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N.C. DPI releases guidebook on the use of AI in schools

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The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) just released a guidebook for the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in our public schools.

“Humans must always be in the loop to ensure fair and equitable treatment of student work,” notes the guidebook.

DPI is the fourth state education department in the nation to issue guidance to its schools on the use of this cutting-edge technology, according to the press release.

“Generative artificial intelligence is playing a growing and significant role in our society. At NCDPI, we’re committed to preparing our students both to meet the challenges of this rapidly changing technology and become innovators in the field of computer science,” said State Superintendent Catherine Truitt. “We also believe that, when implemented thoughtfully and responsibly, generative AI has the power to revolutionize student learning and better prepare North Carolina’s students for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Courtesy of N.C. DPI

The guidebook includes an initial set of recommendations that the press release says will be expanded in the coming months.

Districts are encouraged to create accompanying guidelines that are specific to their schools, and the guidebook includes guiding questions, key steps, what to include, common issues, as well as strategies for rolling out the guidelines.

The guidebook says that AI literacy should be infused into all grade levels and curriculum areas. It also stresses the importance of incorporating AI into the classroom responsibly — using it as a tool to aid in learning.

For example, teachers can use AI to automate administrative tasks, analyze student performance data, and suggest teaching methods for varying learning styles. The time saved from these applications could give teachers more time to work directly with students, ultimately improving learning outcomes.

From a student perspective, generative AI can be a driver in closing the digital divide and promoting equity, says the press release. Non-native English speaking students may benefit from AI-based translation services, while voice-to-text and text-to-voice tools could make life easier for students with physical challenges or learning disabilities. The guidebook includes helpful graphics and resources, including this one on how to craft a prompt.

Courtesy of N.C. DPI

The guidebook discusses some common concerns surrounding AI, such as cheating and the protection of student data.

Courtesy of N.C. DPI

NCDPI’s Office of Digital Teaching and Learning worked with the organization AI for Education to create a framework for ethically implementing AI. The “EVERY framework” is an acronym that gives guidance to North Carolina public schools for “How to Use AI Responsibly EVERY Time.”

  • EVALUATE the initial output to see if it meets the intended purpose and your needs.
  • VERIFY facts, figures, quotes, and data using reliable sources to ensure there are no hallucinations or bias.
  • EDIT your prompt and ask follow-up questions to have the AI improve its output.
  • REVISE the results to reflect your unique needs, style, and/or tone. AI output is a great starting point, but shouldn’t be a final product.
  • YOU are ultimately responsible for everything you create with AI. Always be transparent about if and how you used AI.

Familiarizing students with using AI is key for preparing them for the workforce, says the press release. The World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs Report 2023” found that AI and machine learning specialists will be the fastest-growing occupation in the next five years, with a 40% growth trajectory and the creation of one million new jobs. Furthermore, the report found that 75% of companies plan to implement generative AI by 2027.

“Empowering learners to understand these technologies is essential,” said DPI’s Chief Information Officer Dr. Vanessa Wrenn. “The power of AI tools for education, community engagement and deeper learning will continue to drive innovation and policy. North Carolina is proud to be among one of the first states in the nation to provide guidance to teachers and schools, as we know that AI can be used by educators to support their daily work while transforming students’ learning in the classroom.”

Click here to read the AI Guidebook issued by DPI.

The guidebook was developed by DPI’s AI Guidelines Committee, which includes:

  • Vera Cubero, Lead Contributor, Education Consultant II, Office of Digital Teaching and Learning;
  • Dr. Ashley McBride, Contributor, Section Chief, Digital Learning Initiative;
  • Diane Dulaney, Contributor, Director, Office of Data, Reporting, and Privacy;
  • Eli Hamrick IV, Contributor, Secondary Computer Science, IT, and Technology Education Consultant;
  • Timothy Wease, Contributor, PSU IT Security Specialist, Cybersecurity Section;
  • Dr. Vanessa Wrenn, Contributor, Chief Information Officer, Technology Services and Digital Learning; and
  • Josh Barton, Reviewer, State Consultant for Assistive Technology, Office of Exceptional Children
Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.