This webpage is designed to support our Nuffield application for funding for ‘How is generative AI affecting students’ life chances.

With such a huge title the question is where to begin and we have designed the proposed project as a way to capture and contribute to some of the dynamic and wide ranging conversations and attitudes emerging daily … alongside taking a steady course with a focused project and clearly defined aims.

Discover the AI in your Life

We will build on these experiences for our Nuffield project if funded, to continue to create spaces and events in which to canvas and shape conversations through knowledge exchange

Our event on 14th September, ‘Discover the AI in your life’ illustrates how the events we organise can set up a community of learning and change. Across our university, attitudes to AI vary and in our design of this event, we sought to create a community that recognises the distinct voices and concerns of different parts of the community while valuing communication and collaboration as the means to a better future.

An example of how we are focusing the study and instruments:

While preparing our application we wondered about which age group(s) to study. We decided on age 16-18 firstly because for many schools it is a transition point to university and science-related careers – and we have a wealth of experience and research to bring to supporting students life chances in these areas. We also proposed this age group because our project is designed to engage in ‘whole school thinking’ – and teachers of sixth form students are likely to teach/shape the pedagogies and curriculum design of other parts of school and our proposed project will collaborate with teachers to co-create reports, AI tools, resources and pedagogies. If our proposal moves to the second stage, we would be very pleased to explore some of these design questions further and we are open to widening or refocusing the age range of participants.

EI Discipline Wheel

Our application refers to AI tools that take as their starting point the EI Discipline Wheel.

The EI Discipline Wheel is a tool that enables teachers and students to create a graphical device that draws together different disciplines (or subjects) around a Big Question or Real World Opportunity/Problem so that users can explore ways that different scholarly disciplines approach a question and the value of becoming open to multiple perspectives. We also provide blank wheels to enable teachers / users to fill in disciplines that suit.

Now that we are producing prototypes of an interactive AI tool we are seeing that it gives teachers a new dimension of agency in their curriculum design – made possible by Gen AI. Teachers in secondary schools tend to work in compartments that are shaped by the age groups they teach and their subject departments. In some schools subject compartmentalisation is entrenched, meaning that it becomes a barrier that deters students from asking questions that they perceive as ‘off topic’ (Billingsley and Abedin, 2017). Using a Discipline Wheel that interfaces with a Gen AI Large Language Model (e.g. currently GPT3.5 Turbo) teachers can glimpse into subjects and disciplines that might otherwise be hidden from view and begin to imagine more holistic and joined up approaches.

Billingsley, B., Nassaji, M., & Abedin, M. (2017). Entrenched compartmentalisation and students’ abilities and levels of interest in science. School Science Review99(367), 26-31.