AI For All
Yesterday we had another Professional Development Workshop for High School CS Teachers and as usual, I wnat to express my thanks to Digital Ocean for continuing to provide space, food, and great overall support.
This time though, instead of JonAlf and I having to run the show we had a guest speaker. We were joined by Sarah Judd of AI4ALL.
Sarah gave an overview of what AI4ALL was up to and why but the core of her presentation was taking us through some of the exercises they have been developing at AI4All. Specifically, they're developing what they call AI4All Open Learning which consists of curricular materials aimed at high school students.
As we only had a short time, Sarah took us on a whirlwind tour of what they're building from the baseline concepts of AI that she feels (and I agree) that every students should know up to specific AI topics like neural nets. Obviously you can't cover even a single course in one evening professional development session but Sarah did a great job giving both a taste and an overview.
The activities were all engaging and and covered both ethical/societal issues as well as the technical/CS. I appreciated that the materials weren't presented as canned experiences but rather tools that a teacher would use to deliver their own experiences. On the other hand I'm skeptical of the website's claims of "No AI or computer science experience necessary." I'm a firm believer that a CS teacher must know both CS and how to teach it - maybe not at first due to necessity, but ultimately. Regardless, Sarah has both real teaching experience and CS knowledge and I put more faith in what she's saying than a PR blurb on a web site.
Now you'll notice I haven't said anything specific about Sarah's presentation or AI4All and that's because Sarah will be giving a variation of it at SIGCSE in March. If you teach high school and are going to be at SIGCSE, I highly recommend you check out her session.
If not, perhaps I'll blog more specifics after the event.