Balancing AI in Education: Ensuring Responsible Implementation While Supporting Student Learning
School districts and institutions of higher education are currently grappling with how to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to support student learning while also protecting students from unintended consequences of the technology. While many conversations about AI in education focus on how to ensure students do not use AI to cheat, educators recognize there are a number of legitimate uses of AI in education, such as technologies to combat learning loss, check in on students that may be falling behind, or advise students on how to sequence their course schedules.
In light of these potential uses of AI in education contexts, President Biden’s AI executive order (EO) directs the Department of Education (DOE) to develop resources and guidance for the education sector within a year of the EO’s enactment, which will consider how to develop and deploy AI in a safe, responsible, and nondiscriminatory way that considers the impact of AI systems on “vulnerable and underserved communities.” As part of these resources, the DOE will work with stakeholders to develop an “AI toolkit” for education leaders, which was something the DOE was already working on as part of the recommendations from its May 2023 Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning report.
Outside of the DOE’s role, the EO also includes several provisions aimed at providing resources related to the workforce that will be impacted by AI implementation. Similar to the education context, there are a number of areas where AI will help the workforce in a myriad of ways, but there are other ways in which the workforce may be disrupted by the use of AI. To address these issues, the EO directs the National Science Foundation to foster a “diverse AI-ready workforce” by prioritizing resources to support AI-related education and AI-related workforce development initiatives through existing programs. Also, within 180 days of the EO’s enactment, the Secretary of the Department of Labor must develop best practices for organizations on how to integrate AI into the workforce, as well as submit a separate report analyzing how federal agencies will support workers who are displaced by AI.
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