Exploring AI in Education

With several years of experience integrating AI into my teaching practice, I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring a variety of tools and learning about options that are applicable to all grade levels and subject areas. AI is something that all educators need to explore so that we can best prepare our students. Dave Touretzky, the founder of AI4K12 stated: “It’s important that children be given accurate information about AI so they can understand the technology that is reshaping our lives.” The Jobs of Tomorrow report presented information stating that there will be an influx of jobs in the areas of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and data analytics.

By designing learning experiences for students to delve into AI and gain a deeper understanding of its concepts, we not only foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills but also provide opportunities for engagement and personalized learning.

Introducing AI tools and forms of generative AI such as ChatGPT is a valuable way to cultivate essential 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and digital literacy. These experiences enable students to explore and interact with cutting-edge technologies, equipping them for the demands of the future workforce. Educators must work to find a balance between relying on AI and traditional teaching methods. We want to ensure that the integration of AI is purposeful, age-appropriate, and aligned with educational objectives.

By exploring the benefits and also discussing the potential concerns when it comes to AI, educators can inspire and empower young learners, spark their curiosity, and enable them to become active contributors in an increasingly AI-driven world. Emphasizing the importance of learning about AI not only prepares students for the technological landscape of the future but also encourages them to approach complex problems with creativity and innovation. By educating our students about AI education, we can help them to responsibly navigate, adapt to, and even develop the advancements of our rapidly evolving society. Students will develop the essential skills that will help them to be successful in the future, especially as we see changes in technology and its impact on the world of work.


Benefits in Education

AI in education offers various benefits, such as adaptive learning platforms which are becoming increasingly available for educators. With these tools, we can better tailor the educational content to students' individual needs, as the AI-powered tools adapt to students’ responses in real-time and provide additional questions and practice, to help students build their skills.

To enhance content retention, some tools such as Quizlet use AI functionality that adapts to students' progress, can provide personalized feedback, and help students to increase their understanding of key concepts. Q-Chat is an AI-powered tutor that can also assist students when using Quizlet.

Language learning can be facilitated through interactive chatbots like Duolingo, which engages students in conversational exercises. AI-powered translation tools such as Google Translate enable language exploration and comparison in real time. Newsela is a great option for building literacy and with the AI functionality, it can adapt materials to students' reading levels.

For social-emotional learning (SEL), students who may hesitate to interact with classmates or lack confidence in speaking in class can develop social and interpersonal skills by interacting with conversational chatbots. While these are not meant to be a replacement, they can help students to boost their confidence and receive valuable feedback that can help them to build their skills.


Resources to Explore

  1. AI Club World has materials for grades K through 12. There are a variety of courses for students and free resources, including PD sessions for teachers. AI Club Gym is a fun way to get students curious about AI and machine learning.
  2. AI4ALL has a tremendous amount of resources available and even ready-to-run presentations on important topics related to AI such as bias and ethics. AI4ALL is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion in AI education. There is a free program for high school students that gives access to resources for learning about AI and they can participate in a “build your AI for good” project.
  3. AI4K12 is focused on sparking curiosity in AI. They have identified five big ideas that every student should know about, provide resources, and are working on guidelines for AI curriculum for use in grades K through 12. Educators can find articles, podcasts, videos, and more for use from AI4K12 and also subscribe to receive newsletters and be part of a thriving community of learning.
  4. Code.org is a great resource for educators looking to teach students about coding and STEM. It also has newer resources that are aimed at helping teachers bring AI learning opportunities to all classrooms for students in grades K-12. Exploring the videos available is a good opportunity for students to better understand where opportunities with AI are.
  5. Google AI Experiments: In my classroom, we typically start with Quick Draw which helps students to learn about neural networks. They can then explore other AI experiments depending on their interest in arts, literacy, music, and more.  
  6. ISTE U: I recommend the ISTE course on Artificial Intelligence which provides everything educators need to learn about teaching about AI in the classroom. It has curriculum guides available with lesson plans and activities for teachers to use in different grade levels and content areas.
  7. Microsoft Educator AI: Microsoft has many resources available for educators and students to learn about AI. There are many modules to choose from and some specific to education and others for business and more. Microsoft AI for Good offers many resources for educators to see how artificial intelligence is being used.

As educators, it is our responsibility to prepare students for their future by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to navigate the world of AI effectively and ethically.  To do so, we must be ready to dive in and explore technology and how it can benefit us in our classrooms and in the future. These are some of the many resources available that would be great to start with for this year. 




About the Author:

Rachelle Dené is a Spanish and STEAM: What’s Next in Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and Community Leader and served as president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. She was named one of 30 K-12 IT Influencers to follow in 2021 and One of the 150 Women Thought Leaders to Follow for 2022.

She is the author of seven books including ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU,” “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World, “True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us,” and her newest book “Things I Wish […] Knew” is now available at bit.ly/thingsiwishedu.


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