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Contra Costa County school district educates parents about AI in the classroom

A Contra Costa County school district says it’s fully embracing artificial intelligence, but understands there’s still a lot of unknowns when it comes to the emerging technology. 

“Two of my sons have ADHD, so they learn a little differently,” said Ryan McGredy.

He is the parent of four kids in the San Ramon Unified School District and participated in a workshop Wednesday.

During the workshop, district officials explained how they’re approaching AI in a responsible manner.

This includes guiding principles to make sure it’s enhancing the learning experience, and also a leadership team of educators — such as Pine Valley Middle School teacher Kyle Costamagna — to specifically focus on the rapidly changing AI landscape.

“It’s moved towards now being how much can we learn, take it back to the teachers and so they can take it back to the students,” said Costamagna. 

“I think I would step back and recognize that not all districts are embracing it,” said Alix Gallagher.

Gallagher is a director at policy analysis for California Education, a non-partisan,  research center that focuses on improving education policy.

In a 2023 article, she wrote about the urgent need to update school district policies to include AI and she feels now more than ever that districts need to take action.

“Generative AI is coming into schools regardless of whether or not districts are embracing it ,” said Gallagher.

For now, students are blocked from using AI on campus, but teachers can use it to streamline tasks around the classroom.

By July, the district says a policy will be in place to provide ethical guidelines for students using AI.

Until then, parents like McGredy are curious to see how the district continues to handle the new technology.

“The idea that AI can kind of customize things for take and give them more access to learning content, I think it’s exciting,” said McGredy.


Source: NBC Bay Area

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