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June 5th 2024

AI Through the Lens of a Girl

In June, Blackheath High School hosted an innovative conference entitled ‘AI Through the Lens of a Girl’, devised and hosted by two of our specialist Teaching & Learning School Consultant Teachers, Daisy Munroe and Sophie Blythe. Aimed at teachers from GDST schools and local state schools, the conference brought together a range of AI experts and educators to address the profound impact that this new technology - dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution – will have; with a focus on the intersection of AI in education, in the business sector, in society as a whole and for women.  

The conference featured keynote speeches from Dr Kerry McInerney, author, podcaster, and senior researcher in gender, race, and AI at Cambridge University, and recently named one of the 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics; and Toju Duke, former UK Lead for ‘Women in AI’ and founder of ‘Diverse AI’. Toju spent 10 years at Google leading responsible AI processes.  

We also hosted a range of hands-on workshops including:  

  • The impact of AI on assessments - led by representatives from the AQA exam board 

  • AI and safeguarding  

  • Practical ideas for implementing AI for educators  

  • Creating school policies around AI - led by the co-chair of GDST AI Committee 

  • Girls, AI, and research: navigating the digital frontier  

We worked with AI media specialists In The Room to develop an AI powered student panel, which allowed the audience to engage with our students about their understanding, usage, aspirations and potential fears of AI. Experience our AI with 'In the Room' below.

The conference marked the launch of the Blackheath High School Futures Programme, designed to ensure our students are equipped with the skills the World Economic Forum predicts will be most in demand by 2030 – including leadership, resilience, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity. These are all skills needed in a future world where AI dominates - but critically we are designing them for girls. Schools like ours will be at the forefront of helping girls to navigate AI, proactively teaching the skills they need, preparing for the careers they can move into, tackling the inequalities they will face, and helping them to stay safe.  

Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education, as well as achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls, is a UN Sustainable Development Goal. A recent PwC report revealed an average 14% higher salary for AI-related roles in the UK (rising to 25% in the US). And this is not just future-facing jobs that have not yet been created. Legal positions requiring knowledge of AI, for instance, now command sizable salary increases. And yet women are historically underrepresented in STEM and technology fields and the gender pay gap has never closed. It is critical that women are not left behind - we have a responsibility to prevent the age of AI from creating new barriers to women’s progression. 

Daisy Munroe commented: “The impact, opportunities, and challenges that AI is already having, and will continue having on the lives of women and girls, is in danger of being overlooked or underestimated. The intention of our conference was not necessarily to offer answers or solutions to the ever-evolving landscape of AI; but to ignite the conversation in the education space, and ensure it is one that is in the forefront of the minds of practitioners and leaders.” 

AI with 'In The Room'
As Artificial Intelligence becomes an integral part of our lives, Blackheath High School is taking a deep dive into AI's impact on education, and specifically on girls. We have partnered with AI specialists In The Room to create an AI-driven virtual student panel, asking all the big questions educators want to understand. What do students think of the future of AI? Does it have a place in the classroom? Are they already using it? Is it replacing teachers, or can we learn to use it responsibly?
Our students are ready to start a conversation 'In The Room' - you can also click on the image below to start:
AI In the Room image
  • To ask a question, simply 'start conversation'.
  • Press the red button down to ask Anjini (Year 12), Georgia (Year 9) or Xanthe (Year 6) a question and release when you have finished speaking.
  • Suggested questions will pop up on the screen, and you can also type questions in if you don't have access to a microphone.
*This experience works on any device.
For more information on our AI conference, please contact Miss Hickman, Assistant Head (Learning & Enrichment).
For more information on In The Room, please visit their website.

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