ADAPT develops workshops for upskilling Junior Cycle teachers in AI, Ethics, and Technology

13 January 2021
ADAPT develops workshops for upskilling Junior Cycle teachers in AI, Ethics, and Technology

Participants in the ADAPT Centre’s responsible research and innovation workshops for teachers have highlighted their relevance across the Junior Cycle curriculum and revealed significant demand for them to be made available to all teachers and schools.

ADAPT researchers have co-developed a series of interdisciplinary workshops with the Department of Education and Skills for the STE(A)M in Junior Cycle initiative. Two workshops, entitled: “Technology, Research, and Innovation – The Future!”, were delivered by ADAPT Centre researchers in March 2020 using ADAPT’s tried and tested “Citizens’ Think-In” format. The interactive workshops engage teachers in an in-depth discussion, dialogue, and deliberation around one of the most significant emerging technologies worldwide: Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The workshop series aims to equip teachers with the skills to engage their students in cross-curricular discussions on how emerging technologies such as AI affect individuals and society more generally, thus ensuring that the next generation is cognisant of the transformational impact of STEM research and innovation.

About the workshops

Each two-hour workshop comprises an introductory presentation on key AI concepts and an overview of responsible research and innovation, with examples of societal implications for emerging AI technologies in areas such as jobs, security, privacy and civil liberties. This is followed by interactive small-group discussion scenarios that empower participants to talk about possible opportunities, impacts, risks and benefits of AI. The workshop culminates in a whole-group reflection exercise which provides a forum for participants to share anything that surprised them or helped them see a different perspective.

The workshops attracted not only teachers from traditional STEM subjects, but also from subject areas such as Religious Education and Home Economics. This interdisciplinary representation reflects the diversity of subject expertise in ADAPT, where research and interest in AI ethics and privacy are wide-ranging. That teachers from diverse subject areas are considering AI and its societal challenges and implications indicates that an increased number of students will have an understanding of the role of AI in their lives.

Feedback from teachers

Teacher feedback from the workshops was overwhelmingly positive and revealed the significant extent of teachers’ interest in AI, ethics, and responsible research and innovation. We are now collaborating with the Department of Education and Skills to develop and deliver an online version of the workshop series in order to address the demand for professional development in this area.

Feedback from teachers who attended ADAPT’s “Technology, Research and Innovation – The Future!” workshops in 2020.

In the classroom

Junior Cycle Science students from Lusk Community College in Dublin engage with ADAPT Centre workshop materials in the classroom following the JCT STE(A)M workshop delivered in Drumcondra Education Centre.


Through the H2020 INTEGRITY research project, ADAPT researchers are working with international colleagues in 9 other European countries to develop teaching materials and tools which aim to provide training for students in research integrity and research ethics. Training tools and courses will be developed for a variety of student cohorts from secondary school to undergraduate and masters degree level in University all the way to PhD and early-stage researcher level. These training tools will be partially based on some of the materials already developed and used in STE(A)M. The overall objective of INTEGRITY is to guarantee the quality and social impact of research and education all across Europe. Achieving this requires not only the right facilities and competent professionals, it also requires developing cultures of integrity where true merits and skills are rewarded and where cheating and corruption is discouraged and considered futile. The tools and courses developed will be designed to specifically meet these objectives.

The INTEGRITY project will be developing resources and tools for the teaching of research integrity over Summer 2020. Partners from all over Europe, as well as teachers from each of the partner countries, will be involved in the development of these tools. The aim is to test the tools in classrooms in September/October 2020, and again in early 2021 leading up to the European Student Convention in April 2021 where the tools will be trialed by students from each of the different cohort groups from each partner country. All tools will be accompanied by teacher training materials and workshops.

How Can Teachers Get Involved?

1. Register your interest for future ADAPT workshops for teachers by signing up for our mailing list

2. Download the JCT workshop materials for your class

3. Get in touch if you’d like to be involved in development of future workshops: [email protected]


Stay up to date on ADAPT’s Public Think-In event series

To stay up to date on the ADAPT Centre’s #DiscussAI Citizens’ Think In series of public events, sign up to our mailing list.

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