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Conference

ACT Teaching Citizenship Conference 2024

Join the Citizenship teaching community's biggest event. Take a look at the programme for the day, including speakers and workshops.

ACT Teaching Citizenship Conference 2024

26 June 2024; 10:00 – 17:30 (registration from 09:00)

Coin Street Conference Centre, 108 Stamford St, London SE1 9NH

ACT’s annual Teaching Citizenship Conference is returning in 2024. The event will bring together teachers, practitioners and other stakeholders to amplify and exchange ideas that support quality Citizenship teaching.

Conference Theme

Developing the digital citizen: What do teachers need to know? AI, Rights and Democracy

From self-driving cars to automated algorithms shaping our newsfeeds, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is weaving itself into the very fabric of our lives. But what does this mean for democracy, for human rights, and for the critical task of educating the next generation of engaged, informed citizens?

ACT’s Teaching Citizenship Conference, Developing the Digital Citizen: AI, Rights, and Democracy, invites you to explore this exciting (and perhaps daunting) subject among fellow teachers, practitioners and stakeholders, equipping you with the knowledge to empower students to navigate the complexities of AI with a critical approach.

This conference is a vibrant intersection of cutting-edge ideas and practical solutions. We’ll be inviting speakers to facilitate interactive workshops where you’ll explore:

  • AI’s potential pitfalls and promises for democracy
  • Harnessing technology for active citizenship: Design engaging projects that leverage AI to promote social justice, political participation, and responsible digital behaviour
  • Transforming your classroom into a hub of innovation: Discover creative ways to integrate AI tools into your curriculum, sparking curiosity and igniting meaningful discussions – this links to the Education Secretary’s opening address at Bett show 2024
  • Empowering yourself and your students: Explore practical strategies for managing workload, navigating the legal landscape of AI use, and equipping your students with essential digital literacy skills

Conference Programme

Take a look at our draft conference timetable and workshops.

View conference programme and workshops

This is not just a conference, it’s a collaborative journey. Come join a community of passionate educators and individuals with a commitment to citizenship, as we forge the future of Citizenship education. Leave equipped with fresh perspectives, actionable strategies, and a renewed sense of purpose as we guide our students towards becoming informed, responsible, and empowered citizens in the age of AI.

Ready to embrace the digital revolution and reshape Citizenship education? Register today and let’s co-create a future where technology illuminates the path towards a more just and fair democracy!

Book now

Our 2024 Teaching Citizenship Conference will discuss and consider:

  • AI’s influence on Citizenship curriculum: How emerging technologies like AI are shifting the landscape of citizen education
  • Threats and opportunities for democracy: The potential pitfalls and empowering possibilities of AI in the democratic process
  • The benefits and risks of AI when teaching informed citizens 
  • The legal frameworks surrounding AI, understanding its role in shaping democracy
  • The impact of technology on elections and rights of participation
  • Practical skills and applications of AI in the classroom to support teaching and reduce workload 
  • Understand how AI can be used to support advocacy campaigns and active citizenship
  • Real-world strategies for safe tech use: Equip your students with essential skills to navigate the digital world responsibly and critically
  • Digital democracy and the citizen’s role: Examine the implications of AI for active participation and representation in a technological age
  • Innovative teaching methods: Fresh classroom ideas in light of current technology trends

You will leave with:

  • deeper understanding of AI’s impact on Citizenship education
  • ready-to-use strategies for integrating AI and technology into your classroom
  • greater confidence in navigating the evolving digital landscape of democracy
  • connections and resources to support your journey as a citizenship educator

The conference aims to: 

  • bring together teachers, practitioners and other stakeholders to amplify and exchange ideas that support quality Citizenship teaching 
  • explore different teaching approaches that help students to develop informed opinions about these urgent issues, while ensuring teaching remains impartial
  • consider the opportunities, challenges and potential solutions including how we nurture young people’s political agency, especially in making informed decisions about what types of citizen action are appropriate
  • encourage new thinking and learning about Citizenship education, teaching and practice and promote dialogue and collaboration across schools nationally

Who should attend:

Those who are new to teaching Citizenship, established Citizenship teachers and subject leaders, as well as those leading curriculum development in their school or institution. The conference will also support others with a commitment and interest in embedding Citizenship and strengthening democracy.

Reserve your place now

Our Conference Sponsors

Guest Speakers and Panelists

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Rt. Hon Lord Blunkett

ACT Honorary President

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Helen Blachford

Chair of ACT Council & Director of Personal Development and Citizenship at Priory School

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Liz Moorse

Chief Executive, ACT

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Marcus Bhargava

Chair of ACT Trustees

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Lord Jim Knight

Lord Knight of Weymouth, AI in education expert

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Josie Verghese

Assistant Editor, UK Insights, BBC News & Head of BBC Young Reporter

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Louise Crow

Chief Executive, MySociety

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Jaspal Kaur Sadhu Singh

Senior Lecturer , Canterbury Christ Church University

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Mark Rusling

Director of Learning and Professional Development, National Holocaust Museum

Workshop Speakers

Browse some of the confirmed conference workshop speakers below. Please note this list will grow as further sessions are confirmed.

