Imagine if… robots ran our schools

SSAT National Conference 2018

Robots will never run our schools. We don’t believe that robots will ever replace the role of the expert teacher. However, ‘robots’ – which we use as synecdoche for a range of emerging technologies – may well change how we teach and how we deliver the curriculum.

Priya Lakhani, an inspiring tech entrepreneur, will consider from the main stage how technology, in particular the use of artificial intelligence and big data, can help improve learning in the classroom – not replace it. Priya, who founded the CENTURY Tech platform, will argue that existing and emerging technology allows us to personalise learning in a more sophisticated way than ever before, allowing teachers to better understand their students’ learning and possible misconceptions, and reduce their workload.

Like us, Priya believes that technology has to be part of a range of pedagogical techniques rather than an end in itself; and yet many schools have not fully embraced the opportunities presented by technology.

This not just true of schools, but across society. Other academics including Sir Anthony Seldon and Max Tegmark convincingly argue that AI will be one of the significant drivers of change in the 21st century, but that is rarely discussed in schools, in politics or in other aspects of culture and society. Seldon has called this the ‘fourth education revolution’, and says education leaders need to think hard, now, about how AI and other forms of technology may help solve a range of problems in schools.

Workshops from schools that have embraced technology include ways of rethinking pedagogical design, linking creativity and technology, from Greg Hughes at de Ferrers Academy. Others cover the use of robotics in education, and how to use technology to solve problems as diverse as pupil attendance for hard-to-reach students and closing the pupil premium gap with algorithms and big data.

So while robots may never run our schools, we know that technology can play a much greater and more significant role in education, providing often cost-effective solutions to some of the biggest challenges in the system.

View the latest programme, read speaker profiles and book at

Don’t forget

SSAT Secondary Network members have a free two-day pass to the conference as part of their membership and also have the opportunity to bring their School Business Manager for free on Wednesday for a dedicated programme. Discounted passes are available to all other SSAT members.

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