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Building an education system for tomorrow requires adaption

Building an education system that develops young students into adults who will thrive in the world of tomorrow requires adaption from schools.

Ms Marie Kinsella, CEO of the International Expo Group – the organisers of the National Education Summit, taking place in Melbourne in June and Brisbane in August this year – says Australian schools need to ensure that they are delivering the learning materials and opportunities needed to develop tomorrow’s problem solvers and leaders.

Marie Kinsella. Image: International Expo Group

“It’s not only the technological advances, such as the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), that children need to be prepared for, but also the challenges imposed by climate change. Careers in AI, STEM and sustainability are going to become more prevalent in the next few years,” she says.

According to Deloitte, almost 10 per cent of Australia’s large firms (having 200 or more staff) are officially using AI.

“Schools need to incorporate AI into both their operations and their learning programs, to harness the benefits of AI for more personalised education, enhancing student engagement and comprehension, as well as to drive more efficient school operations,” Ms Kinsella says.

The Australian Government Department of Education’s inaugural Australian Framework for Generative Artificial Intelligence in Schools, implemented at the start of this year, provides schools and teachers with a framework for the introduction of AI education.

“Importantly, the framework provides for the prevention of plagiarism and the protection of privacy and data rights – areas of major concern following the rise of AI,” Ms Kinsella says.

“Understanding how to embrace AI education within this framework is key and will be discussed and unpacked at the upcoming National Education Summit.”

In addition to tech know-how, sustainability education is a vital component of the Australian school curriculum. Schools have increasingly been looking at how they can equip students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to address the complex challenges of our world.

Ms Kinsella says the Australian education system incorporates sustainability principles across various subjects and levels.

“But we need to do more to develop holistic, multidisciplinary education that integrates the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainability and enables learners to contribute to more sustainable societies,” she says.

Giving teachers a head start

“’AI in the Classroom’ and ‘Sustainability in Schools’ are two key pillars at the National Education Summit this year, and we have secured an exciting lineup of experts to explore both topics,” Ms Kinsella says.

In the AI in the Classroom sessions, visitors will hear from Dr Raul Rodqriguez (Vice President of Woxsen University in Kamkole, India), whose area of expertise lies at the intersection of cognitive psychology with machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, robotic process automation, and quantum AI.

Rounding out the schedule is Ms Chris Bush (Head of Student Voice and Leadership at University High School), who will demonstrate how AI can be used for curriculum planning, differentiation, marking and feedback. In addition, Mr David Howard (Head of Digital Learning and Practice at Wesley College), will explain ‘how to build a custom AI tutor for your school’.

The National Education Summit. Image: International Expo Group

Opening the Sustainability in Schools session in Melbourne is Ms Katie Pahlow (Director of Regions and Community Action at Sustainability Victoria), who will explore the award-winning sustainable schools program her organisation has spearheaded since 2008. The program has helped schools save more than $45 million in resource costs and avoid over 110,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

The session on Sustainability in Schools will also include a workshop that will unpack the learnings from a 2023 Google-funded partnership project between Design and Technology Teachers Association (DATTA) and Victoria and Environment Education Victoria (EEV). Mr Peter Murphy (Program Manager at Banyule Nillumbik Tech School on behalf of DATTA Victoria), and Ms Marika Wong (Education and Curriculum Support Officer at EEV) will guide the workshop.

Ms Jo Connor (Executive Officer at EEV), and Ms Maud Cassaignau (Architect and Urban Designer) will present a session on exploring climate adaptation strategies for school grounds.

Ms Kinsella says the National Education Summit supports educators at all levels of K-12 education.

“With five conferences to choose from, the Summit presents teachers with a platform to engage in new concepts, share ideas, and hear about new developments around what classrooms might look like in one to five years from now. Attendees can also claim PD hours for their attendance,” she says.

The National Education Summit has continued to be an important key professional development event for Australian educators since it first took place in 2016.

The Summit incorporates five individual events, each specialising in key areas of interest within teaching and learning. In addition, the Summit offers guests free seminars, including The Knowledge Centre and a free trade expo – The Education Show – boasting over 100 exhibitors, showcasing the latest educational resources, technologies and products.

The Summit is supported by the involvement of key educational organisations including GROK Academy, Australian Education Union, Modern Teaching Aids, Be Challenged, and the MacKillop Institute and many more.

When and where:
Melbourne: Friday 14 and Saturday 15 June 2024, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
Brisbane: Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August 2024, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre

More information and registration details are available at https://nationaleducationsummit.com.au/

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