UF helps state launch AI curriculum in Florida public schools

UF helps state launch AI curriculum in Florida public schools

Karen Dooley

As students across the nation return to the classroom this fall, Florida is among the first states to adopt a K-12 artificial intelligence, or AI, education program designed to prepare its youth for the growing global demand for an AI-enabled workforce.

Tapping into the expertise of the University of Florida and its AI initiative, the Florida Department of Education recently added a three-year program of study called AI Foundations to its Career and Technical Education Program, or CTE, with three Florida school districts launching it this fall after specialized AI training was available to teachers over the summer.

Nearly everyone is accessing AI or being influenced by the technology every day, and that will only increase, said UF Associate Provost David Reed, who leads the university’s Artificial Intelligence Academic Initiative Center.

“More and more people with all levels of education and technical skills are exposed to AI, including on their phones, their watches and in their homes,” Reed said. “Through several initiatives, including an AI curriculum program developed for Florida public schools, the University of Florida aims to increase understanding among students about how their data is being used, improve their skills in computer science and also impact the AI workforce shortage.”

The framework for the public school coursework was designed with help from UF faculty, including Christina Gardner-McCune, who modeled it after the Artificial Intelligence for K-12 Initiative, or AI4K12. The initiative, a National Science Foundation-funded program, is developing national guidelines for teaching AI in elementary and secondary schools and is co-led by Gardner-McCune, an associate professor in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering.

The state’s new high school program offers courses that provide an overview of the aspects of AI, programming and machine learning to better prepare students to be successful both personally and professionally in an AI-based society, Gardner-McCune said.

“Students will gain practical, hands-on experience such as constructing chatbots, evaluating the societal impacts of AI and mastering foundational skills to become knowledgeable users of AI,” she said. “Once they complete the program, they will be armed with a portfolio of projects that demonstrates their ability in AI system design.”…read more

///   David Reed, Ph.D.   ///
is a user in ICBR’s NextGen DNA Sequencing and Gene Expression & Genotyping cores