Chris Schulz Published

AI Coming To Classrooms, The Key Is Using It Correctly

A digital illustration of artificial intelligence. Pictured is the profile shape of a human face made out of computer code against a blue background.peshkova/Adobe Stock

The West Virginia Department of Education is helping schools come to terms with the new reality of artificial intelligence (AI). 

West Virginia is the third state in the country to develop AI guidance for PK-12 education use. That’s according to Erika Klose, coordinator of academic support for the state Department of Education, who told the state Board of Education Wednesday that AI is already here in a variety of everyday technologies.

“We may not really realize it, but it’s here,” Klose said. “So if you ask Siri to set a reminder for you, Siri is using something called natural language processing to understand what you said, and then complete the task. When our phone scans our face in place of a password, your phone is using complex image processing, which is a form of AI to make certain that your face belongs to the person who should be accessing that phone.”

Klose gave a similar presentation to members of the Joint Standing Committee on Education Sunday. 

She emphasized that AI will never replace educators, who instead will be taught how best to use the technology in their classroom. Nor will it solve all of the problems facing the education system. These concepts help frame the new guidance to support learning, which include clarifying the ethical uses of AI, safeguarding student well being and data privacy and facilitating open and transparent dialogue about AI with all involved parties.  

She said if the department’s new guidelines are followed, AI has the potential to greatly help both students and educators create productive learning environments. 

“We believe that we could have individualized learning experiences that cater to each student’s needs, improve accessibility for students with diverse learning needs and exceptionalities … and allow our students to acquire the necessary skills for the 21st century, such as the knowledge of computer science and data literacy,” Klose said. 

Klose concluded by stating that the next steps in AI guidance will include significant public input.

“Within the next month, we will be launching a public stakeholder survey to look at our larger community’s perceptions around AI and how they’re using it, questions that they have,” she said. “We want the responses from our community, our parents, our students, our schools, our districts, our administrators, our teachers. We want their voice in that survey.”