14/05/2024

“Exciting times in Education”: A blog by Digital Innovation Manager, Kirsty Ingleson

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Photo of Kirsty Ingleson

I have been so excited to write this blog, because my job role, the sector and the innovation around digital and AI right now is on fire.

Kirklees College is currently in a fantastic position in regards to digital innovation, pedagogy and AI, and I have been lucky enough to play a key part in this journey. One of our strategic aims is to promote digital curiosity, and we have all the right foundations for this.

We launched our Innovation Hub and Immersive Room at our Huddersfield Centre in October 2023, and have been running an AI pilot for the last year. The infrastructure is there and it is now supporting us to take off.

My journey with AI began in November 2022, when my friend Dr Sarah Jane Daly from the University of Huddersfield sent me a message saying “we have just had some training on chat GPT, get on it”. An hour later I was engrossed and so excited for the possibilities and potential impact this could have in the sector. I’m not sure if I considered the impact on staff wellbeing and workload at this point, but it didn’t take me long to realise the power of AI and its potential to reduce workload, support wellbeing, streamline tasks and ultimately retain staff in the FE sector.

At Kirklees College, we are keen not to make people feel forced to use AI, as it is not a requirement to deliver outstanding lessons, however we are keen for all staff to have an awareness and understanding of AI. We owe it to our students to be ahead of the curve – their futures will be impacted by AI and now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand. I have secretly been proud as punch about the amount of people booking onto AI CPD, sharing their innovation and more importantly, recovering their personal time on a weekend and evening as a result.

I thrive when I can be innovative and creative and that has been contagious for me, in and out of Kirklees College. Some other colleges and schools have asked me to speak and deliver sessions on their staff development days. I pride myself on connecting with people and supporting them on their early adoption of anything AI and digital. I cleverly branded my training ‘AI with KI’ (Kirsty Ingleson). While running staff training at Myerscough College, I was made aware that KI was German for artificial intelligence so double whammy there – it feels like it was made for me!

It hasn’t been difficult to enthuse people about AI; the platforms do a good job of that for me. The great thing about AI is that there is no need to be ‘tech savvy’. A simple prompt such as “give me 12 different meal options for my tea” saw jaws drop early last year – who actually enjoys thinking up ideas for tea? From there I often demonstrate how we can improve the prompt, then demonstrate a prompt which links to curriculum and watch the sparks of inspiration fly. This was early days, and since then I have created an AI army at KC. People are curious and exploring and have now surpassed early adoption. AI can be scary for some, so no matter how many times I deliver training, I would like to think that I will always maintain the ability of meeting people where they are at.

Of course, there are challenges surrounding AI, and always lots of questions to deliberate on. One thing that gives me a sense of comfort is being part of an FE collaboration group. At the end of February, we hosted a college’s collaboration meeting which focused on AI and assessment. Staff attended from Heart of Yorkshire, Luminate Education Group, Nottingham, Oldham, Burton and South Derbyshire, Hopwood, Myerscough and Newham Colleges. It’s a fantastic feeling to meet like-minded people, passionate about improving educational outcomes and supporting each other.

We are navigating our digital future together and I’m always keen to share – it’s not copying, it’s sticking together, being supportive and sharing a love for improving student outcomes.

If you are interested in starting your career at Kirklees College, check out our latest vacancies.

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