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AccreditationChangemakers in Education

Why AI and What Is Middle States Doing About It?

By October 9, 2023October 23rd, 2023No Comments

Thirty years ago, I had three experiences related to artificial intelligence that resonate even more strongly today.

In 1992, my high school film teacher asked the class to attend a screening of the director’s cut of Blade Runner. It is a movie about androids—artificial intelligences that seem “more human than human” (the motto of the company that created them).

In 1993, my college English professor assigned us William Gibson’s Neuromancer (which later inspired The Matrix). It, too, deals with characters that are artificial intelligences.

And, in 1994, that same English professor assigned Frankenstein, yet another story about an artificial intelligence. This time, we had to demonstrate our understanding of the novel by creating a web page with text and image. This was still the dawn of the publicly available Internet. Professor Irvine’s words have stuck with me: “Some day,” he said, “we are going to cohabit this cyberspace with artificial intelligence.”

Fast forward to November of 2022. When OpenAI released ChatGPT, I knew that generative AI would become the most influential technology since the Internet. 

To put a finer point on it, I believe that generative AI will soon become the most influential technology for learning.

That is why Middle States has been exploring AI’s implications for the world of education:

  • In January 2023, we hosted a webinar with EdTech leader Jennifer Carolan, co-founder Reach Capital.
  • In March 2023, I delivered a keynote on AI in education to teachers, students, and industry leaders in Athens, Greece.
  • In May 2023, I delivered a keynote on AI and social entrepreneurship learning to philanthropists and school leaders in New Jersey and North Carolina.
  • In August 2023, we released our first “Forces at Play” report on AI in education, “Weird Questions.”

Today, I am pleased to share our second “Forces at Play report on AI in education, “A Branch in the Timeline.” I welcome your responses. Please share this with colleagues and friends.

I am equally excited to announce that our next webinar will address “AI and the Future—and Present—of Learning” with Amanda Bickerstaff, CEO of AI for Education, long-time EdTech executive, and former classroom teacher. The webinar will take place on November 9 at 11 am ET. You can register now.

As the year unfolds, we will be sharing more resources to help you make sense of and navigate the rapidly changing world of AI in education.

Thirty years ago, many of my classmates reacted to the idea of co-existing with AI with a, “Yeah right.” Some of us reacted with, “What if…?” Today, we all have to ask, “What now?”

And because MSA’s theme this year is “Changemakers in Education,” you can count on us to guide you on that journey of discovery.

Sending all good wishes—

Christian Talbot

Middle States Association
Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools

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