Ali speaks at Cambridge University Press & Assessment’s Digital & Data Day

Ali Kirkman, Assistant Principal at Hills Road, was invited as a guest speaker at Cambridge’s Digital & Data Day, which took place on 12 March.

Digital & Data Day

Cambridge’s Digital & Data Day offered an opportunity to share information and innovations about digital and data technologies. Over 50 talks from experts within Cambridge University and external keynote speakers were invited to share their thoughts.

Topics included digital accessibility, measuring the impact of learning, digital assessment, skills in the digital era, games-based learning, and open-access publishing.

One of the key themes was AI in education. A panel of school leaders, including Ali Kirkman, discussed ways in which teachers and students use AI.

Ali took this opportunity to highlight how exam boards can take steps to help students prepare for their future.

“We need exam boards to be brave and make some dramatic changes to bridge the gap between preparing students for life, which is what teachers really want to do and what students need, and the reality of preparing students for antiquated exams that are out of step with the way that our digitally literate Gen Z and Gen Alpha engage with their education and their environment. Sitting in a hall writing as fast as you can for three hours about what you can remember from the last two years is not a skill you will ever need when you leave school/uni. We all experienced this exam horror and yet we choose to do this to our young people.

“We need the people involved in education to be proactive, not reactive at a glacial rate like we are now, so we can lead the way on how we want technology to be used in schools, rather than let the rich tech companies decide …and you only have to look at the top ten richest people to see how that ends…

“It’s time for us to think about what education is actually for and what assessments should look like in 2024 and beyond, and for school leaders and teachers to have a regular voice in that debate—not just in a one-off panel for 40 minutes - but it’s a good start!”

Well done, Ali, for participating in this event! It’s fantastic to see so many people within the education sector consider the opportunities that AI and other new technologies might present in the future.