Guest Blog: David Slattery – Head of STEM at Claremont Prep – talks technology making progress in schools

Nusrat Ghani

In many areas of work, repeated automated tasks lend themselves to robotic technology.  McDonalds is already experimenting with robot chefs in some of their US restaurants, and there are fields where technology can enhance what humans can already do: robot assisted-surgery, for example, helps overcome many limitations associated with invasive surgical procedures. 

When I ask my pupils where they see technology going in the future, their answers often include physical technology like Robotics, but what skills do they need to work in this field? Robot engineers are very clever people (somewhat generalists), with core skills of Computer Programming, Maths, and Engineering. At Claremont we offer opportunities for pupils to take part in clubs to start to put these skills into practice using Lego WeDo and Spike Prime sets. It is always pleasing to see a pupil’s delight when their thinking, planning, building and programming come together to make some Lego move!

We have high expectations of our pupils but appreciate they learn in different ways and at different paces. In this respect the EdTech industry sees Artificial Intelligence as a growth area, exploring solutions that replicate the skill of a teacher in identifying pupils’ strengths and gaps in learning. AI tools that teach new material but enable pupils to work at their own pace and only move forward when a concept is understood continue to evolve, and why we will no doubt hear more about software companies like CenturyTech, Pamoja, Kognity and others in the future. The pandemic has taught us that teacher/pupil relationships drive learning communities forward, but if AI can assist in helping all children make progress, it is time to embrace it. 

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