Empowering education: A Utah school district embraces AI in the classroom

Feb 16, 2024, 10:09 PM | Updated: Feb 19, 2024, 7:43 am

WEST JORDAN — In a forward-looking initiative, educators in the Jordan School District are incorporating artificial intelligence into their classrooms.

More than 2,000 of the district’s teachers now use School AI. It’s a program that has evolved from a year-long pilot stage to widespread adoption by over two-thirds of the district’s teachers, other districts across the state, and nationwide.

Andrew Holmes, a teacher at West Jordan Middle School, was one of the first teachers to test Student AI and was vital in fine-tuning the program for education during its pilot. He let developers know teachers’ needs in the classrooms and how it can benefit students and educators the most.

Jordan School District superintendent Anthony Godfrey describes School AI as a “tutor for each student and a classroom aide for each teacher,” emphasizing its pivotal role in shaping the K-12 educational landscape.

Holmes, showcasing the transformative impact of AI, states, “Now I’m not just using it to bounce ideas; I’m using it to create assignments that have analysis packed in.”

The program replaces traditional memorization and worksheets, demonstrating the innovative approach AI brings to the classroom.

Highlighting the broader perspective, Holmes says, “As a teacher, I can’t expect my kids to memorize every single little fact. Hopefully, I can teach them to use those tools a little bit better.”

Holmes using School AI in his classroom.

Holmes using School AI in his classroom. (KSL TV)

He said this sentiment underscores the educational philosophy of preparing students not just with information but with the skills to navigate and analyze information effectively.

With over 2,000 teachers voluntarily integrating AI into their classrooms, Godfrey said the Jordan School District stands as a trailblazer in educational transformation. He expressed excitement about the ongoing evolution of AI’s role, foreseeing its potential to enhance classrooms further.

Amid this transformative journey, safety concerns from parents loom large. To address these worries, School AI ensures robust data protection measures, providing a secure environment for students to explore and learn about AI.

According to School AI developers, this commitment to safety aligns with the broader educational goal of fostering a secure and supportive learning environment, with teachers remaining at the heart of the classroom experience.

As AI continues to revolutionize education, the Jordan School District hopes to serve as a promising example, successfully integrating technology while prioritizing student well-being and academic growth.

The district hopes the combination of innovative tools and dedicated educators sets the stage for a future where AI and education coexist seamlessly, preparing students for the challenges of tomorrow.

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Empowering education: A Utah school district embraces AI in the classroom