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Artificial Intelligence and Education: What We’re Up To

notebook, lightbulb, atom, pencils inside a digital circuit board imageby Pati Ruiz

I was recently asked for an overview of the AI and Education landscape and how we are participating in it. In addition to promoting equity and accountability in AI, here is a summary of our recent writing and research including key ideas from our work. We believe that AI systems should support and augment, but never replace, a human. To ensure this, emerging technology systems and tools should be developed with the input of educators, learners, and families. As always, please share your thoughts with us @EducatorCIRCLS.

Writing and Presentations

AI and the Future of Teaching and Learning | A blog series we partnered on with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology

Key Ideas:

  • Educational technology is evolving to include artificial intelligence.
  • Artificial intelligence will bring “human-like” features and agency into future technologies.
  • Policy will have an important role in guiding the uses of artificial intelligence in education to realize benefits while limiting risks.
  • Artificial intelligence will enable students and teachers to interact with technology in human-like ways.
  • Individuals will find it difficult to make choices that balance benefits and risks.
  • Creating policies can strengthen how people make decisions about artificial intelligence in education.
  • Educational applications of many types will be artificial intelligence-enabled, including teaching and learning, guiding and advising, and administration and resource planning applications.
  • Use of artificial intelligence systems in school technology is presently light, allowing time for policy to have an impact on safety, equity, and effectiveness.
  • Policies should encourage teacher engagement, including the development of teachers’ trust, and their confidence to recommend not using untrustworthy artificial intelligence systems.
  • Policies should incorporate experiences for educators to shape and support their own professional learning about how to utilize artificial intelligence systems in teaching and learning.
  • Including and informing educators in design and development decisions will result in more useful and usable teacher supports.

AI or Intelligence Augmentation for Education? | Communications of the ACM 

Key Ideas:

  • We recommend a focus on intelligence augmentation (IA) in education that would put educators’ professional judgment and learners’ voice at the center of innovative designs and features.
  • An IA system might save an educator administrative time (for example, in grading papers) and support their attention to their students’ struggles and needs.
  • An IA system might help educators notice when a student is participating less and suggest strategies for engagement, perhaps even based on what worked to engage the student in a related classroom situation.
  • We hope that IA for education will focus attention on how human and computational intelligence could come together for the benefit of learners.

Artificial Intelligence 101: Covering the Basics for Educators | Digital Promise Blog

Key Ideas:

  • AI lets machines make decisions and predictions.
  • Teachers are essential to education, and AI should be used to better support them.
  • Technology often comes with ethical implications and AI is no different, educators should ask questions and investigate AI tools and systems before they adopt them into a classroom.

Teachers Partnering with Artificial Intelligence: Augmentation and Automation | Educator CIRCLS Blog 

Key Ideas:

  • Artificial intelligence systems are increasingly being deployed in K-12 educational settings and we expect this trend to continue.
  • AI systems should support or augment, but never replace, a teacher.
    These systems should be developed with the input of teachers, students, and families.

Artificial Intelligence and Adaptivity to Strengthen Equity in Student Learning | Getting Smart

Key Ideas:

  • Educators, researchers, and developers prioritize adaptivity when it comes to emerging learning technologies.
  • Incorporating AI tools requires specific and precise inputs to generate useful outputs.
  • When practitioners, learners, researchers, and developers work together with shared values, more equitable learning is possible.

Ethical AI | EngageAI Nexus Blog 

Key Ideas:

  • Ethical considerations should be front and center throughout the development of any new AI innovation, and ethics should be central to our definition of success for AI.
  • Policies and guidelines from the government, accreditation requirements in education, and standards of professional ethics are all needed to reinforce ethics in AI.
  • Public education is also important so that end-users can make informed decisions based on a full understanding of key issues such as transparency and privacy.

Definitions | Glossary of Artificial Intelligence Terms for Educators: A glossary written for educators to reference when learning about and using artificial intelligence (AI).

Presentation | Insights on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning at the 2023 Consortium for School Network (CoSN) Conference.

Listening Sessions | AI and the Future of Learning: Listening Sessions | We supported the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology listening sessions about Artificial Intelligence (AI). We connected with teachers, educational leaders, students, parents, technologists, researchers, and policymakers to gather input, ideas, and engage in conversations that will help the Department shape a vision for AI policy that is inclusive of emerging research and practices while also informed by the opportunities and risks.

Ongoing Research

Emerging technology adoption framework: For PK-12 education | Educator CIRCLS Emerging Technology Advisory Board

Key Ideas:

  • A framework we co-developed with education community members to help ensure that educational leaders, technology specialists, teachers, students, and families are all part of the evaluation and adoption process for placing emerging technologies (including artificial intelligence and machine learning) in PK-12 classrooms.
  • We are currently working with League member Willy Haug, Director of Technology and Innovation to modify this framework for adoption at Menlo Park City School District.

Study | ChatGPT/GPT-4 for Developing Sample Computational Thinking Lesson Plans at North Salem School District

  • I am working with Dr. Julio Vazquez, Director of Instruction and Human Resources North Salem School District, who is working with his team to develop sample computational thinking lessons across all subject areas K-12 using ChatGPT. These lessons are not meant to be implemented in the classroom “as is,” but rather, these sample lessons are to be used as a first draft, a starting point for consideration and conversation in North Salem. Teachers will vet the lessons for accuracy and then iterate and improve them in order to meet the learning needs of their students. Given the need for high-quality, integrated computational thinking lessons we will continue to work with Dr. Vazquez and his team at North Salem to learn more about how they are integrating ChatGPT in their work and their vetting process.

Artificial Intelligence Practitioner Advisory Board | A group that will explore the use of emerging technologies in classrooms, and how we might leverage technologies to better support educators and their students. We hope to foster a sense of community within the group where researchers and developers can learn along with you as we all go through the process of reviewing technologies and making recommendations on their use. This Practitioner Advisory Board is supported by two NSF projects:

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