With the advent of ChatGPT, Google Bard, Midjourney and Canva’s magic features, artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming an integral part of our everyday lives, transforming industries and reshaping the way we work, learn and communicate. This rapid technological advancement highlights the importance of incorporating AI education into the curriculum not only to ensure that all students are well-equipped for their academic futures but also for workforce development.
With that in mind, it is crucial to consider underrepresented populations as these students are typically left out of the newest technological advancements.
AI Support for Teaching
AI has the potential to revolutionize the education sector by enhancing learning experiences, supporting teachers and offering more personalized learning opportunities for students. We must equip teachers with the knowledge and strategies they will need to use this new technology to improve and streamline everyday processes as well as classroom implementation.
Some areas in which AI can transform the classroom include personalized learning, ideation, adaptive learning, special needs education, bilingual education, gamification and immersive learning.
Personalized learning involves AI-powered systems that analyze students’ learning styles, strengths and weaknesses to create tailored lesson plans and suggest resources to serve their individual needs.
Adaptive learning platforms can adjust to each student’s progress in real-time, identifying gaps in knowledge, providing immediate feedback, and suggesting targeted interventions to help students master the material. AI can also help teachers automate administrative tasks, enabling them to focus more on instruction and student interaction.
Furthermore, AI-powered virtual tutors can provide round-the-clock support to students, while customized learning solutions can empower students with special needs to reach their full potential. Gamification and immersive learning experiences can make education more engaging, fun and memorable.
AI-driven language translation tools can break down communication barriers, enabling students and educators from different countries or with different languages to collaborate on projects and learn from one another.
All means all. Teaching students about AI is essential for developing digital literacy, critical thinking skills, and preparing students for future academic and career success. A basic understanding of AI systems enables students to engage and ideate with AI technologies safely, responsibly and ethically. Learning about AI also encourages students to analyze and evaluate question structure, complex information, question assumptions and consider the ethical implications of AI technology usage.
Moreover, AI is transforming the job market, with increasing demand for professionals skilled in AI and related fields. Teaching students about AI can help them develop the knowledge and skills needed to pursue careers in technology, data science and other in-demand industries. AI learning can inspire students to generate ideas and solutions, fostering creativity and innovation – essential skills in today’s competitive and evolving job market.
It is particularly important to not exclude AI education from underrepresented student populations. In fact, it is vital to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion within this domain to ensure that a broad perspective of values are embraced to combat digital bias and discrimination.
Providing students with access to AI education can help close opportunity gaps, ensure they have the skills and knowledge to compete in the global workforce, and create a more diverse pool of talent in AI and related fields. This diversity can lead to better problem-solving, creativity and innovation in the development of AI technologies and solutions.
AI education can empower underrepresented communities to leverage technologies for social good and drive positive change in their local and global contexts. Lastly, ensuring underrepresented populations are well-versed in AI positions them to contribute to policymaking and decision-making processes, shaping the rules and regulations governing AI applications.
Risks of Excluding Students from AI Education
Excluding any student group – either deliberately or by neglect – from learning how to leverage artificial intelligence can lead to several negative consequences, both for individuals and society at large. Following are some of the dangers associated with excluding students from AI education.
Digital divide – Excluding students from learning about AI can contribute to the digital divide, as they may not have the knowledge and skills needed to navigate AI-driven technologies in their daily lives. This can hinder their ability to access information, participate in the digital economy and engage with online communities effectively.
Biased AI systems – AI systems often are trained on data collected from human behavior, which can contain biases. For example, facial recognition originally was designed exclusively with white faces because the developers were not diverse. Excluding diverse perspectives from the development and design of AI systems can perpetuate or amplify existing biases, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes for certain groups of people.
Wider skills gap – As AI becomes increasingly important in various industries, the demand for professional skills in using AI will grow dramatically. Excluding students from AI education can exacerbate the skills gap, making it more difficult for businesses and organizations to find the diverse talent they need to thrive in the AI-driven economy.
Economic inequality – Students who lack AI education may find it more challenging to secure well-paying jobs as many traditional roles may be automated or significantly transformed by AI. This can lead to increased economic inequality and limit social mobility for those who are not adequately prepared for the AI-driven job market.
Loss of creativity and innovation – A diverse workforce in AI and related fields leads to more creative problem-solving and innovative solutions. By excluding certain students from AI education, we risk losing the valuable insights and ideas that they could bring to the development of AI technologies.
Ethical concerns – As AI becomes more integrated into our lives, it is essential to have a diverse group of professionals involved in the development and regulation of AI systems to ensure ethical considerations are taken into account. Excluding students from learning about AI may result in a lack of diverse perspectives, leading to potential ethical issues and unintended consequences. It also leaves students unprepared to navigate ethical dilemmas.
To mitigate these dangers, it is essential to promote equitable access to AI education for all students, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status. This will help to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from the advancements in AI and contribute to a more inclusive and just society.
Hector Bojorquez is IDRA’s director of operations and educational practice. Comments and questions may be directed to him via email at [email protected]. Michelle Martínez Vega is IDRA’s chief technology strategist. Comments and questions may be directed to her via email at [email protected].
[©2023, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the May 2023 edition of the IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]