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Sam Clarke

MA Student and Primary PGCE lecturer, Canterbury Christ Church University

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Asher Jacobsberg

Schools Consultant, European Parliament Liaison Office in the United Kingdom

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Jaspal Kaur Sadhu Singh

Senior Lecturer , Canterbury Christ Church University

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Olivia Platman

Programme Director, The Economist Educational Foundation

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Jeremy Hayward

Associate Professor, UCL

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Mark Rusling

Director of Learning and Professional Development, National Holocaust Museum

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Charlie Stansfield

Senior Educator, National Holocaust Museum

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Dr Lanora Callahan

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Roehampton University

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Professor Bryony Hoskins

Research Explorer, Roehampton University

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Martin Ridley

Head of Citizenship and International Coordinator, St Peter’s Catholic School, Bournemouth

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Samantha Austen

Business Development Director, The Day

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Helen Blachford

Chair of ACT Council & Director of Personal Development and Citizenship at Priory School

Learn more about our planned conference workshops

More workshops coming soon

1a: Can we legislate away misinformation in the AI age?
Asher Jacobsberg, Schools Consultant
Anna Huth, PR officer – Cultural and Youth Liaison Attaché
European Parliament Liaison Office in the United Kingdom

AI has the potential to hyper-charge the already rampant march of misinformation. The EU and the UK are at the forefront of legislating around AI, but do their interventions meet this particular challenge? This session will consider some real-world examples that highlight the intersection of legislation, campaigning, free speech and technology. The session will explain the current legislative efforts, comparing the UK and EU’s approaches, and give you practical ideas that you can take back to your school to help students discuss: How do we know who to trust? What is transparency, and why is it important? Can we pass a law to make people tell the truth?

1b: Teaching digital news literacy
Samantha Austen, Business Development Director, The Day
Helen Blachford, Chair of ACT Council and Subject Director of Personal Development, Bohunt Trust

Helen Blachford, Trust Subject Director of Personal Development and Curriculum Leader Citizenship & PSHE at The Priory Southsea, chair of ACT Council and long-time member of The Day, alongside The Day’s Sam Austen, provide practical tips in an interactive session on how to support students to become critical consumers of digital news.

  • How false news creates mistrust
  • Difference between misinformation and disinformation
  • How to discern the source of news information
  • How to spot AI news and images
  • Live “lesson” on spotting fact versus opinion using The Day’s Six Steps to Discovery framework

1c: Citizenship in a time of AI
Martin Ridley, Head of Citizenship, St Peter’s Catholic School, Bournemouth

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reduce workload and to boost engagement; a tour of ideas and opportunities for teachers. This workshop is packed with tips, resources and practical strategies for creating useful resources that save teachers time, together with a range of options for developing student thinking and learning. We will focus mainly on free-to-use resources such as ChatGPT and briefly cover the basics of AI, moving on to efficiently developing useful teaching, homelearning and revision resources. Content is aimed at teachers who would like to know how to get on with using AI to improve their workload / life balance and to find new ways of using their expertise to boost engagement and learning. The session includes ideas and websites that have all been tried, tested and recommended by a range of subject teachers and heads of departments with the intention of helping colleagues to make the most of the technology that is out there for us to use.

1d: Bridging Borders: Co-constructing inclusive classroom interventions to improve political self-efficacy of underprivileged girls across diverse educational contexts
Professor Bryony Hoskins & Dr Lanora Callhan, University of Roehampton G-EPIC Project

One of the ways to tackle inequalities in political engagement and democratic voice is through inclusive citizenship education. Nevertheless, until now little is known on which inclusive methods are effective at increasing political engagement. This workshop will discuss inclusive citizenship pedagogies developed and initial research results on what works for increasing disadvantaged girls confidence to engage in politics from the EU/UKRI G-EPIC research project. In this project innovative teaching methods were co-constructed between teachers, students, citizenship stakeholders, and researchers across 3 countries for Year 9 students. In the workshop we will discuss the implications from the research for citizenship teaching and learning and the challenges of incorporating technology into inclusive citizenship teaching practice.

2a: Is AI the last technology humans will have to make?
Olivia Platman, Programme Director, The Economist Educational Foundation

In an age of misinformation, polarisation and fake news, our students are bombarded with media they can’t make sense of and debates they can’t access – but AI can. So where’s the harm? In this session, we’ll show how Topical Talk helps students break down one of the biggest issues of our time for engaging, accessible exploration in the classroom. We’ll give practical strategies that encourage students to reflect on diverse opinions, and we’ll share innovative ways to connect students in open-minded, informed discussions. Our top tips, and all of the activity ideas in the session, are flexible and can be used across the Citizenship curriculum to develop communication skills, critical-thinking and cultural capital.

