How to Integrate AI in Everyday Teaching 

The digital landscape in education is an ever-changing entity that is being shaped by technological advancements and cultural shifts. What we think of as ‘cool tech toys’ today, like virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI), are becoming as essential to learning as books and pencils, writes Adil Hussain, digital teacher at Keighley College.  

 In the further education classroom, the role of technology has long since become pivotal in shaping the teaching and learning experiences of educators and students. But with the number of emerging technologies and the rapid growth of artificial intelligence (AI), we have come a long way in a very short time in what feels like a whole new transformation of our work.  

  Over the past 12 months, I have been exploring and utilising AI in different ways in the classroom and have seamlessly incorporated it into my everyday teaching practices. Leveraging a range of tools to help me organise, plan and teach my students has not only changed the way I teach, it also underscores the immense potential AI holds for the whole sector. 

Bringing simple ideas to life 

At the heart of my approach is Scribble Diffusion, a powerful tool catering to my Level 1 students studying English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) and foundation courses. Through this platform, students are encouraged to sketch a drawing and provide a prompt, showcasing how powerful generative AI is and how it brings their concepts to life. 

For example, the students were tasked with sharing a word to develop a narrative. This was further developed through Scribble Diffusion as a photo story. As a result, it not only boosted their confidence but also put their language and creative skills to the test, stimulating creativity and nurturing a deeper understanding of visual representation. 

Fostering innovation and creativity 

As a games design tutor, I have found the use of Leonardo AI helpful in fostering creativity and problem-solving skills among my Level 2 and 3 students, enhancing their ability to develop innovative and engaging game concepts. This free, token-based generative AI tool is versatile across various vocational courses, demonstrating its potential to cultivate a wide array of skills. 

I have also been utilising Quizalize which has become my go-to resource for creating engaging quizzes – particularly useful for new starter/student activities or session recaps. The integration of ChatGPT within Quizalize has helped me streamline the quiz creation process, showcasing the collaborative potential between educators and AI to enhance teaching methodologies. 

Streamlining processes for efficiency 

Another area I have been exploring is TeacherMatic, which has rapidly become an essential tool to streamline my workload. By automating routine tasks and providing easy access to educational resources, it has allowed me to focus more on instructional activities and student interaction.  

However, while it holds promise in reducing the burden on educators and has the potential to become effective if developed further, its widespread integration across educational institutions is yet to be fully realised. Gillian Keegan may be pinning her hopes on AI to reduce workload, but there is a long way to go to make this a reality. 

 In addition to all these tools, I have of course also invested in ChatGPT 4. Its personalised prompts feature sets it apart from the free version. Customisation will be significant in maximising AI’s effectiveness in the classroom and meeting diverse needs, but the cost implication is certainly something policy makers need to be aware of. 

Soft skills are vital in our day-to-day interactions and perhaps even more so in the working world. As a result, I have recently explored an app called Body Swaps for soft skills training. This innovative tool utilises VR to simulate interviews, providing individuals with a unique opportunity to refine their interpersonal skills. 

AI has revolutionised the way I work, making my teaching more personalised, efficient, and responsive, both in my day-to-day activities with students and in how I plan lessons. It has helped me facilitate seamless communication and resource sharing among my peers and students, fostering a community of continuous learning and professional development. 

All of which is truly beneficial for early adopters like me. (And there’s no reason you can’t become one too very quickly, no matter how inexperienced you feel.) The challenge now is to make this revolution systemic. 

Adil Hussain, digital teacher, Keighley College.  

Gold medal for welder Harry

One of our apprentices is celebrating being crowned the winner of a national skills competition.

Harry Pullan, who works for Byworth Boilers, triumphed at the finals of WorldSkills UK.

The 23 year old was one of just ten welding apprentices from around the country who made it through, after excelling in the regional heats, to the event’s ultimate stage.

Speaking after outperforming his competitors to win the gold medal, he said: “All I can say is that it’s been unreal to be able to compete, let alone win!

“I never thought I’d be quite good enough, but the support I received from college, work, family and friends has helped massively and I cannot say ‘thank you’ enough.

“I’m very grateful for everyone around me, and work has been great – my boss and managers were congratulating me all morning when I got back.”

A deserved win – and a proud day

Harry’s tutor, Adam Sutcliffe, was instrumental in giving him the self-belief to enter the competition.

He said: “Harry is a cracking lad who fully deserves the win, and anything that might come as a result!

“He has worked hard ever since he started his apprenticeship with us just over four years ago and myself and his previous tutors, Ash and Simon, are really chuffed for him.

“For a kid who is fairly quiet – and at one point, during the training for the previous round, told me he ‘wasn’t good enough’ –  to settle into it, work hard and go on to win the title says so much about his attitude. He should be immensely proud of himself.

“It is moments like this that make the job worthwhile – seeing your students develop and achieve. This is a proud moment for Keighley College!”

Harry, who is in the final year of his apprenticeship, took part in the national finals of WorldSkills UK 2023 between November 14-17.

More than 400 of the country’s best apprentices and students competed – demonstrating their expertise across a whole range of industry skills – at educational venues across Greater Manchester.

