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3 Things K-12 Educators Should Know about the Ethics and Use of AI in Education

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Ongoing news stories about ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022, have many educators wondering about its implications in the classroom and the role of artificial intelligence in K-12 education. 

Shiyan Jiang, an assistant professor of learning, design and technology in the NC State College of Education, is engaged in research that involves empowering AI education in the K-12 setting. She is currently a co-principal investigator on the StoryQ project, which is exposing high school students to artificial intelligence through narrative modeling.

The StoryQ project, which began three years ago with funding from the National Science Foundation, includes a curriculum that can be integrated into middle and high school English language arts (ELA), history, chemistry, computer science and math classrooms. 

“We are more than happy to work with teachers to integrate AI learning opportunities into their classrooms,” said Jiang, who noted that educators can email her to collaborate on the project. 

Below, Jiang shares three things K-12 teachers should know about the use and ethics of artificial intelligence in a classroom setting:

AI for Student Assessment: AI can provide more accurate and timely assessments of student performance. It can analyze data on student behavior, engagement and learning outcomes, allowing teachers to identify areas of weakness and adjust their teaching accordingly, she said.

AI for Personalization: Jiang said AI can help teachers personalize learning for each student by analyzing their learning needs and performance data. Teachers can use this information to tailor their lessons to each student’s needs, helping them learn more effectively.

For educators who want to use artificial intelligence in their classrooms for assessment and personalization purposes, Jiang recommends the Revision Assistant for automated writing feedback, which is currently in development and deployment at a small scale.

AI Ethics and Bias: In addition to the benefits of AI in education, Jiang notes that it is also important for teachers to be aware of the ethical considerations and potential biases that can arise when using AI in the classroom. By doing so, teachers can:

  • Protect student privacy: AI systems can collect and analyze vast amounts of student data, including sensitive information such as demographic data and learning disabilities. Teachers need to understand how this data is collected, stored and used to ensure that student privacy is protected.
  • Ensure Fairness: AI systems can also impact student outcomes, such as grades and college admissions. Teachers need to ensure that these systems are fair and do not discriminate against certain groups of students.
  • Foster digital citizenship: As AI becomes more prevalent in society, it is important for teachers to teach students about the ethical considerations of AI, including bias and privacy concerns. This will help students become responsible digital citizens and make informed decisions about their use of technology.

“Things are moving fast. That’s why fostering digital citizenship on AI ethics and bias is super important at this stage, as it will help to create a more responsible and equitable use of AI in education as these tools become more widely available soon,” she said.