AI planning tech pilot launches at University College Birmingham
University College Birmingham has embarked on an AI planning technology pilot, having successfully applied to Jisc, the UK’s digital, data, and technology agency with a focus on tertiary education, research, and innovation. Starting this month, 50 higher education teaching staff at the university will utilise TeacherMatic software to aid in the planning of their classroom resources.
TeacherMatic, designed by a startup team of tech engineers, serves as a personal assistant for teachers, capable of generating planning materials, conversation topics, and questionnaires. A select group of lecturers from participating universities will integrate TeacherMatic into their planning processes during this six-month pilot project. At the project’s conclusion, these educators will share their experiences with Jisc, contributing to the accumulation of findings.
Tsai Lovett, Deputy Dean of Teaching Learning and Digital at University College Birmingham’s Business School, collaborates with staff on the project: “We see the immense possibilities of using AI in a controlled and complementary way to support a wide array of purposes in the coming years, and so we were delighted to take part in this trial of TeacherMatic supported by Jisc.”
“Because of the broad curriculums on offer here, the software will be used by teaching professionals across the institution and, as a consequence, deliver a wide array of teaching styles and approaches. Though there is often a tendency to be apprehensive of new technology, we’re determined to adopt new technologies and maximise the new possibilities of AI, while making sure that the ethics of teaching are upheld. After all, this is about enabling teaching professionals to have as much quality contact time with students as possible, liberated from tasks which have traditionally been labour intensive.”
With the advent of new AI technology in all aspects of public life, the need to experiment with its possibilities in a controlled environment has never been greater.
“As AI continues to reshape education and the workplace, adapting to its rapid evolution is crucial in preparing students for a digital future,” says Paddy Shepperd, senior AI specialist at Jisc. “This project with TeacherMatic will enable staff to find out more about the positive impacts of using AI.”
Staff will commence their training on the platform in the coming weeks, and feedback from both staff and students will be shared with Jisc to inform how other education professionals across the UK could benefit from engaging with AI tools.