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Artificial Intelligence

Every time I type AI I have to pause, because those are my initials; but AI means a lot more these days! Throughout the NCE I've sought out AI sessions to expand my knowledge base in this area. I appreciated Abran Maldonado's keynote message yesterday, especially when he explained why educators are primed to be the best prompt engineers because of our communication abilities. He shared that communication will overrule coding when it comes to getting the most out of Open AI, like ChatGPT. Abran even went on to say that despite a common fear, “You won't be replaced by AI. You will be replaced by someone who knows how to use AI effectively”. As a district leader, I heard Abran's advice clearly: We need to create guardrails with open arms. Embrace innovation because it is coming. Instead of banning AI, create a plan that teaches skills with pen and paper and then applies skills to use AI to our advantage.

In a session on getting the most out of EdTech products, I heard about the work of Digital Promise, Lean Lab Education, and Goldstar Education. Each presenter shared the important role district leaders can play in shaping the future of EdTech, including AI. Before running out and buying a lot of new products, they advised us to make sure we have a clear process for vetting resources, including using their organizations as partners who are doing the work of vetting for us all. Digital Promise offers Product Certifications that we can ask companies about before contracting with them. In addition, these presenters encouraged us to band together as educational leaders to ask companies to do better: to be more culturally responsive, to provide safe and personalized student feedback, to enhance access for all students, and more. We can take more control with our collective buying power.

While AI is scary to many of us, with the rapid growth and development and unseen outcomes, there are a lot of tools that can help educators be more effective and efficient. There is a lot for us to learn and to try out for ourselves and for our organizations. As Abran Maldonado said, “Don't let your fear get in the way of future readiness”.

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