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Ohio Releases AI Toolkit for Schools

A new online resource for Ohio schools, compiled by the state, includes sections for parents, teachers and school districts with sample lessons, discussions about ethics, safety policies and other topics.

Closeup of a person writing in a notebook overlayed with the word "AI." White background.
(TNS) — The state of Ohio released a guide Thursday to help schools and parents navigate generative artificial intelligence in an ethical manner.

“When you use the term AI, I know in some people’s minds, it can sound scary,” said Lt. Jon Husted, whose InnovateOhio office worked with private sector organizations to develop the guide. “It can sound like, ‘I’m not sure I like this.’ It can sound like, ‘I’m not sure by all the threats.’ And all of those kinds of things are natural and not unexpected. Every technology that’s come into society has been like that.”

But AI is the wave of the future, and Husted said it’s important that students are exposed to it.

The AI toolkit is not mandatory but can be used as a resource for educators and families.

It doesn’t include many prescriptive actions for how to begin teaching and using AI. Rather, it contains sections for parents, teachers and school districts where they can find dozens of sample lessons and discussions about ethics, how to develop policies to keep students safe, and other topics.

For instance, teachers can find a template letter that they can send to school district officials to communicate how they’re using AI. There are sample challenges teachers can give to students to deepen their understanding of AI’s promises and limitations, including exercises from the AI Education Project, a nonprofit founded by Akron native Alex Kotran, that asks students to find 10 ways to fool their phone’s facial recognition or prove they’re smarter than ChatGPT.

The AI toolkit provides school districts and boards of education a link to the U.S. Department of Education’s recommendations for keeping students and their data safe, while incorporating policies to expand AI’s use, as well as suggestions on how to develop policies to ensure the learning is effective.

“Before you use AI in the classroom you will need a plan for a student with privacy, data security, ethics and many other things,” Husted said. “More is needed than just a fun tool in the classroom.”

Parents can open a template that they can encourage their child to sign agreeing to use it responsibly, such as promising to review for mistakes when using AI and checking with their teacher when they’re unsure if using AI is acceptable. There’s also a glossary of terms for parents, from “algorithm” to “weak AI,” developed by Michigan Virtual, an education nonprofit.

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