Exploring New Horizons: Teacher Professional Development in the Age of AI – Insights from Thematic Seminar and Report

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In an age marked by rapid technological advancements, teachers stand at the forefront of a revolution that necessitates not just a reconsideration of teaching methods but also an ongoing dedication to professional growth. As artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, become more prevalent in classrooms, there arises a pressing need for teacher professional development to adapt, enhance skills, and seize the teaching and learning opportunities presented.

The recently concluded Thematic Seminar, which was organised as a three-part webinar series by the European Schoolnet Academy, culminating in the launch of the report titled “Professional Development for Teachers in the Age of AI,” explored the multifaceted aspects of AI’s impact on teacher training and how educators can navigate this transformative landscape and embrace a new path in their professional development.

The first webinar focused on examining various competency frameworks that can guide teacher training in deciding relevant areas to focus on.  It also highlighted areas that teacher training should prioritize to enable effective and responsible use of AI by teachers . Lidija Kralj, Senior Education Analyst at European Schoolnet, emphasised the importance of developing teachers’ general digital competences, particularly cultivating teachers’ proficiency in ethics and humanity, and ensuring a comprehensive understanding of digital pedagogy and AI mechanics. Supporting this, Lidija highlighted competence frameworks such as DigCompEdu and SELFIE FOR TEACHERS, as well as findings from the OECD Employment Outlook.

While Lidija Kralj examined various competency frameworks to guide teacher training, Mutlu Cukurova, Professor of Learning and Artificial Intelligence at University College London, delved into the question of how teacher trainers can make use of AI in training activities in the second webinar. He explored strategies leveraging generative AI capabilities, addressed associated challenges, and discussed implications for teacher training programmes, focusing on designing customized teacher training assistants using LLMs and AI image and video generation.

‘The mere existence of AI solutions is not sufficient to realise their potential benefits; it is equally crucial to ensure that teachers are adequately motivated to engage with them. Teacher trainers are pivotal!’

 Mutlu Cukurova, UCL

The final webinar showcased teacher training activities from across Europe utilising AI, with practitioners presenting diverse examples and methodologies. Jessica Niewint Gori (INDIRE), Keith Aquilina(MEYR), Arjana Blazic (European Schoolnet), and Paul Van Branteghem (SPAIN AI) offered varied perspectives on AI’s application in teacher training, aiming to inspire reflection and innovation among teacher trainers. While the effectiveness of these initiatives remains unstudied and context-dependent, they prompt considerations for future AI integration in teacher training.

The thematic seminar underscored the critical need for a multifaceted approach to teacher professional development in the age of AI. Teachers must cultivate specific skills and competencies, embrace thoughtful strategies, engage in collaborative learning, and commit to continuous adaptation. The practical insights offered by the exploration serve as a guide for teacher trainers, enabling effective and informed practices that support teachers in integrating AI into their classrooms. As we navigate the future, the synthesis of ethics, digital pedagogy, and AI fundamentals stands as the foundation for empowering teachers in the dynamic landscape of AI-supported education.

‘Some teachers perceive AI as overly technical and distant, deterring them from delving into the field. Therefore, it’s important to demonstrate how it works through simple tools and examples to bridge this gap.’

Paul Van Branteghem, Spain AI

The European Schoolnet Academy hopes that this thematic seminar was insightful and will open the door to more discussion and collaboration on the theme of AI in Teacher Training. For further details, you can download the full report.

If you missed the live sessions, you have the opportunity to view the recording and access the slides:

1 Comment


Tatyana · February 9, 2024 at 12:02

Thanks, it’s very important for professional development our teachers and facilities too

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