Responsible AI Integration: 4 Steps for Education Leaders

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June 25, 2024 | Sarah Mathias | 6 minutes

As an education leader, are you making the most of artificial intelligence (AI) in your district? Whether you’ve fully embraced it or are just getting started, there’s no doubt this cutting-edge technology has the potential to revolutionize the way you teach, learn, and engage.

AI technology has many benefits, from student and staff engagement to adaptive learning to automated feedback and assessment. However you use it, you’ll want to ensure you do it right.

In our last post, Insights for Leaders: Harnessing the Power of Responsible AI in Education, we discussed the importance of responsible AI use to benefit both students and educators. This means developing and deploying AI safely, ethically, and legally and ensuring that the technology benefits society while mitigating risks and negative impacts.

In this post, we take it to the next level. Read on to explore four steps for responsible AI integration in your district.

In this Article

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Know your educational partners

Districts need to develop governance around AI use to ensure it adheres to the district’s student success goals. Educating your educational partners is key to responsible integration. But to succeed, you must deeply understand them. From administrators to teachers to parents and students, each one has different insights and educational needs.

Tip: Use an AI experience and engagement platform like ThoughtExchange to understand your educational partners deeply. Use a survey or Exchange to engage them on their knowledge and needs, then instantly analyze and get actionable next steps with features like AI Advisor.


Understand methods for educating educational partners

Now that you understand your educational partners’ needs, use a comprehensive approach to most effectively educate them. They’ll need to understand the implications, benefits, and challenges of AI. Base the methods you choose on educational partners’ needs.

Consider the following methods for educating educational partners:

  1. Workshops and training sessions
    Interactive workshops: Conduct hands-on workshops where educational partners can use AI tools and technologies.
    Expert seminars: Invite AI experts to deliver seminars on various aspects of AI, including its applications, ethical considerations, and future trends.
  2. Educational materials and resources
    Books and articles: Provide a curated list of books, articles, and whitepapers on AI.
    Research papers: Share significant research papers and findings from reputable journals.
  3. Guest speakers or digital events
    Webinars: Organize regular webinars focusing on different aspects of AI, such as machine learning, data analysis, and AI ethics.

Consider implementing guidelines and regulations

Establish clear guidelines for safely and responsibly using AI in education. Ensure AI tools are used ethically, focusing on student privacy and responsible usage. By providing guidance, leaders can ensure that AI enhances students’ learning experiences without compromising safety or privacy.

Developing your district’s AI policies

Although AI is new to most K-12 districts, many states, districts, and organizations have already developed AI policies and guidelines that can help districts as they develop their own.

Virtual Arkansas, a supplemental online education platform that supports Arkansas school districts, recommends districts consider the following questions when developing their AI guidelines and regulations:

  • How will AI integration align with the district’s educational goals and values?
  • How will AI be used in the classroom, and how will it support student learning?
  • What data will be collected, and how will it be used and protected?
  • How will teachers be involved in AI integration, and what professional development will be provided?
  • What privacy protocols are in place to protect student and staff data?
  • How will the accuracy, reliability, and bias of AI output be assessed?
  • How will educational partners remain informed about the design and intended use of AI tools?
  • What processes will be in place for educational partners to demonstrate consent for use of these tools?

Tip: Use an engagement platform specializing in qualitative data analysis to ask educational partners for their insights on the questions relevant to their experience in your district.

Understanding how other districts and governmental bodies approach AI policies and regulations can help your team develop your district’s guidelines.


Prioritize student privacy

AI systems can quickly collect vast amounts of sensitive information, including personal details like names, addresses, birthdates, and academic records. This makes students vulnerable to identity theft and fraud, which can have severe consequences for them and their families.

AI in education must consider children's specific privacy needs. Data breaches can have long-lasting effects on their safety and well-being.

If an AI vendor is serious about protecting student privacy, they will have clear policies around student privacy. This commitment isn't just about technology; it's about nurturing a safe, supportive space where learning and collaboration can thrive.

ThoughtExchange has committed to upholding student privacy, including:

  • No selling of student data: Students' information remains private and secure on the ThoughtExchange platform.
  • No behavioral targeting: Students won't be subjected to ads or marketing based on their data.
  • Educational use only: Data is strictly used to enhance learning outcomes.
  • Stringent security measures: Robust protections ensure data is safe from security breaches.
  • Full transparency: Sharing clear policies and practices that build trust.
  • Data access: Parents, educators, and students can access their own data, ensuring openness and control.

Also, ensure AI vendors are compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), designed to protect the privacy of students' educational records.

By ensuring AI systems comply with these regulations, districts can avoid legal repercussions and maintain trust.

“At ThoughtExchange, we truly value trust, and understand the significance of privacy and data security. When people engage with our platform, they're trusting not just our product, but our integrity, too. So, as we keep pushing the boundaries with AI, we are redefining our security and privacy program to include responsible AI and calling it trust. It's not just about protecting data; it's about honoring the trust our users place in us. And that's something we take very seriously.”Chris Mussell, VP & Chief Trust Officer, ThoughtExchange

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Integrating AI in K-12 education can revolutionize how we teach, learn, and engage. But, this technology comes with significant responsibilities, particularly concerning privacy, security, and ethical usage. Responsible implementation is key to meeting your district’s goals and helping your students succeed.

Fostering AI literacy among educators and students and committing to responsible AI practices will be crucial to harnessing AI's full potential while safeguarding the well-being and privacy of students and teachers alike.

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Sarah Mathias
Sarah discovered her love of words when she penned her first journal in grade 4—she hasn’t stopped writing since. With a BA in Sociology and an MPC in International/Intercultural Communication, Sarah honed her corporate writing skills in the travel insurance and fashion industries before working with ThoughtExchange. She brings her collaborative spirit and commitment to antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with her penchant for grammar jokes.

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