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Unlocking Tomorrow's Potential by Integrating AI Literacy into school Curriculum

The world is witnessing a technological revolution, unlike any other time in history. Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) is at the forefront of this transformation. As in many other sectors, the application and adoption of GenAI to education can eliminate many challenges we face today and improve teaching, learning, and assessment practices, which many of us believe accelerate progress towards sustainable development goal 4. To me, adopting AI means adopting and addressing a multifaceted of technological, organizational, cultural, and societal issues.


Indistinguishably, it is important for our education system to keep pace with the rapid change in technology in a world where technological advancements continue to reshape the way we learn, teach, and respond. As a result, our students need to be better prepared with artificial intelligence (AI) literacy - the ability to identify, understand, develop ideas and critically evaluate AI technologies, their applications and ethical implications.


However, the potential benefits of GenAI come with risks and challenges, including ethics, integrity and intellectual property rights among others. Studies indicate that the education sector is largely unprepared for integrating these rapidly evolving tools ethically and pedagogically. According to a recent UNESCO survey of over 450 schools and universities, less than 10% have formal policies and/or guidelines concerning using GenAI applications (1). In fact, UNESCO warned that GenAI was being implemented rapidly in schools without adequate scrutiny, checks, or regulations.


As part of its efforts to address ethical GenAI use at school, UNESCO published its first-ever K-12 Artificial Intelligence Curricula mapping in 2022 (2). The report recommends, among other things, that AI curricula be built that are agnostic to platforms and brands, which means the curriculum content is based on AI theory, allowing students to apply these principles across multiple technologies with multiple choices. A focus on fostering creativity in developing AI technologies and contextual ethics is also suggested in the report.


In light of this, schools should play a significant role in teaching AI literacy in pre-university years. To provide structured GenAI educational experiences, schools can align AI literacy as part of their existing information and digital literacy and/or academic integrity literacy spectrum that covers the basics of AI, its applications, and its ethical considerations including helping students become informed, responsible, and innovative users of AI technology.


Current practice: Where is ICS in the midst of GenAI?

Since the release of ChatGPT, ICS has taken a number of initiatives to understand and to some extent integrate AI into teaching and learning in line with the IB guidelines.

  • As part of our DP Core Curriculum, we introduced AI tools such as ChatGPT and Elicit to our Class 2024 in May 2023 with additional guidelines on how to cite and reference an AI-generated text, when to use them, and to what extent.

  • In order to better understand and/or assess students' familiarity with AI tools, ICS ToK teachers collaborated with the Secondary Digital Coach and conducted a project that involved students exploring a multitude of emerging AI tools for generating texts, images, sounds, artwork, etc.

  • Considering ChatGPT's proliferation, and the various opportunities and challenges it brings to education, a committee dedicated to ICS academic integrity policy discussed and added a section ‘Guidance on the use of AI tools in the DP’ to address the ethical uses of AI-generated texts, acceptable and unacceptable practices in the DP.

  • Current Grade 9 students just completed an inquiry project ‘Making Sense of the 4th Industrial Revolution' as part of their Individual & Societies class. The student researchers explored an area of AI and its impact on human lives and work in response to the prompt "Innovation and technological development can change the way we live and work."

  • Last but not least, a Professional Learning Community (PLC) was established for AI enthusiasts teachers who started to explore various usefulness of AI in ‘teaching to learning to assessment’ and the ethical implementation of AI at ICS.


Moving forward: How can ICS make a difference?


Integrating AI Literacy with the existing Information Literacy and/or Digital Citizenship Curriculum: I feel that the introduction of AI literacy in schools should be gradual, with content that is age-appropriate. Making AI literacy part of ICS information literacy and digital citizenship curricula is essential rather than a standalone initiative. Students who are younger may begin by discussing basic AI concepts, while older students may explore more technical aspects. Among others, a number of things should be discussed in class, including bias, privacy concerns, ethical issues, and acknowledging the information sources via citation and referencing. Most ethical challenges related to GenAI usage can be addressed by an effective and dynamic academic integrity policy. This is an area where school library professionals can be of great assistance. Additionally, school librarians have been teaching information evaluation and analyzing bias for years; AI is just the latest tool.


Differentiated Assessment: A recent article "Employing the Interactive Oral to Mitigate Threats to Academic Integrity From ChatGPT" by Newell (2023) discusses the potential risks of academic misconduct associated with ChatGPT. The article suggests that interactive oral assessments, which require students to engage in conversation and demonstrate their knowledge of a topic in real-time, can be used to mitigate these risks. By implementing interactive oral assessments, ICS educators can balance assessment security and academic integrity while providing students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the material. Additionally, teachers should hold honest discussions about ChatGPT and modeling to promote integrity among students.

Staff Professional Development: As AI technology is still an emerging subject area, government agencies, schools and teachers have limited knowledge from which to develop AI competencies and curricula. Teachers need training and ongoing professional development to teach AI literacy effectively. Investing in teacher training programs and resources should be a priority for the ICS 2024-2029 strategic plan.


Zakir Hossain

October 19, 2023


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