ICYMI: AI In Schools Webinar Recap
In today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making serious waves in various sectors — including education. As schools struggle with the impacts of AI in the classroom, it’s important to understand both the challenges and opportunities of AI, and how to adapt in order to align and direct AI towards positive educational outcomes.
Understanding The Basics Of AI
In a recent ClearGov webinar, “AI for School Simplified,” Chris Bullock, CEO of ClearGov, provided a comprehensive overview of the subject.
In case you missed it, the webinar did an excellent job of simplifying AI, explaining that it refers to a technical model created to solve a specific problem or provide a particular service. In short, AI systems are designed to mimic human cognitive functions and make decisions and recommendations with limited explicit guidance from humans.
Whether you realize it or not, you have already been interacting with AI for many years. Alexa and Siri are AI assistants, and Netflix uses AI recommendation engines to help you find your next binge-worthy series.
When we talk about AI making waves in education, the biggest is ChatGPT. Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is a chatbot designed to provide human-like conversational answers. When ChatGPT exploded onto the scene late last year, it became one of the fastest-growing technologies in history.
For some context, it took Netflix about 3.5 years to reach one million users. It took ChatGPT just five days.
In the education sector, the sudden emergence of this technology has led to concerns about its potential misuse — especially when it comes to academic integrity.
The main concern for educators has been the potential for students to use AI tools like ChatGPT to complete assignments and write papers — essentially bypassing parts of the learning process altogether. This has led to varying reactions from schools, from outright bans on AI use to more welcoming approaches that recognize the use of AI in the learning process.
And while we’re still in the first full year of seeing AI in schools, significant studies have already been conducted to gauge its effects. Some highlights from a Center for Democracy & Technology report show that over 50% of teachers are aware of students disciplined for using generative AI. Additionally, 67% of teachers felt more distrustful of students due to AI, while 58% of students admitted to using generative AI during the 2022-23 school year.
AI is in schools — whether we like it or not.
Instead of resisting the change, schools should try to adapt in order to align and direct AI towards positive educational outcomes.
To address both the opportunities and challenges that come with AI technology, ClearGov proposed a four-part AI framework for school districts. This framework recommends that schools create AI task forces responsible for understanding the technology, setting clear policies, exploring new AI use cases, and monitoring trends and usage.
Some examples include tools like Khan Academy’s Khanmigo chatbot that can tutor students, while others like Gradescope offer AI-assisted grading. These examples highlight the potential for AI to support traditional teaching methods and provide personalized learning experiences for students.
It should come as no surprise that ClearGov uses elements of AI to drive our budgeting and planning solutions, too! One example is forecasting within Operational Budgeting. With just one click, ClearGov quickly generates a forecast based on your historical budget data. This sophisticated yet easy-to-use AI module enables you to create unlimited forecasts and plan for different what-if scenarios.
Our Digital Budget Book solution also leverages AI. The FirstDraft feature automatically generates an initial pass of fact-base content for several key sections within the budget book. This helps get staff past the dreaded “blank page” and allows them to focus on adding personal narrative faster.
The impact AI will have on schools is a complex issue, with both challenges and opportunities. The key lies in understanding, adapting, and harnessing AI’s potential for the betterment of education.