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AI, Autonomous Vehicles and the Metaverse: the future is here – why staying educated is crucial

Dr Catherine Ball had the staff at Wesley thinking about the future - roads full of driverless cars, online town squares… except they already are a part of the daily lives of many.

Dr Ball quoted from famous author William Gibson when she highlighted 'the future is here, it's just not evenly distributed.' With this future-focused view, staff are ready to prepare themselves and our students for the challenges of the changing world. Dr Ball delivered an exciting and eye-opening talk about the future of technology.

Dr Catherine Ball is a scientific futurist, author and speaker who works globally, getting involved with a variety of projects such as speaking at conferences and events, advising on environmental and humanitarian projects as well as creating documentaries. We were fortunate enough to host Dr Ball at our termly Principal’s Day event, attended by all Wesley College staff, as our keynote speaker.

In her talk Dr Ball emphasised the importance of teachers embracing new technologies to better connect with our students and understand on a deeper level the tech-driven environment they are growing up in. We also learnt how tech giants such as Microsoft are behind many of the platforms we use in our everyday lives without even realising it, and how it is these large corporations that are paving the way to a world dominated by AI and other new technologies. Although this might seem like a scary prospect, by embracing the tech that is everywhere, we can use it to both improve our lives and the lives of future generations.

With the rise of new social media sites such as TikTok and the recently introduced Threads by Meta, along with the increasing introduction of autonomous vehicles, we were reminded by Dr Ball that we have to make a conscious effort to stay up to date with the technology of the future: by doing this we can ensure that we can make a real impact on our students’ social and academic development. It is vital for anyone involved in a student’s life to do the same and keep up to date with the technology the younger generations are using every day.

Dr Ball’s talk enhanced our continuous effort to support our staff through professional learning and to get the whole Wesley community engaged with these new ideas. Cameron Paterson, Director of Learning, expanded on this goal, saying, ‘It's an exciting time to be in education as technology empowers more creative and personalised learning opportunities. We are all adapting quickly to a transforming landscape. It is important for our staff to engage with these sessions not only for their own development, but also because we hope to inspire our students to do the same and realise that learning doesn’t stop when you leave school.’