The Rural Hub has delivered national Continuous Professional Development Training to Primary Schoolteachers
The testing of the Professional Development Training for Teachers in AI-STEM Education took place online in Ireland over two sessions, on 4th and 7th January 2022. This training was conducted with 8 teachers in total. They were available to attend these online workshops, as the training was organised for the weeks when these teachers were on Christmas holidays in primary school. Our initial plan was to host this as a 3-day online training event, however, having spoken with the teachers it was agreed that they would complete two days online, and that they would have a break of two days in between when they would complete some self-directed learning on the topic of AI-STEM. Of the 8 teachers who participated, 3 were primary school teachers, 3 were special needs assistants (SNAs), 1 were teacher trainers and 1 was a youth worker engaged in primary education afterschool clubs. All had an interest in findings alternative teaching approaches and activities for engaging their students in learning. Their motivation for participating in these training sessions was to learn something new and to gain access to the new resources that were on offer through this project. To deliver these two online workshops, trainers from The Rural Hub began by introducing the Generation-AI project, and then providing an overview of the topic of the CPD training programme which we were responsible for developing – Communication and Collaboration. To introduce this topic, trainers used a mixture of virtual icebreakers and group discussions to first unpack the training content, and then to delve deeper into the project with support from the PowerPoint slides developed. As this training was taking place online, the aim was to keep the training as light and active as possible, making frequent breaks in the agenda for group discussions and the exchange of practices and perspectives between educators. Due to the make-up of the group, there was a lot of room to engage actively in discussion and to share the impact that AI could have on different groups of students. During these discussions the theme of “access” was a huge issue, with some students with additional learning needs and those from lower socio-economic cohorts perhaps missing out on the learning opportunities which AI presents to other groups of students. This offered valuable insights into how equality in access to AI-STEM education should be upheld and prioritised by teachers and schools.