Wisconsin State Superintendent says she’s excited about artificial intelligence
Dr. Jill Underly says schools are using it to prepare kids for their future.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jill Underly is heading into her third school year at the helm of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). She says the technology she’s most excited to see students and families around the state embrace is artificial intelligence (AI).
“I think that there’s a lot of hesitation possibly around it, and it’s kind of like when smartphones first entered the classroom,” explains Underly, “People were worried about cheating and plagiarism. I think the excitement for me around AI is that this is a really cool technology that is going to be fostering different skills in kids.”
Those skills she’s referring to are skills that she says will transfer to the workplace.
As a reporter, I have to admit that I’ve never used or played around with any of the websites that generate content, like chatGPT. Underly explains the process in the context of student use. First, they have to learn how to develop a prompt and correctly write it, so that they get the information they’re requesting. Then they have to digest the information and edit it.
She says ultimately students will have to be able to think critically about what they’re learning from an AI generated answer.
“The way I look at this is this is a skill for the future,” says Underly, “Our schools are using it to prepare kids for their future. If we reject it, we’re really preparing kids for the past. And so I I look at it, and it’s really exciting.”
Underly adds while she’s excited about AI, she doesn’t expect it to take the place of all traditional writing assignments or assignments done during class time.
“I could see them [teachers] trying to measure content knowledge, by for example, a writing assignment in class. But if you look at the possibilities of AI, you can use AI to save time on things,” says Underly.
She adds that teachers can use AI to help them create lesson plans or do the background work or research necessary as part of that lesson creation.
“You can take that information and do whatever you want with it,” says Underly, “I’m excited about the technology, and I feel that people will embrace it.”
Dr. Underly also discussed public school funding issues, school choice, the new Wisconsin Reading Center, staffing shortages, mental health and advice to families heading into the new school year. You can watch her full interview below:
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