Artificial Intelligence in Education – Digital Promise

Artificial Intelligence in Education

Digital Promise prioritizes a human-centered approach to artificial intelligence in education–working across research, edtech, and practice–to augment learning.

Artificial Intelligence in Education: Our Vision

Digital Promise’s vision for artificial intelligence (AI) in education puts people first. We envision safe, equitable, and meaningful AI in education using emerging technologies to improve education by enhancing how we teach and learn.

Digital Promise is focused on AI in education to foster a future where every person engages in sustained and impactful experiences of powerful learning that lead to a life of well-being, fulfillment, and economic mobility.

Our work at the intersection of research, practice, and technology helps us connect the dots between what we know teachers and learners need, and the innovations that technology developers are creating. By centering people in the development and use of emerging technologies like generative AI, success for every learner won’t be a goal–it’ll be a given.

Artificial Intelligence in Education: Our Approach

Our human-centered approach to AI emphasizes how the increasing capabilities of technology can build on and strengthen human intelligence to improve upon teaching and learning experiences. That includes:

  • Building partnerships among educators, innovators, researchers, and community members to establish a shared vision of powerful teaching and learning with AI
  • Engaging in research partnerships and hosting research communities to understand the transformative potential and address the risks
  • Connecting our values and knowledge to rigorous approaches to AI research and development
    Informing policymakers on how to safeguard learners’ rights, data privacy, and to ensure equitable opportunities to learn
  • Informing policymakers on how to safeguard learners’ rights, data privacy, and to ensure equitable opportunities to learn

AI Literacy

AI literacy is the knowledge and skills that enable humans to critically understand, use, and evaluate AI systems and tools to safely and ethically participate in an increasingly digital world.

Our AI Literacy Framework emphasizes that understanding and evaluating AI are critical to making informed decisions about if and how to use AI in learning environments. At Digital Promise, we are applying this framework to support learners, teachers, education leaders, and caregivers with the knowledge and resources they need to understand, use, and evaluate AI systems and tools.

AI and Digital Equity

School communities everywhere are exploring the opportunities and risks of AI in education. A major theme of those opportunities and risks is digital equity—specifically, how might AI progress us towards digital equity and how might it move us even further away?

Building on the U.S. Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan, we also identify three commonplace gaps that impact digital equity for AI and all emerging educational technologies: gaps in access, design, and use.

Digital Promise works with educational leaders to implement a systems change approach to both AI and digital equity. To achieve what our society urgently needs, five factors must be simultaneously addressed: leadership; resources and policies; consistent access; AI literacy and professional development for teachers; and design of powerful learning experiences for students.

AI and Safety

Use of AI in education brings risks. Educators are familiar with data privacy and security risks, yet these risks are heightened with AI compared to edtech products that don’t integrate AI. For example, to personalize or adapt, AI may collect additional personal data from individuals, such as students’ voices, faces, or gestures. More risks arise from AI systems that automate tasks based on associations found in data. Existing data contain bias—in fact, all data is a product of humans and contain some bias—and thus automations derived from biased data lead to flawed decisions, which can spread harm at scale. Many other categories of risk deserve equal attention, including: overconfidence that AI is correct; overreliance for decision making; providing incorrect information; no or weak evidence for claimed benefits; negative environmental impacts; underprepared users, and more.

While we are all learning how to best incorporate AI across the educational system, we urge educators to take AI slowly and deliberately where the consequences could be more substantial, such as determining a student’s future learning opportunities, course grade, or program admission. Short-term explorations with low consequences for students and teachers are a way to start so that educators can fully understand the impacts of AI. Digital Promise advocates for humans in the loop as AI is designed, adopted, and used. Digital Promise works on AI safety by developing Responsible Use Policies and an educator version of an AI BIll of Rights, by participating in the EdSAFE AI Alliance, developing product certifications, and by promoting practices to engage communities that will be most affected by the use of AI in education in design, evaluation, and adoption decisions.

Digital Promise has co-designed convenings and workshops on AI for educators; guided district leaders in the creation of AI policies and their adoption of AI literacy across curriculum; developed policy guidance at multiple levels, from federal to local districts; and presented to companies, educator associations, and others on AI in education.

Are you an educational leader, researcher, or developer looking to learn more and work with us to improve teaching and learning with AI? Get in touch.

We can help schools and developers improve teaching and learning with AI.

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