How Does a School District Prepare for Artificial Intelligence?
In a world predicted to change more in the next seven years, than it has in the past 30, the field of education continues to evolve forward to enhance the lives of our future leaders. There is also realization that a study from Oxford University, claims that there is possibility that by the year 2045, over 47% of the current jobs will disappear, into the world of Artificial Intelligence. So how does a school district prepare for this?
For the past year and a half, the Tabernacle Township School District, has embraced the Design Thinking process from the likes of Stanford University d. School, IDEO, and the MIT Media Lab. The process concentrates on bettering the world for others, through the lens of empathy, non-judgmental soft skills, design, critical thinking, and constant iteration. We encourage our “outliers/originals” to be at the center of lessons, instead of remaining on the outside. We push our students and staff to become more critical thinkers, while asking better questions. We brought in new difference makers to our administrative team, to better support, celebrate, and pull our staff forward, with revamped professional development, and a different outlook on how school could and should be. However, before the new administrative team could begin, they were directed to spend the first month building relationships with our staff, to better understand the “whole staff member.” From there, they were required to have constant dialogue with the teachers association, and the student body, to build a team/family approach, so that we could work together as one. Through face-to-face conversations and surveys, we created updated curriculums with the infusion of design thinking, developed professional develop models that not only include bringing in top consultants from across the US, but also incorporated the importance of having fun in the process.
While incorporating numerous web based applications such as Newsela, Seesaw, Flipgrid, and Google Drive to enhance lessons to achieve various required standards, our staff continues to utilize the most expensive piece of equipment that our students bring to us, their brains. Through empathy, curiosity, wonder, iteration, and awe, our students are creating experiences that will push back against, and/or add value to the world of artificial intelligence. We have infused a “maker ed” culture, through design thinking, into all areas of the curriculum. Our elementary staff and students created a Star Wars Maker Cart Fleet, that provides equality for all staff and students when they are not in their Collaboratory. You can see the various characters on the carts moving around to provide supplies, as well as an Ewok cart for student sensory needs. Lego boards, Panamanian frogs, and maker/hacker areas are throughout our Idea Streets (hallways) to ensure that learning can take place anywhere, at any time. The Olson Middle School staff and students created The DEN (Design, Enterprise, Network), formerly known as the library, which provides books, flexible furniture, a TV studio, and various areas that can transform any lesson into a unique experience. The Social Studies teachers have create a project room, for cross curricular projects, and the math staff and students have even created their own ‘breakout” room, which is similar to the popular Escape Rooms across the county.