, promising a pro-innovation approach
  • The Department for Education has opened a consultation process with a call for evidence about generative AI in education.

Interested parties, which includes leaders of multi-academy trusts and other educational establishments should engage with these developments to ensure that the voice of the sector is heard.

Resources and further reading suggested by the roundtable participants

Research methodology and data

Read more about the research here.

RM Technology surveyed 1,028 secondary school pupils and 511 secondary school teachers in all four nations of the United Kingdom. Perspectus Global conducted the research on behalf of RM in June 2023.

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