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Trumbull School Board Addresses Concerns About AI in Education

TL;DR

  • Trumbull School Board tackles AI concerns, highlighting risks of misinformation from tools like ChatGPT in legal cases.
  • Educators study AI’s impact on cheating, develop guidelines for responsible use, and receive support from board members.
  • Trumbull School district prepares for the evolution of AI in education, emphasizing community engagement and responsible use for students and adults.

In a recent Trumbull School Board meeting, member Alison Squiccimarro raised concerns about the potential pitfalls of relying on artificial intelligence (AI)-generated content in educational settings. Squiccimarro highlighted a case where an AI tool, ChatGPT, was used by a lawyer to create a legal brief for a personal injury lawsuit. Shockingly, the AI tool cited cases that did not exist, revealing a level of deception that underscored the need for caution when employing AI-generated material.

The director of digital learning presents AI study group findings

During the meeting, Director of Digital Learning Christina Hefele presented findings from a cohort of teachers who explored the pros and cons of integrating AI into classrooms. Hefele acknowledged Squiccimarro’s concerns and emphasized the novelty of AI technology. Despite its promising aspects, she noted that there are still worrisome aspects that need consideration, not just within Trumbull but for society at large.

Hefele explained that she initiated an 11-member cohort of educators from the school district to delve into AI’s potential impact on student learning. This effort was prompted by concerns raised by teachers about students using AI tools for academic dishonesty. The cohort spent the summer studying AI, using education modules, and engaging in discussions about the technology’s merits, limitations, and potential concerns.

Framework development and board support

The cohort’s objective was to create a framework that could guide educators in using AI responsibly. With support from the district’s curriculum writing budget, the group developed professional development plans for teachers and a framework that was shared with educators in August. This framework outlines the district’s perspective on AI’s current state and provides guidelines for its use in classrooms.

Positive reception and cautious approach

Board members expressed support for Hefele’s approach, acknowledging the need for innovation coupled with mitigation. Former board member Tim Gallo commended Trumbull’s decision to embrace AI cautiously, avoiding extremes and opting for a balanced perspective.

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning Susan Iwanicki expressed gratitude to Hefele and the cohort for tackling the issue head-on. The cohort’s next steps involve gathering feedback from parents and conducting workshops to inform them about AI tools. Hefele emphasized the importance of community engagement, recognizing the inevitability of AI’s presence in classrooms globally.

Preparing for the inevitable evolution of education

Hefele concluded that the use of AI technology in classrooms is inevitable and likened it to the evolution brought about by the internet. She stressed the importance of educators understanding AI now to effectively guide students toward success while instilling responsible usage habits. Hefele emphasized the need for teaching data privacy concerns, fostering responsible AI use in students, and educating adults about these tools.

Community engagement and looking ahead

As Trumbull recognizes the significant role AI will play in education, Hefele highlighted ongoing efforts to engage with the community. She stressed the importance of open conversations about AI, ensuring that both students and adults are well-informed about the tools available. Hefele emphasized that the responsible use of AI in education is crucial for preparing students for a future where technology is an integral part of their lives.

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Derrick Clinton

Derrick is a freelance writer with an interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency. He works mostly on crypto projects' problems and solutions, offering a market outlook for investments. He applies his analytical talents to theses.

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