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Navigating the World of Generative AI in K-12 Education: Examples You Can Use

Learn how you can create more efficient, equitable and engaging learning environments with generative AI.

CDW Expert CDW Expert

According to technology experts, the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI) among the general population in the United States is expected to occur within the next two years. This rapid adoption of AI technology will have a significant impact on the education sector, revolutionizing education by creating innovative teaching and learning environments.  

However, the move toward AI poses several challenges. While educational IT leaders are struggling to keep up with the pace of AI advancements, they must also establish guidelines for the proper usage of generative AI tools. Failing to incorporate AI effectively in the classroom can hurt learning outcomes and widen the digital divide.  

How can K-12 schools make the most of artificial intelligence to improve learning outcomes for students and workflows for educators?

According to Brookings Institute, by embracing AI thoughtfully, K-12 schools can create more efficient, equitable and engaging learning environments for all students. That’s why educational institutions must assess their current progress in exploring generative AI (GenAI) tools to reap the benefits of artificial intelligence and ensure that all students are prepared for the age of AI.  

4 Ways to Use Generative AI in K-12 Classrooms

Keeping pace with the rapid evolution of AI can be daunting, but we understand the move toward AI is not a sprint; rather, it’s a journey. To help, we’ve gathered four examples of how artificial intelligence is being integrated into K-12 education. CDW can offer expert guidance to support you every step of the way, whether you are just beginning, fully embracing or expanding your implementation of AI.  

  1. Personalized Learning Outcomes
    Schools can use generative AI to prioritize custom learning outcomes. Students can benefit from adaptive learning that adjusts to their individual needs. This not only saves teachers time but also allows them to track progress more effectively to address specific needs over time. 

    • Embarking: During this stage of exploring GenAI tools, consider drafting goals for personalized learning and analyze any current tools used for this purpose. 

    • Embracing AI: Select one to three tools and utilize them consistently for a trial period of 30 to 60 days. Keep a record of their effectiveness through various means, such as anecdotal observations, qualitative assessments and quantitative data analysis. Base your final decisions on usage guidelines provided by federal or state authorities and evidence of impact categorized in tiers.  

    • Expanding implementation: If your school has already adopted gen AI tools, consider forming taskforces with stakeholders to use the tools heavily and create a system of badging for usage. 
       
  2. Early Intervention Outcomes
    GenAI tools can identify struggling students, enabling timely interventions where predictive models highlight areas of concern. Teachers can then create more personalized support, while leaders can effectively monitor progress in real-time.  

    • Embarking: To embark on this process, first identify current tools at your school and understand their purposes. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of using these tools to determine their suitability.  

    • Embracing AI: Select one to three GenAI tools and track usage and efficacy over time. Compare these new tools with the previous, non AI ones to determine their efficiency and effectiveness in flagging areas of concern. 

    • Expanding implementation: Once you have selected and adopted gen AI tools that achieve your desired outcomes, begin to explore how to utilize those tools for improving parent communication, deploying predictive modeling or leveraging data analytics.
       
  3. Data-Driven Decision Making: Grading, Behavioral, Resource Allocation

    • Embarking: To begin this journey, consider discussing ways that software can make teaching more efficient.  

    • Embracing AI: Compare and evaluate three to four gen AI tools that analyze data to inform strategic decisions.  

    • Expanding implementation: For those who are well-versed in using GenAI, consider using predictive analytics to guide curriculum improvements, behavioral interventions and allocation of resources (e.g., teaching assistants, special education teachers, assistive technology and duty schedules). This advanced level of implementation will enable educators to make data-driven decisions that optimize student learning and overall educational outcomes. 
       
  4. Cybersecurity: Ethical AI Usage
    • Embarking: During this stage, it’s recommended to pursue training and certification in GenAI. 

    • Embracing knowledge: Conduct training and awareness sessions for faculty, staff, students and parents/caregivers about the responsible use of AI. 

    • Expanding implementation: Consider creating a student committee or taskforce that can learn to identify bad actors and suspicious activity to safeguard your school. Discuss and empower students to become responsible digital citizens. 

How Can Schools Ensure Sustainable AI Use?

The rapid evolution of artificial intelligence is driving the need for schools to develop long-term strategies to ensure the benefits from AI are sustainable and continue to improve over time.

To stay current with emerging innovations and provide consistent technical assistance to educators and students, IT leaders in the education sector must become more adaptable and prepared to tackle the consequences arising from the integration of AI in learning environments. This could include establishing a dedicated AI support team to provide ongoing technical assistance and professional development for staff. Furthermore, IT leaders should regularly review and update their AI tools and strategies to align with the latest advancements in the field.  

By developing best practices for utilizing generative AI tools in education, you can create equitable and engaging learning environments that prepare all students and educators for the age of AI.