In the evolving landscape of education, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) literacy is no longer a futuristic concept but an immediate necessity. This was the central theme of a thought-provoking podcast hosted by Jeff Young of EdSurge, featuring two distinguished guests: Susan Gonzales, founder of AIandYou, and Leo Lo, a professor at the University of New Mexico.
The challenge educators face is twofold. First, they must acquire the necessary AI knowledge and skills themselves. Then, they must find effective ways to instill AI curiosity and understanding in their students. This task involves not only technical proficiency but also an awareness of the ethical, psychological, and societal implications of AI.
Susan Gonzales illuminated the crucial need for AI literacy, particularly highlighting its significance in marginalized communities. She warned of the potential for an "AI divide," similar to the digital divide, if AI is not integrated equitably into educational systems. Her organization, AIandYou (https://aiandyou.org/), actively works to demystify AI, providing resources to understand its implications in various aspects of life, including privacy, misinformation, and the democratic process. Gonzales's background, which includes a significant stint at Facebook, has given her a firsthand view of the disparity between technology-empowered communities and those lacking such resources. She stressed the urgency of addressing this gap, especially as AI continues to transform the workforce in fields like translation and administrative assistance.
Leo Lo's insights complemented Gonzales's perspective. He shed light on the transformative effect of AI in teaching, learning, and library sciences. Through his experience and a comprehensive survey of academic librarians, Lo revealed a widespread lack of understanding and hands-on experience with AI among educational professionals, underscoring the need for extensive training and professional development.
The discussion also highlighted the Artificial Intelligence Literacy Act, a bipartisan bill proposed in Congress aimed at fostering AI literacy in educational institutions. This initiative recognizes the importance of not leaving individuals to navigate the complexities of AI alone but integrating AI literacy into the education system at all levels. This approach is essential for preparing students for a future where AI competence is not just advantageous but essential in the workforce.
As the conversation in the podcast unfolded, it became clear that the journey toward AI literacy in education requires a collaborative effort. This collaboration must involve educators, policymakers, AI experts, and the community at large. The goal is to localize AI literacy initiatives, ensuring that they are relevant and accessible to all communities, thereby preventing an AI divide.
The podcast highlighted a crucial turning point in education. AI literacy is not just an academic requirement but a societal imperative. As AI continues to permeate every aspect of our lives, the collective effort to understand, utilize, and ethically manage AI in education becomes not just important but essential for the equitable advancement of society.
Listen to the EdSurge podcast at https://soundcloud.com/edsurge/inside-the-push-to-bring-ai-literacy-to-schools-and-colleges and read the accompanying article at https://www.edsurge.com/news/2024-01-23-inside-the-push-to-bring-ai-literacy-to-schools-and-colleges.
My name is Greg Russak, and I’m an independent sales consultant. I’m a graduate of Penn State and Robert Morris University with degrees in engineering and organizational leadership. My career began in the telecommunications industry as an engineer and operations manager before I was “seduced by the Dark Side” of sales and marketing. I have broad general management, sales, marketing, and operations experience across several industries, mostly in technology but also in education, that spans the spectrum from dining room table to basement office to P&L for a multi-billion dollar company.