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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Shaping the Future of Education With AI

By Jessica Schultz
05-Jun-24
Shaping the Future of Education With AI


Schools are busy places and with so much going on that it is often challenging to find enough time to reflect. However, if you are reading this article, then I have great news–you have already started! This is your moment to think about all the wonderful learning you have engaged in so far this year and reflect on how learning is both social and best when shared. In the spirit of reflection and sharing, we have done some intentional work at our school this year to build in moments of reflection into our professional development days, especially since we started our school year with a commitment to exploring artificial intelligence (AI) tools as part of our professional learning journey.

In my experience, adults learn best when we simply get them together, create a safe environment, and provide them with time and support to work. We began with offering in-house workshops from our technology integrators, information technology director, and our academic and curriculum director, who all received training in different tools. We then opened up opportunities for any motivated teacher who wanted to receive a scholarship to attend webinars or local training. Then, following the train-the-trainer model, they shared their highlights and resources back with staff. It was refreshing to see how many people on our team were inspired to get involved, especially at some really challenging points during the school year. We wanted teachers to explore, talk through ways they could use the tools, and share concerns they may have about using them safely with students.

Once teachers got going, we saw how their excitement transformed some of their lessons and spread curiosity among their colleagues and of course, to students. Analucia Garza, one of our technology integrators, shared how learners in Spanish class got “more creative by using Canva to make AI-powered videos that were of historical figures like Miguel Hidalgo, Moctezuma, Cristobal Colon, etc. and did research to create a script for them to tell us more about their story.” She went on to say that “by combining technology with real-world issues, the students really got engaged and learned a lot about empathy and critical thinking.”

Additionally, one of our middle school teachers shared how “this year, students have used tools such as Pixlr and Canva to turn their words into digital images. These images were the inspiration for students to create art demonstrating their interpretation of themes in literature.” In this learning experience, students were to create their own version of characters and show an understanding of the plot. They presented their visual art complete with an artist's statement and justification of their work, thus engaging more than one subject area to enrich learning. The teacher went on to share how she is using “tools such as MagicSchool.ai to support students with sentence prompts for essay questions and the text leveler feature to allow all students to work with the same mentor text.” This practice also served to differentiate instruction and support all her learners. She went on to say that using the tool “QuestionWell to come up with text-dependent questions to check comprehension” had the added benefit of saving her time from creating them herself.

These AI tool experiences were not only limited to teachers. Leaders were also included in the fun. As a result, one of our Vice Principals, Jenny Martin, shared “I have used Chatgpt to help me design an initial email draft to parents, especially to help me find the right words in more difficult cases when I want to be careful and supportive…the tool is just a starting point to help me write.” Additionally, she shared, “I have seen my teachers use different tools to help them save time in planning lessons to engage students.” Another leader explained, “I have been using Goblin tools, especially the formalizer feature. This has helped me edit my work…and improve my grammar so I communicate my message better. I write what I want to include, then pop it into the tool, and revise it before it goes out.”

And of course, students also had a lot to say about the tools they have been using at school, under the guidance of their teachers. One ninth grader shared, “I have used perplexity.ai to help me find sources for support in my research papers and I also love the text to image features in Canva. This has helped me with school projects.” A middle school student added, “I have used Chatgpt to provide initial feedback for my work.” Another student shared, “I use Chatgpt alot for doing an initial search... to give me links and ideas for different topics.” When asked what we, as teachers, could do better to further support students in their AI journey for school, most said they already felt supported by teachers as of now. However, one student mentioned, “Teachers could help us by guiding us with more tools other than Chatpgt. That is the main one we have been exposed to. We use other tech tools such as Canva, imovie etc. but we know there are more we could be using.”

Though we are excited about these and many more examples of practices to share, we go back to our main focus this year, which has been to engage and support teachers in their involvement with different tools and prioritizing safety in their use with students. We began the year by including AI within our school´s Technology Policy, sharing it with teachers, students, and parents, who signed the policy showing their support and shared commitment. But we know there is more work to do, and tools and apps are constantly evolving. To keep up beyond common tools and truly use them in the most beneficial ways for student learning, we know these conversations must be ongoing and intentional. Our priority this year in professional learning has been to explore tools and start conversations around ethical use fueled by our school values of respect, responsibility, and resilience. We look forward to what the future will bring with a sense of responsible optimism, curiosity, and working toward helping our students become future ready.

 

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Jessica Schultz is the academic and curriculum director at San Roberto International School in Monterrey, Mexico.

Email: [email protected]
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-schultz-08141568

 

San Roberto International School

Website: https://www.nordangliaeducation.com/san-roberto-mexico
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SanRobertoInternationalSchool
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sanrobertoedumx/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/sanrobertoedumex




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