Skills competition final for apprentice Harry

‘A huge achievement!’.

That is how one of our apprentice welders, Harry Pullan, has described reaching the finals of a national skills competition.

The 23 year old is one of just ten welding apprentices from across the country who will battle it out in the ultimate stage of WorldSkills UK this winter.

Harry, who is working for Keighley firm Byworth Boilers, earned his place after impressing the judges in the regional heats in July.

A morale-boosting confirmation

He said: “It feels unreal to have reached the final, but I am glad to see my efforts pay off! I love my job and to be part of the final ten in this competition just lets me know I’m in the right place.

“The qualifiers were a good experience because I met some lads from another company and was able to find out a bit about their work, and learn about a few different machines.

“Working as an apprentice has provided me with the best of both worlds because I get all the practical, on-the-job learning and then at college I learn all the technical knowledge and get my qualifications.”

Harry’s welding journey began when he was 19. He started his apprenticeship working for a firm that makes scaffolding towers and stillages, before moving to Byworth Boilers last summer.

Outstanding support

He said: “My knowledge and skills have increased so much since joining Byworth, and Keighley College is the reason I ended up there – and in the WorldSkills competition. I can’t say enough good things about the college; I owe a huge thanks to my tutor, Adam Sutcliffe, and my assessor, Ash Fieldsend, for their support.”

Apprentice welder Harry Pullan receiving his certificate, which earned him a place in the national finals, at the regional qualifiers of WorldSkills UK
Apprentice welder Harry Pullan receiving his certificate, which earned him a place in the national finals, at the regional qualifiers of WorldSkills UK

Tutor Adam encouraged Harry to push on in the competition when he had doubts. He said: “Harry is a top student, and has been since he started as a level 2 apprentice.

“He’s keen in the classroom and wants to learn and, practically speaking, he just loves to weld – and he’s very good at it.

“He is a cracking lad and is a pleasure to have in the group. We are all chuffed for him, and I think he will do well come finals day.”

Looking ahead to a bright future

Harry will be one of more than 400 students and apprentices – competing in 51 skills ranging from digital construction to health and social care – taking part in the WorldSkills UK finals in November.

He added: “All I can do in the final is focus, work and get my tasks done. If I get a podium finish then I’ll be over the moon, but even if I place last I’ll be happy because to be in the top ten is already a huge achievement for me.

“As for the future, I’ll have to wait and see because I am very happy at Byworth but, at the same time, I would love to weld all over the world.”

The WorldSkills UK finals will be held at colleges, independent training providers and universities across Greater Manchester from November 14 – 17.

The art of artificial intelligence

Students have been finding out how artificial intelligence (AI) can unlock their creativity.

Tim Rogers, the founder of Future Transformation, came into college on 31 October to give a talk on Astro Art.

Tim worked with the college earlier this year, when we  hosted Keighley’s first ever TEDx talk. This time he was here to show Alternative Provision learners how they could use AI software to generate their own artwork.

Course leader for Alternative Provision, Philip Hartley, said: “The different cohorts of learners really enjoyed the session.

“Some ended up not actually creating any art as they were so engrossed in their discussion on AI, and the implications of it for modern life!”

A really positive adventure

He added: “But another group of pre-16 students enjoyed the adventure of creating images and altering them using different layers of AI.

“They created many different ideas that we look forward to sharing in the near future.

“Overall, this was a really positive experience for all who took part and we’re hoping to welcome Future Transformation back for another session.”

Future Transformation, which runs the TEDx talks, is a social enterprise that provides awareness, opportunities and programmes for people who want to get into technology.

‘Thanks Keighley!’ – top research scientist recalls college days

An expert in developmental biology has thanked Keighley College for providing him with the platform to embark on a distinguished scientific career.

Dr Matthew Towers is currently a senior researcher at the University of Sheffield with a specialist interest in limb development.

To reach that esteemed position, he studied at a number of universities around the UK – but can trace the start of his scientific endeavours back to Keighley College.

Excellent support and a focus on STEM

He said: “I attended Keighley College between 1991 and 1995, first studying for GCSEs and then A levels.

“The team there was very supportive and provided excellent mentorship. I enjoyed the adult-oriented learning environment, and mixing with other students of different ages and backgrounds.

“I flourished at Keighley College because I was able to study STEM-based subjects without being distracted by other activities that I had not been interested in at school.”

Matthew went on to obtain a BSc in genetics from the University of Leeds, and a PhD in plant developmental biology from The John Innes Centre, in Norwich.

Deciding that he wanted to specialise in a medically-related field, he then did postdoctoral work at the Universities of Dundee and Bath, studying how limbs develop in the embryo,.

In 2010, Matthew moved to the University of Sheffield, where he is a reader of developmental biology. He has since opened his own research laboratory with initial support from the  Medical Research Council and now, the Wellcome Trust.

He said: “My research still focuses on limb development, for instance on how the correct type of digit forms in the correct position.”

Recalling his college days, he added: “I remember my time at Keighley College fondly, and I am grateful that it helped me start my career.”

Click here to find out more about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) courses at Keighley College.