Teacher Preparation

7 Strategies to Prepare Educators to Teach With AI

By Lauraine Langreo — June 27, 2023 3 min read
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K-12 educators across the country are pondering how to use artificial-intelligence-powered technologies in the classroom and what that use might look like.

Some experts believe conversations around integrating AI into education should start with teacher preparation programs that ensure new educators are prepared to teach in the age of AI.

In a June 27 panel discussion at the International Society for Technology in Education conference, ISTE’s AI in Education Preparation Program fellows shared seven strategies that teacher preparation programs, and even school districts, can use to prepare all educators to teach with and about artificial intelligence:

1. Foster a universal foundational understanding of AI

Before jumping into conversations about how to use AI to teach, educators need to have a basic understanding of what AI is, according to the panelists. Educators should have foundational knowledge about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and large language models (the technology behind ChatGPT and other chatbots). They should know that AI is already being used in everyday life, such as social media and voice assistants. They should also know that AI literacy and education can be integrated into every subject area.

2. Cultivate skills for effectively harnessing AI instructional tools

There are already plenty of AI-powered instructional tools available for educators to use. There are generative artificial intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT and DALL-E, as well as intelligent tutoring systems and adaptive assessments. It’s important to start learning how to use some of these tools effectively, but educators should also be thoughtful about implementing these tools in the classroom, panelists said.

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3. Use the Five Big Ideas in AI as guidance for K-12 AI literacy

The Five Big Ideas in Artificial Intelligence is a framework put together by AI for K-12, an initiative by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Computer Science Teachers Association. The panelists said educators should use this to guide how they teach AI literacy to students.

4. Facilitate exploratory experiences that develop and apply AI knowledge

Students and teachers learning about AI should also learn through hands-on experiences and by playing with AI tools, the panelists said. There are tools out there already that can help educators show students the principles of how AI-powered machines learn and how they can apply AI literacy to real-world scenarios.

5. Infuse AI literacy across existing curriculum

AI literacy should be taught in all grade levels and subject areas, according to the panelists. It should be infused across existing curriculum, instead of being considered an add-on. To do this, educators need to ensure that they are using age- and developmentally appropriate practices. ISTE’s AI fellows have created free practical guides for engaging students in AI creation.

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6. Integrate critical examinations of AI technology into classroom experiences

When training teachers on AI, there should be critical examinations of AI tools, the panelists said. There are three lenses to consider when examining AI tools: equity, cultural responsiveness, and ethics. All students should have adequate access to AI tools to support their learning and have the resources they need to use those tools creatively. Educators should think about whose perspectives are being told and what assumptions the AI tools are making. And educators should think about how these tools are using student data.

7. Intentionally infuse these approaches into teacher prep programs

The education system needs to be intentional in teaching these skills to preservice and current teachers. “It won’t accidentally show up in your PD, it won’t accidentally get taught to preservice teachers,” said Nancye Blair Black, an education consultant and the project implementation lead for the ISTE AI Explorations program. “We must be intentional and create a strategic plan that ensures that all teachers are ready for these changes.”

A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2023 edition of Education Week as 7 Strategies to Prepare Educators to Teach With AI

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