Warrior Run students learning basics, ethics of using AI

Mar. 7—TURBOTVILLE — Special elective classes at Warrior Run Junior High School recognize the importance of incorporating artificial intelligence education into the curriculum to ensure that students are prepared for their academic futures and the workforce.

Students are also learning to use artificial intelligence (AI) responsibly, using basic programs, such as Ideogram, designed with students in mind, said Theresa Bartholomew, Warrior Run director of curriculum and instruction.

"We encourage students to use AI programs that are specific to education," Bartholomew said. "Kyle Brady, our junior and senior high librarian, is in contact with the CSIU's professional development unit and he is part of their task force looking at how schools can use AI."

The approach teachers at Warrior Run take is AI is a tool that can be used and that everyone should be aware of it.

AI can be abused, Bartholomew said.

"If we have a conversation abut how to use it well, it can benefit us, just like other technologies," she said. "Some kids are taking to it right away. Others, not. I know there are a lot of people who assume that kids will use it to cheat, but I don't think it is as pervasive as we think it is.

"Students are preparing for senior exit interviews and they have to have a statement at the top. It seems like some students are using AI to write their personal statements. Sometimes that sounds unnatural."

AI ethics was a predominant theme in two Wednesday morning classes: computers in research, and foundations for success

Using Ideogram as a tool, Jillian Yevics, seventh-grade teacher, taught students about the ethics of using AI in computers in research. The class is being asked to use the technology to create an image of a person from a book they have read.

For both Taylor Tanner, 13, and Addyson Raup, 12, it was a rewarding exercise.

"It's exciting, it's fun," Raup said.

"I'm learning a lot here," Tanner said.

In the school library, Brady is teaching eighth-grade students and is marveling "at how some of the AI tools have improved from the beginning of the year until now. The tools are being refined and made better," he said.

Brady began his eighth-grade class by showing 10 facial images and challenged students to identify the photos of real people versus AI-created images. Thus he was moving the conversation into a discussion of the machine-learning-fueled phenomenon of deepfakes.

A deepfake, Brady said, is an artificial image or video generated by a special kind of machine learning called "deep" learning.

"How many people in business will be utilizing this technology?" he said.

One of his fun exercises was to ask students to create an Iron Man image using cardboard.

"This is scary good," he said to Gannon Betz, 14.

Then, Brady showed a video created by Idiogram.

"Looks real doesn't it?" he said.

Students were able to pick out aspects of the video that indicated it was AI-created.

One of the ideas Brady emphasized was that having the prompt is key to a successful task.