Summer is always a good opportunity to explore new ideas, particularly ideas for boosting student engagement or perhaps taking some risks with trying something a bit different in our classrooms.
The 2020-2021 school year has definitely been one full of changes and a time when we've had to become more flexible in our instruction to adapt to changing learning environments and conditions.
Although it has been challenging, it has also provided a good opportunity for educators to embrace and create new learning experiences and design collaborative learning environments for students. It may have been a year with more technology used than in the past few years for some educators.
As a Spanish and STEAM educator, I always look for innovative ideas or ways to bring emerging technologies into my classes. For my STEAM course, in particular, this year required a bit more exploration to find resources that would be accessible to students regardless of whether they were in virtual or hybrid environments.
Read more: How to get started with hybrid teaching
Artificial Intelligence has been a trending topic in education for the last couple of years. It has been in the news even more this past year, with all of the ways AI has been used in the medical field and other work areas. Because of the growth of AI in the world, as educators, we need to provide opportunities for our students to learn about and develop skills in these emerging technologies and be aware of the uses, benefits, and concerns when it comes to these tools.
Getting started with Artificial Intelligence in education has become a common question that I have been asked more over this past year. Whether through online webinars or in conversations held on Clubhouse, educators are starting to seek more ways to learn about AI and bring opportunities into the classroom for students to learn about it.
There are many benefits for us as educators for what AI can do when it comes to assessing students, giving feedback, providing more personalized learning, creating access to intelligent tutoring systems, for just a few examples. We don't have to be the experts; we just need to know enough to get our students started exploring and creating with AI.
Getting started with learning about Artificial Intelligence
What I think is quite important is engaging our students in conversations about what exactly AI is. What are the benefits and concerns when it comes to AI? What are the ways that we use AI every day? What are our predictions about the use of AI for the future? And how can we get started today in our classrooms?
Asking these questions is a great way to begin and have classroom discussions with your students. Beyond conversations, there are a lot of great resources to explore with students.
Here are some resources that we have used in our classroom. Some offer activities, courses, parent information, and even summer camps that you can explore with students. It is great to see how they respond to what they are learning and the ideas they come up with for creating with AI.
There are various courses available that provide engaging learning experiences about Artificial Intelligence and machine learning for students. Each module includes challenges that are great for getting students to think about becoming creators with AI. AIWS offers three flagship AI courses based on age group. AI Novus (ages 7 to 10) provides a step-by-step introduction to AI. AI Primus (ages 11 to 13) focuses on how everyone can learn AI and explores ethics in AI. AI Meritus (ages 14 and above). Also offered this summer is a camp for students to enroll in!
Students can create a chatbot using the different chatbot options available for free through Appy Pie. It is helpful for students to learn how chatbots work and design their own and think through the process involved in creating chatbots and reflect on their interactions with chatbots on websites, for example.
This is a workshop that progresses through AI and concepts related to AI, designed by MIT educators. The workshop includes many computer-based or hands-on activities, opportunities for students to create with AI and explore the ethical issues surrounding AI. Students can learn about bias, machine learning, and many more topics.
Based in Pittsburgh, Ready AI offers many resources through their website and even has a virtual AI summer camp for grades K through 12. They recently created books for educators to use in the classroom with students to learn about the basic concepts of AI, such as perception and machine learning, for example. Ready AI also provides workbooks, resources, and other training for students and educators.
It offers a variety of courses on emerging topics, including AI. In the AI course provided through them, there are seven lessons that explain the main concepts of AI and include activities and projects for students to learn how to train a computer and build their understanding of AI and machine learning.
For educators looking to develop their own skills, I recommend exploring courses available about Artificial Intelligence. I took the ISTE U course on Artificial Intelligence, which provides a really rich curriculum and the opportunity to connect with other educators and be part of their Facebook community where you can exchange ideas. They also have curriculum guides available, with lesson plans and more for teachers to use in all grade levels. I worked on one of them that I used with my Spanish III class that focused on language translators.
One last piece of advice
As with all digital tools we can choose from, start with one AI tool or website and allow students to explore on their own, become curious about what they are learning, and then become the creators!