2b: The Cross to X: Anti-Jewish Racism in the Classroom
Charlie Stansfield & Mark Rusling, Education Directors, The National Holocaust Centre and Museum

Since the attacks of October 7th, anti-Jewish racism in Britain has escalated to levels never previously recorded. These issues have affected schools throughout the country, leaving many teachers and school leaders unsure of how to respond to incidents. This session from the National Holocaust Museum’s Racism Response Unit will explore the history of anti-Jewish hatred from medieval England, through the Nazis’ genocidal racism to the algorithmic online tropes of the present day (many generated via AI). We will unpick the codes used by anti-Jewish racists today and discuss the types of scenarios that are being seen far too often in modern Britain.

2c: Should AI be in UK classrooms?
Sam Clarke, MA Student and Primary PGCE lecturer, Canterbury Christ Church University

AI has brought teachers to the precipice of a potential pedagogical revolution, but does AI live up to the hype? In this interactive workshop you will explore AI’s intersection with education policy, delve into groundbreaking theory, and unravel the driving factors causing AI to enter the classroom. Engage in lively discussions about benefits and pitfalls of AI, gain practical tools, and empower yourself to consider integrating AI into your classroom. Whether you’re an educator, policymaker, or advocate of education innovation, reserve your spot now to join the debate on if AI should integrate with a classroom.

3a: Responding to conspiracy theory, disinformation and dangerous ideas in the classroom
Jeremy Hayward, Associate Professor, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Schools teach what could be called ‘official knowledge’. The advent of social media has seen a massive increase in the spread of conspiracy theory, disinformation and dangerous ideologies (such as Andrew Tate’s brand of misogyny) and increasingly these ideas are spilling over in the classroom – the domain of official knowledge. How should teachers respond? This workshop will introduce the existing research in this area and outline different possible approaches that teachers could take. Delegates will then consider a true case study set in a classroom in Germany and also reflect their own experiences in this area.

3b: A better friend, a better cheater or a better tutor? Generative AI and the Law
Jaspal Kaur Sadhu Singh, Senior Lecturer, Canterbury Christ Church University

In this interactive session, participants will explore how developments in generative AI raise legal and ethical questions to maintain the other AI – Academic Integrity. Led by Dr Jaspal Kaur Sadhu Singh, Senior Lecturer in Law and expert in AI Law at Canterbury Christ Church University, the session will encourage educators to think critically about the legal and ethical risks of the technology and its use in education and why AI poses some unique challenges that are not seen with other technologies.

With a strong emphasis on responsible governance, this workshop aims to provide educators with a firm understanding of generative AI’s legal and ethical risks. More importantly, it equips them with practical strategies curated that can be easily implemented to safeguard academic integrity. These strategies, presented as a checklist comprising a set of principles, are designed to be accessible and user-friendly.

3c: Using AI to support our weaker GCSE students structure A03 answers
Lorellie Canning, Lead Practitioner, Stantonbury School, Milton Keynes

In an age of AI our students are bombarded left right and centre with various stimuli. So how can we harness AI to help our weakest students? In this session, we’ll show how AI can help students to break down difficult concepts and offer structure to help their development of answers. Our top tips, and all of the activity ideas in the session, are flexible and can be used across the Citizenship curriculum to develop communication skills, critical-thinking and cultural capital.

 

Why should you attend the conference?

1) You will learn from experts across a variety of curriculum areas

Learn from organisations who specialise in topical areas of the curriculum; from media and political literacy, social action and economic education. You will expand your subject knowledge and pedagogical approaches, as each session aims to ensure that your curriculum is as up-to-date as it should be.

2) Connect with others and you’ll approach challenges in new ways

Networking with purpose can be extremely beneficial to your curriculum approach and practice. You will discuss new ideas with others and approach challenges in different ways. The conference aims to bring together experienced teachers with colleagues newer to Citizenship to enable the sharing of best practice. Our exhibition will also allow you to form relationships with national and local organisations that can continue to support your teaching after the conference.

3) Take away resources you can use in your lessons tomorrow

The conference is the place where you can inform your practice. The sessions are practical in nature, with the aim of giving you something to leave with after each input, which can be adapted to your school context straight away. Think guides, fact sheets, lesson plans, curriculum maps; you will be spoiled!

4) Enhance your academic knowledge around the subject

Interested in why we teach in certain ways, or why it is important to address social issues? Research informed sessions enhance your academic knowledge across the subject, as well as give you the wider context around the importance of democratic education. Sessions on the social gap in political engagement, and youth philanthropy are sure to get your mind racing.

5) Ensure you are ready for the future

The conference is all about the future: future challenges; generations; and, how the future of teaching needs to adapt. From technology to curriculum content, you will leave the conference full of fresh ideas on how to educate your students for democratic life.

Book now

FAQs

These are some of the questions we are most often asked about our events. If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to help.