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5 K-12 Guidelines For Artificial Intelligence: What Students Should Know

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the future. It is already altering the way our world operates, and it’s a force of change that education has no choice but to engage with it. According to a recent Gartner report, one in five workers will have some form of artificial intelligence as a co-worker.

That means most of today’s K–12 students will be part of a workforce that will include AI co-workers. In order to flourish in this new work environment, students must study AI, and K–12 schools will need to have artificial intelligence curricula.

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Computer Science Teachers Association have formed the AI for K-12 Working Group. This working group has come up with five big ideas regarding AI that every student should know about.

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Coding, Robotics and the Jobs of the Future

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Since as early as the 1800’s, fears of robots taking over human jobs has been a reality. As we enter the true age of robotics, those concerns are resurfacing, and educators are unsure about what jobs their students will be competing for. For example, IT jobs will grow by 22% through 2020 and jobs in STEM are said to see similar growth. Educators are expected to equip their students with skills that will translate into careers and yet they have no idea what these skills should be. While timeless skills such as critical thinking, languages and mathematics aid in every career they do not provide the specialized skills that “jobs of the future” may require. So, what are the jobs of the future and how can be best prepare students for them?

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The Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Education

Artificial intelligence can be defined as the ability of computer systems to perform tasks and activities that usually can only be accomplished using human intelligence. In the world of education, this technology is revolutionalizing schools and classrooms, making educators jobs a lot easier.

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How Educational AI is Making the Grade

Adoption of artificial intelligence is on the rise: According to research firm Gartner, 37 percent of organizations have now “implemented AI in some form,” and adoption is up 270 percent over the past four years. 

Schools are following suit: Technavio’s “Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector 2018-2022” report predicts a nearly 48 percent growth rate for AI tools over the next three years. 

The key to AI success is specificity. It is crucial to define key needs AI tools can meet and shortcomings it can address. This is especially true for K–12 institutions faced with limited time and budgets.

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AI Curricula for K-12 Classrooms

Don’t assume it will be years before you need to worry about AI in the curriculum you teach. Artificial intelligence already has seeped into nearly every facet of our lives. It’s been permeating the fabric of our world, quite literally.

Wearable technology like smart yoga pants and running socks have taken fashion into the future with connected sensors that monitor body data and measure workout efficacy. We rely on smart surveillance, smart vehicles, and smartphones to get us through our days. Why wouldn’t we also use smart curricula?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that artificial intelligence already plays a role in many classrooms. Schools have been redesigning how students learn by embedding the first phase of AI into the grades K-12 curriculum.

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Using Artificial Intelligence to Boost Student Retention Rates

Tertiary institutions struggle with low retention rates. Only 40% of students complete a 4-year degree within 6 years at the same institution where they started their studies.

Student retention is a matter of great importance to institutions. For institutions that depend on tuition, low retention rates have serious financial consequences. That is apart from the huge negative implications for students should they opt not to continue their studies. Universities and colleges are under increasing pressure to retain students. Many states support tertiary institutions financially based on the number of students that graduates, not the number that enrolls.

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Preparing Students for the Future with Artificial Intelligence

With so much discussion and coverage on the topic, it might seem that if AI isn’t already being used in your classroom that you’re falling behind when it comes to technology. However, it is first important to understand what AI is and establish some guiding questions such as: What role does AI play in our daily lives? And more importantly, what role does it or will it play in the future of education and the future of work?

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Why We Should Teach Kids to Call the Robot ‘It’

As a new generation grows up surrounded by artificial intelligence, researchers find education as early as preschool can help avoid confusion about robots’ role

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Three trends in education you must put on your tech-radar

In the past years, teachers are moving from being teachers to being facilitators of discussions in the classroom. From a traditional teacher standing in front of rows of students, we see classrooms transitioned into the high-tech environment, collaborating and working in small teams, sharing ideas and debating with each other, searching for information online, and coming up with presentations that represent their collective understanding/view/work. Schools and classrooms have changed in the past five years more than they have in the 200 years before.

 Educators who believe that this change is more than enough, that there’s nothing more to be changed, that this tectonic shift that we’ve seen in the past years has reached its peak, and we can sit and rest from now on and just perfect our teaching methods are up to a big surprise. The ever-accelerating pace of technological advancements is here not to stay. They are set to transform every corner of teaching and learning, and then in no-time, transform it again and again and again.

Here are few upcoming changes we clearly see going to transform the education world very soon.

1. Mixed reality  

Unlike virtual reality which blocks the viewer from the world, or augmented reality which just adds some virtual items (menus, Pokemon) on your screen/headset, the mixed reality is the holy grail of this new medium. Mixed reality allows the computer to be aware of the environment, and it’s depth, and attach digital objects to physical ones.  In this way, our senses are tricked to think there’s a real object in front of us, although it’s digital.

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Remember the operations center in the movie Avatar? Everyone is looking at the Tree of Life, from different angles, and they share their thoughts as if the tree is a physical object in the room, although it is a digital rendering of that. This is possible today with tools like Microsoft HoloLens that allow creating a mixed reality environment where everyone shares the same experience. Now imagine this powerful tech in your classroom, imagine you could bring to life concepts in the middle of the classrooms, and let everyone experience them, right in front of their eyes. Allow them to interact with that and allow them to make predictions and test, all while working in between real and digital.

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