Feb 21, 2024 - News

Ohio's new "AI Toolkit" for schools

Illustration of a large dictionary with AI embossed on the front

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

There's a new set of ABCs in the classroom: artificial intelligence, big data and ChatGPT.

Why it matters: Ohio recently released guidance for how schools can best use these AI tools, which can provide unique learning opportunities. But teachers, students and even parents need help navigating the technology in a smart, ethical way.

Of note: Ohio is not mandating AI use in classrooms, but made the guidance available should teachers choose to incorporate it.

Details: The new "AI Toolkit" released last week was created by tech experts and InnovateOhio, a government office focused on improving digital tools such as online BMV services.

  • The toolkit mainly compiles AI resources from other tech organizations and suggests hands-on student projects.

Zoom in: For example, those in music class could use interactive AI software to create and mix their own songs, thus learning about various instruments, tempo changes and layering audio tracks.

  • Another project involves students interviewing ChatGPT for a class podcast to better understand generative AI platforms.

The intrigue: Teachers could even use ChatGPT to draft new lesson plans and class syllabi.

Yes, but: Schools are encouraged to keep a human touch in all of these activities, rather than turning tasks over completely to AI.

  • The state's resources also include guidance on how to discourage and detect cheating, such as students using ChatGPT to write homework assignments.

What they're saying: The Ohio Education Association, a state teacher's union representing local districts, complimented the toolkit as a "good jumping off point" in a statement to Axios.

  • "OEA believes AI can never and should never replace the experience and expertise of professional educators, but when used appropriately by trained educators, it is one of many important tools that can help educators continue to meet the needs of their students in our 21st century world."

Between the lines: Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who leads InnovateOhio, hopes this pays dividends for Ohio's economic future.

  • "We want to compete. We want Ohio to be the dominant economic force of the Midwest," he said at a news conference.
  • "To do that we need to continue to innovate and use technology … if we're going to get the best talent in the world, we've got to get it from our schools and our young people."
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