3 innovative ways schools are using AI to improve learning

One-quarter of public school teachers say AI does more harm than good for K12. However, that's not stopping these schools from innovating.

If you’re into data, here are some statistics for you: One-quarter of public school teachers believe AI does more harm than good. A mere 6% believe the opposite. However, that’s not stopping educators from tapping into its potential.

Grading and feedback

Take California, for instance, where school districts are signing contracts to allow AI tools to help them with things like grading, CalMatters reports. Computer Science Coordinator for the California Department of Education Katherine Goyette told CalMatters that chatbots are the most common form of AI adoption in schools.

Although teachers say it helps them give students feedback even quicker, guidelines regarding AI use in the state are vague. Last year, California was one of seven states to issue guidance about how teachers should leverage the technology in their classrooms. Its contents include:

  • “Where is AI in the world of today and tomorrow?”
  • “Where might AI fit within California schools?
  • “Fundamental skills for educators and students.”

“While artificial intelligence can be a valuable learning tool for educators and students, it must be evaluated according to usage terms, and clear guidelines for data collection should prioritize student safety,” the guidance reads.

However, the state doesn’t track what AI tools school districts are adopting. Goyette told CalMatters she’s interested to see if the state passes Senate Bill 1288, which would require the state’s superintendent to implement an AI working group to issue further guidance for schools.

Preserving culture

Princeton High School in New Jersey is another example of how educators are leaning into AI. They’re leveraging an AI-powered stuffed animal named Che’w that speaks Mam, a Mayan language originating in the western highlands of Guatemala and Mexico, CNN reports. A small portion of Princeton students also speak Mam.

According to UNESCO, the language faces potential extinction—but that’s where Che’w steps in.

“In the beginning of the school year, we talked about how AI is the world we’re in now and we have a responsibility to prepare kids for the world they will inherit,” Joy Barnes-Johnson, the science administrator for PHS, told CNN. “The idea is that it will help people connect and learn, so we [as teachers] have to not be afraid of it.”

Teaching responsible AI adoption

For the past year, Greenville County Public Schools has been training teachers to use tools like ChatGPT and Magic School AI, a platform that helps educators with tasks like lesson plans, the Greenville Journal reports. The district believes in the technology’s ability to reduce workloads for teachers and enhance learning if used properly.

“While these tools can provide valuable support, they should never substitute the critical role of teachers in fostering meaningful student engagement and facilitating personalized learning experiences,” the district said in a statement about AI use.

For instance, the district recommends that teachers use AI in balance with other learning activities.

“Encourage your student to engage in hands-on learning experiences, discussions and critical analysis alongside AI use,” the district wrote.

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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