New Jersey introduces resources for educators to use AI in schools as part of push for innovation leadership

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As per Gov. Phil Murphy’s initiative to establish an “artificial intelligence moonshot” in New Jersey, the state’s department of education introduced a collection of materials last week to assist educators in comprehending, implementing, and managing artificial intelligence in schools, as stated by state education officials.

The resources cover a range of topics, from articles on teaching and learning with artificial intelligence to a webinar detailing the technology’s history and educational applications. While not imposing strict regulations on AI usage in education, these materials serve as New Jersey’s first recommendations for school districts to seamlessly integrate AI-powered technology in classrooms and incorporate tools to streamline administrative tasks in schools, according to a state department of education press release.

Despite the increasing popularity of this technology, education experts caution that safety and privacy concerns must take precedence as AI expands in schools. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, suggests that states should establish safeguards for AI in classrooms that respect the needs of educators and parents.

“We understand that school districts cannot merely proclaim the importance of privacy,” Weingarten remarked. “There needs to be a tech interpreter, parent information sessions, and classroom guidance.”

New Jersey’s initiative on artificial intelligence comes at a time when Newark Public Schools is moving towards incorporating more AI in classrooms and surveillance systems.

Recently, the school board approved a $12 million project to deploy over 7,000 AI cameras districtwide this summer. While district officials claim the high-tech surveillance system aims to enhance school safety, security experts caution that such capabilities could intrude on privacy or potentially misidentify objects or students.

The district is also mulling over expanding Khanmigo, an AI program designed for classrooms to tutor students and support teachers. While there is limited research on the effectiveness of tools like Khanmigo, experts recommend that school districts consider the educational objectives for their students.

New Jersey’s resources do not define parameters for student privacy, but the department of education established an artificial intelligence webpage that offers an overview of AI systems, terminology, and concepts, along with tailored guidance for school leaders and educators. The page will be routinely updated to keep pace with the rapidly evolving field of AI, the state indicated.

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