AI Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms
Don’t assume it will be decades before you need to worry about AI in the curriculum you teach. AI has already seeped into every facet of our daily lives. It’s been permeating the fabric of our world. We rely on smart surveillance, smart vehicles, and smartphones to get us through our days. Why wouldn’t we also use a smart curriculum?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that AI already plays a role in most classrooms. Schools have been redesigning how learners learn by embedding the first phase of AI into the grades K-12 curriculum.
What is AI?
AI isn’t as dystopian as it might sound. There are two kinds of AI. The one we use currently is known as narrow AI. This level of AI includes spell check and autocorrect, gathering and sorting data, and curating info such as collections of lessons or curated ideas for classroom activities.
The second kind, general AI, will be the next level of machine learning. Scientists predict that AI will eventually develop the interpretive skills educators use to build, analyze, and evaluate their classroom curriculum.
3 Ways to Include AI in the Curriculum
University of British Columbia professor of computer science, Tara Chlovski, makes AI accessible for all learners, regardless of background or socioeconomic status. Her non-profit organization concerns itself by giving all kids access to robotics and artificial intelligence concepts by teaching what artificial intelligence is and how to use it. The first step, however, lies in developing a curiosity for knowledge.
AI in the curriculum appears in the following ways:
Teaching coding is considered the first step in teaching learners about AI. Even young kids can learn coding basics thanks to programs like MIT’s Scratch. By beginning the coding experience in Scratch, learners will be more ready to learn advanced coding skills required by Java or Python.
Like any learning, AI is best learned hands-on, and one machine learning site has many lessons for projects that show learners how AI is used in the real world. Learners can manipulate language, make a virtual pet, or analyze info.
School districts like those in the Pennsylvania Montour School District have required AI in the grades 5-8 curriculum, and they are extended the initiative in other grades as well. Educators have embedded AI in STEAM courses, and other subjects like Music, Computer Science and Media Arts also include artificial intelligence in their curricula. Additionally, the district requires their learners to take a stand-alone artificial intelligence ethics course that teaches learners design and values.
The inclusion of AI in curricula forces us to re-examine what we teach and how we teach it. Narrow artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a part of the PK-12 curriculum. This is just the beginning of what’s possible in AI.