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Ohio Higher-Ed Leaders Expect AI to 'Completely Change' Education

Asked how they think artificial intelligence will their industry, several university administrators in Ohio said students are already using it, it's likely to transform a lot of jobs and will allow for more flexibility.

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(TNS) — If money was no obstacle, Butler Tech Superintendent Jon Graft would open an academy specifically for artificial intelligence. He has other ideas, like a training campus for pilots, but A.I. is the first thing he thinks of when pondering pie-in-the-sky ideas.

It's something he's been thinking about a lot recently.

"It will completely change the dynamics of the workforce," Graft said.

More than that, education leaders in the region say artificial intelligence will change the way kids learn. In some respects, it already has. One leader at Miami University compared it to the industrial revolution. Another said A.I. will do more to change the way we live than the Internet.

At a Chamber of Commerce luncheon earlier this month, Graft told a story about an old calculator that looked like an owl. He said he remembers a time when teachers would prohibit the use of calculators, forcing students to learn mathematics without the help of technology.

Today, that sounds silly. And it is how Graft and other leaders think about A.I.

"If you have a high schooler, and you think they aren't using A.I. — they absolutely are," said Yvette Kelly-Fields, director of development for Miami University's regional campuses. "Pandora's Box is already open."

At Miami, Kelly-Fields said students are taught to think critically. This will help them use artificial intelligence as another tool, not just another way to cheat on writing assignments. Kelly-Fields said in five years, we will use products with built-in A.I. that were developed by Miami students.

Superintendent Graft said using A.I. tools to help organize information and get it from a student's head onto the page should not be considered a bad thing. At Butler Tech, he said students recently started using A.I. to help with their schedules.

Just as workplaces have evolved into remote and hybrid options with schedules that don't stick to a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday, students want flexibility too. They want to work one day and take a class at night. They don't want to come to campus every day. They want to have Friday off.

Using A.I., Butler Tech students explain what they are interested in and what they want. Using that information, artificial intelligence tools configure a schedule that stays within curriculum guidelines and requirements.

It's been a success, Graft said.

"Technology is changing every aspect of every person's job," he said. "If you're not thinking about it, you're probably behind."

At the luncheon, which Cox First Media co-sponsored, Graft explained the term "prompt engineer." He said he'd never heard of it a year ago. It basically means asking A.I. the right questions. Because if you don't ask the right question in the right way, Graft said, you won't get worthwhile responses.

Monica Posey, president of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, said she hopes the technology will help students find better support systems and more resources.

"I see it changing the whole spectrum of how we do higher ed," Posey said.

On Dec. 7, the Chamber of Commerce will conduct another event to discuss A.I. with business leaders in the county.

©2023 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.