BETT recap
February 14 2024
Bett Conference

All A.I., all the time
Plus the future of AI for EdGate

I had the opportunity to attend the BETT conference in London, January 22-24. Billed as the world’s biggest EdTech event, the British Educational Training and Technology show included 500+ exhibitors, 300+ speakers and 30,000 attendees. Now that I picture time with a giant sharpie clearly delineating pre-COVID and post-COVID, I can report that post-COVID BETT looked and sounded vastly different than pre-COVID BETT. My 2016 pre-COVID BETT notes were dominated by conversations with assessment publishers and observations about assessment changes. There were talks about assessments becoming more intelligent and allowing tests to grow with students. A speaker questioned who will evaluate open ended question. After all, human examiners add a degree of bias.

Bett Chart

Fast forward to post-COVID BETT 2024. BETT 2024 was dominated by the theme of AI. There is much evidence that the use of AI can exponentially expand concerns around bias. Looking back, pre-COVID BETT suddenly seemed like a simpler time.

I pulled out my phone and started snapping photos of every company that mentioned AI on their booth display. I quickly realized that I was going to use up too much of my Google storage space because I would be taking photos of almost every single booth at the BETT conference. Abandon plan.

I heard speakers talk about the incredible ways that AI can be used to create and improve assessment products; train youth to prepare for future jobs; dynamically adjust the level of difficulty for each individual learner profile; and assist teachers in explaining very complex concepts to students.

For a reality check, I attended a very informative EdWeek seminar filled with their always informative survey data. EdWeek shared statistics explaining results of a survey showing that the majority of teachers are still not using or teaching AI in their classrooms. Many district officials are not impressed enough with AI to recommend their districts use it and therefore AI-created products would not impact their decision to purchase specific types of instructional products.

That said, the Edweek survey showed that many teachers are intrigued by the potential of AI to challenge high-performing students, help with PD and Special Ed. As quickly as something like a pandemic can happen, AI blanketed the BETT conference agenda at full tilt with speakers, teachers, students, vendors all buzzing about AI.

At EdGate we are finding ways in which we can use AI. EdGate has already created an AI-based tool called AutoAlign that is used to automatically suggest K-12 standards alignments. Now we are expanding our AI toolset to more quickly connect equivalent Career and Technical Education (CTE)  standards across states. Why focus on CTE? The world of CTE is vast. Every state has their own set of CTE standards with some that are voluminous (ahem…Virginia). We want to provide the ability to align CTE content to all applicable CTE standards using a global approach (not state-by-state) exactly as we do with K-12 education content. AI will help us improve efficiency, affordability, and accuracy. The AI tool we are perfecting now will solve the complex and gargantuan task of connecting all CTE standards across the U.S. and beyond.

Please be on the lookout for further information in the next few months regarding our rollout of EdGate’s new AI tools. I’m sure there is an AI tool (Google Alerts) that can be used so that you will be automatically notified when EdGate rolls out our AI tool. Or we’ll just email you!

Gina Faulk
EdGate General Manager