Online curricula helps teachers tackle AI in the classroom
- Schools may already use some form of artificial intelligence (AI), but hardly any have curricula designed to teach K-12 students how it works and how to use it, wrote EdSurge. However, organizations such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) are developing their own sets of lessons that teachers can take to their classrooms.
- Members of "AI for K-12" — an initiative co-sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Computer Science Teachers Association — wrote in a paper that an AI curriculum should address five basic ideas:
- Computers use sensors to understand what goes on around them.
- Computers can learn from data.
- With this data, computers can create models for reasoning.
- While computers are smart, it's hard for them to understand people's emotions, intentions and natural languages, making interactions less comfortable.
- AI can be a beneficial tool, but it can also harm society.
- These kinds of lessons are already at play among groups including the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, which has been using a program from online AI curriculum site ReadyAI. The education company lent its AI-in-a-Box kit, which normally sells for $3,000, to the group so it could teach these concepts.
Artificial intelligence may still be an emerging technology, but chances are you're already using it in your everyday life. AI is what is powers iPhone's Siri and Google Assistant. Gmail's smart replies, online product suggestions, and directions for the fastest route — with traffic included — from one place to another are all examples of AI coming into play. Unless you’re completely unplugged and off the grid, it's likely you're using AI in some way.
AI, which allows computers and other machinery to learn and adapt to its surroundings, is also active in schools and in classrooms. It runs in many educational and tutoring apps, and digital curriculum tools use this technology to assess a student's performance and suggest an individualized learning plan to help them improve their understanding of a subject.
Because of AI's presence both inside and outside the classroom, it’s likely helpful for students to understand how this machinery works and where they may engage with it in school and in post-graduation life. Mathematics, engineering and computer science skills — all of which have proven to be necessary for this generation's students to have — are among those that educators should teach to prepare them for careers in AI and those that may use AI more heavily. And teaching AI can also help students develop the cognitive, intrapersonal and interpersonal skills they need for whatever future they pursue.
Additional AI education resources are summer courses aimed at high school students — including Carnegie Mellon University’s Pre-College Artificial Intelligence Program, GitHub's online course and ReadyAI's pre-packaged curriculum for K-12 students.
Using these resources and templates as guidance, administrators and curriculum designers should work to ensure students have the opportunity to become fluent in working with AI, and in doing so, equip them with the digital and behavioral skills they'll need for the rest of their lives.
Follow Lauren Barack on Twitter