Before considering AI, districts must get their data houses in order
- Beatriz Arnillas, senior education advisor to itslearning and former director of education technology for the Houston Independent School District, writes for eSchool News that using artificial intelligence (AI) will require K-12 districts to re-examine their data systems before making any major moves.
- Determining what sort of data would be the most useful in improving both teaching efficacy and learning outcomes, what systems will best manage and collect that data, what processes are best for sharing and analyzing that data, which situations "adaptive" content is best used in, what type of feedback is most constructive, and how interventions are differentiated as positive actions without eliminating "constructive struggle" are among the steps districts must take, she writes.
- For data collection processes already in place, districts must also work to streamline the apps they're sending data to, consider the metrics from the teaching and learning platform currently in place, and determine if data as it's currently collected is usable, as well as whether all metrics needed are being gathered.
While talk of AI often raises the specter of computers or robots replacing educators, that scenario is very much unlikely. As Thomas Arnett, senior research fellow with the Clayton Christensen Institute, has previously argued, AI is simply another tool that will help educators spread their focus and accomplish more with their students. Among the time-consuming processes it can offload from teachers' shoulders are taking attendance, administering and grading assessments, delivering basic instruction, streamlining lesson planning and tracking student progress.
Simply put, that's a lot of time saved for 1:1 instruction.
Of course, getting all the data needed in one place while also cutting time spent on manual data entry from one platform to another will require administrators to press vendors for greater interoperability between their products and those of others. As with any shift in approach to the classroom, professional development opportunities will have to address best practices around taking full advantage of AI's benefits in the classroom. But creating an environment where educators can give each student more individualized attention will likely pay dividends in the long run, pleasing stakeholders at all levels.
- eSchool News Are K-12 data systems ready for AI?
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter