I recently received this inquiry about AI from someone very involved in promoting STEM at their local school district:
“Could you refer me to any info that would explain to me how AI might be of use to the student and to class instruction? This is coming but how is it to be incorporated? Can we use it currently in [my district]?”
I believe there are four major considerations for K-12 districts (and other educational institutions) to prepare for AI. Here are links to one resource for each consideration:
- Professional Development
- District Planning
- Lesson Plans
1. News on AI in Education: Edsurge
Edsurge is one of my trusted news sources for updates on emerging technologies such as AI: https://www.edsurge.com/news/topics/artificial-intelligence
2. Professional Development: Google Educator Certification
Another resource I would recommend for teachers directly is Google Educator Certification [this particular district uses Google Classroom across the system]: https://edu.google.com/intl/ALL_us/for-educators/certification-programs/product-expertise/educator-level1/
This certification is good for 3 years, and will enable ongoing contact with professional development needed to be prepared for the implementation of AI in education.
I think it is inevitable that AI is going to come to K-12 Schools, mostly by being incorporated into systems already in place, such as search engines, assessment reports, Google Classroom, etc. So whatever LMS or other reporting systems you are currently using should be rolling out professional development on AI soon, if they haven’t already.
3. District Planning: Whole Child Safety (Including Technology)
Personally, I agree with the folks who are saying that the current generation of AI is not ready for the public, not trustworthy yet, and potentially harmful to the human race. See “A.I. Poses ‘Risk of Extinction,’ Industry Leaders Warn” (30 May 2023) New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/30/technology/ai-threat-warning.html
It’s like giving people millions of race cars without seat belts, and most of our students shouldn’t be doing the tasks useful for AI yet anyway. The results all need a discerning human eye at present, so it may be detrimental to learning for now, and definitely bad for decision making. Until we have some reliable and enforceable industry standards in place, particularly around identity protection for children, then I’m urging caution by educators and administrators for now.
Here is a 360 Safety Framework for a school district to evaluate their promotion of student safety, including technology: https://info.navigate360.com/whole-child-safety-takes-whole-community
4. AI Lesson Plans for Teachers
At the same time, AI tools are going to be available, if they aren’t already, so hopefully teachers will get support to test different options in the classroom, then make recommendations to others in the district.
Despite my reservations about the current state of AI, I would highly encourage teachers of Juniors & Seniors to incorporate some training on publicly available AI. If we think 17-18 year olds can handle driving, R-rated movies, or enlisting in the military, they should hopefully be mature enough to start evaluating AI for themselves. Here are some resources for teachers who are interested in safely introducing AI and related computer science concepts: https://www.commonsense.org/education/lists/lessons-and-tools-for-teaching-about-artificial-intelligence
Have a question about ethics, technology, and education? Email Meagen Farrell at email@example.com.