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Digital relief for UK teachers

Due to increasing workloads related to planning and grading, many educators are considering leaving their profession. Jisc, the NREN of UK, is working with startup company TeacherMatic to bring relief to FE (further education) teachers across the country through artificial intelligence.

“The project is part of Jisc’s work to increase the skills, understanding and readiness of FE colleges for a digitized future”, says Sue Attewell, head of AI and codesign at Jisc.

According to a recent survey, 44 % of teachers in England plan to quit within five years, and more than half of respondents (52 %) said the workload was “unmanageable” or “unmanageable most of the time”, up from 35 % in 2021.

Increased AI skills as a bonus

TeacherMatic uses generative AI to create classroom resources in a fraction of the time it would usually take. By inputting the desired topic, teachers can generate lesson plans, schemes of work, grading criteria for assessments, and multiple-choice quizzes to check learning.

During a 12-month pilot project, staff at eight FE colleges will be given the time and training to experiment with AI. In the first stage, Jisc and the participating colleges will work with TeacherMatic to pinpoint where most value can be gained.

“The pilot will enable all participants to find out more about the positive impacts of using AI. At the same time, implementing TeacherMatic will help staff increase their confidence and skills in using the AI tools they need to succeed,” explains Sue Attewell.

By teachers, for teachers

TeacherMatic is a young company founded by people with a background in education.

“As educators ourselves, we understand the challenges that teachers face daily. The ever-increasing workload, the endless planning and grading, and the struggle to find a work-life balance can take a toll on even the most dedicated educators. In fact, many teachers are leaving the profession because of these overwhelming demands,” states the TeacherMatic homepage, continuing:

“What truly distinguishes TeacherMatic from other tools is its foundation: it’s a platform created by teachers, for teachers. During its development phase, over 300 educators actively contributed feedback, refining and perfecting the service.”

Commenting on the collaboration with Jisc, TeacherMatic director Peter Kilcoyne says:

“AI can be intimidating but, rather than fearing the technology, teachers should be confident they can use it to alleviate some of the challenges they face on a daily basis. Our goal is to help teachers thrive with AI by showing them how it can reduce their workload, improve their productivity, and ultimately enable them to find a better work-life balance.”

 

The text is inspired by the article “Jisc helps further education teachers lighter their load by using AI” at the Jisc website.


Published: 09/2023

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