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Why Has AI Become Such a Hot Topic in Education?

As an educator, chances are you have heard about Artificial Intelligence (AI) recently. It is becoming an increasingly common topic amongst teachers. Some of your peers may already be teaching about or driving awareness to AI in their classrooms. So why is AI relevant in education today? 


The short answer: Students of all ages are already interacting with AI every day and the jobs of tomorrow will depend on at least a fundamental understanding of AI.


Who Should I Teach AI?


AI may seem like a subject that is best left to computer science and technology classes, but that approach is too limited. Looking at the future projections of AI’s impact, isolating this technology to computer science or tech courses is a missed opportunity for teachers to prepare their students for an AI driven future.


According to a 2018 study by Code.org’s Advocacy Coalition, only 35% of high schools across 24 states offer computer science courses. Additionally, students who are Black, Hispanic, or from rural areas are less likely to attend a school that provides access to computer science courses. By limiting the education of AI to classes that only teach one or two specific subjects, students will be left behind and miss opportunities to learn about a key technology that is already in use, and will only continue to expand in the future.

 

AI is Already Here


Both you and your students are already experiencing the effects of AI in your daily life when you are on social media, using digital assistants or smart home devices, searching on Google, or streaming on platforms like Netflix. AI is not some futuristic technology; it is already impacting how we live, work, and play.


Teaching AI and its fundamentals to students at an early age will help them understand how and where this technology is being used. Children will learn to think critically about the AI they are currently interacting with and think creatively about the possibilities of this technology in the future.

 

Your Students’ Future Success Depends on AI


Understanding this technology will be an essential skill in the workplace of the future. AI has the potential to increase productivity and efficiency across all industries and in fact, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, education, banks, and tech companies are all currently using AI. Within organizations, AI is used in a wide range of job functions from sales and marketing to operations and finance. AI has shown its potential in increasing efficiency and productivity across many different industries.


The growing prevalence of AI will shift job demand and impact careers in all industries. While AI is expected to create a net total of 97 million new jobs worldwide by 2025, AI is also expected to overtake many jobs. Jobs of the future will rely more heavily on the skills that complement AI, so teachers should help students understand the strengths of AI and the role they as future members of the workforce will be expected to play. Skills like creativity and critical thinking will be essential for success.

 


AI isn’t strictly a new technology anymore, it has already made a profound impact on the world around us. As an educator, you are committed to providing the best education for your students and preparing them for the future. Incorporating AI-based content and learning into your curriculum is one key way to help your students prepare for the ever-evolving future.

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