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Thinking skills in an AI world

A panel discussion next week will explore what students need to thrive in an AI future.

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What does education need to do differently to ensure students are able to positively shape their world?

Hosted by the NSW Department of Education and the University of NSW Grand Challenges Program, the discussion will draw on the expertise of leading UNSW academics and education experts engaged in the Education for a Changing World initiative.

The panel will feature:

  • Toby Walsh – Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at UNSW and Data61
  • Lyria Bennett Moses – Associate Professor and Director of the Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation at UNSW
  • Peter Ellerton – Founding Director of the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project
  • Christine Cawsey – Principal, Rooty Hill High School
  • Sandy Plunkett – Entrepreneur and founder of the independent consultancy, Innovation Clearinghouse

The event will be opened by Mark Scott, Secretary of the Department of Education, with closing remarks from Professor Geoff Crisp, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) at UNSW.

Leslie Loble, Deputy Secretary of External Affairs and Regulation at the NSW Department of Education, will moderate the discussion.

‘In an AI-augmented world, higher order, deeply embedded thinking skills will be even more important for students’ long-term success,” Ms Loble said.

“This panel will discuss with leading thinkers in AI, in industry and in education why this is the case, and what education can do to support students’ sense of agency and capacity to engage with an increasingly complex world.

“Students will need to emerge from their education with both deep knowledge and excellent skills to understand, interpret and shape their world – in the workplace, community and beyond.”

Mr Scott said today’s education systems needed to ensure students have the capacity to engage with new AI technologies.

“If AI is to be a force for good, our students need to not only be able to use technology but understand how it works and how it impacts them and the world around them,” Mr Scott said.

“Strong thinking skills are the building blocks that enable students to better know, influence and shape their world.”

The discussion panel will address some of the critical questions AI raises for today’s education systems, such as:

  • What types of human intelligence and thinking skills will young people need to leverage the opportunities that advancements in artificial intelligence will bring, as well as to minimise the potential risks?
  • How can we ensure that students have the capacity to critically and ethically engage with these new technologies which will increasingly impact on their lives?
  • How best do we prepare these future citizens in the face of greater complexity and a more demanding world?
  • What might education need to do differently to ensure students are able to positively shape their world?

The event will be held on Tuesday 4 December from 5.30pm to 7pm and will be livestreamed on the NSW Department of Education Facebook page.

For more information about this event visit Education for a Changing World.

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