Jan 03 2019

How K–12 Schools Have Adopted Artificial Intelligence

AI integration offers new potential to improve student outcomes and security.

Over the past several years, artificial intelligence transitioned from the movie screen to reality, and soon it will be everywhere.

The ubiquity of AI across industries leads to two key points for K–12 schools

First, K–12 schools should use current AI solutions to help with everything from classroom performance to network safety and monitoring. Second, students need to start learning how to design, manipulate and work alongside AI machines in order to build the foundation they need as they prepare to enter the workplace.

Organizing a successful AI integration and education plan will take collaboration and proper planning on the part of school decision-makers.

“AI may hold the potential to personalize instruction and learning. Yet its use in educational settings will require educators and school leaders to develop an understanding of how it can be implemented safely and smartly,” Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking said in a recent statement

MORE FROM EDTECH: See how artificial intelligence can help strengthen personalized learning in the classroom.

AI Can Act as A Multifaceted Digital Assistant

Artificial intelligence offers a helping hand to K–12 educators, staff and administrators, easing the burden of daily tasks and extending constrained resources.

Personalized learning, for example, is being rapidly adopted by educators as a key pedagogy. However, one of the most difficult parts of personalized learning is finding the time to give each student the attention he or she needs. 

AI-enabled teaching assistants and mobile applications help educators meet that challenge, using input from students to adjust course materials through educational apps, leaving teachers time to conduct the interpersonal aspects of their curricula.

AI-enabled content monitors also improve student safety. Putnam County School District adopted GoGuardian’s new content monitoring software, which uses machine learning to add context to flagged internet searches.

For example, the automated filtering solution would be able to identify a student searching about self-harm, prompting appropriate mental health intervention. 


K–12 Teachers Need to Bolster AI Curriculum

A recent Gartner report predicts one in five workers will have some form of artificial intelligence as a coworker, and Forrester predicts by 2021, automation technology will account for the work of nearly 4.3 million humans worldwide. 

That means most of today’s K–12 students will enter the workforce by the time AI is well established. In order to compete, K–12 schools will need to create curricula around artificial intelligence. 

At the Montour School District in Pennsylvania, students use tablets and smart assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to explore the mechanisms of machine learning.

“It’s the people that program artificial intelligence and technology that will change the future,” Justin Aglio, Montour’s director of academic achievement and district innovation, tells The Tribune-Review.

Experts realize planning AI-related curricula can be challenging, so organizations are forming to help drive K–12 education around artificial intelligence. 

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Computer Science Teachers Association recently formed the AI for K–12 Working Group, which recently drafted a report, “Envisioning AI for K–12: What should every child know about AI?” The report outlines five important ideas around the AI concepts that K–12 students should know, from how it functions to the ethics of using it. (Access the full report here.)

“It is just as important now to think about what AI education should look like in K–12, not only to ensure a more informed populace that understands the technologies they interact with every day, but also to inspire the next generation of AI researchers and software developers,” the report’s authors write. “For many in this generation, AI will be an often overlooked, magical force that powers their lives much as electricity, the internal combustion engine, and networking technology power ours.”

This article is part of the "Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology
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