Why AI is about to become an integral part of higher education

Colleges and universities across the country have entered into a partnership to promote and expand AI education for all students, an area that has "exploded" since the emergence of tools like ChatGPT.

With every technological innovation comes the need to educate the next generation of students to ensure they can apply those skills to their future careers. In the 70s, it was the computer as it became more available to students and schools. Then came Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Now, what we thought was the technology of the future is right at our fingertips, and it’s being used in America’s classrooms.

In July 2022, more than 500 tech and education leaders issued a call to action advocating for the expansion of computer science education opportunities for students. Less than a year later, education technology has come much further than we anticipated.

In early March, The AI Education Project, a nonprofit that aims to create equitable learning experiences through AI literacy, announced the rallying of higher education institutions across the country to bring AI education to every student with one common goal: to support students in becoming thriving workers, consumers, creators and citizens in the age of AI.

The recent surge in AI technology—most notably, the use of ChatGPT—has caused leaders in higher education to shift their focus to how such tools can be used in the classroom.

“aiEDU has been advocating for foundational AI education since 2019, but the sudden explosion of generative AI tools onto the scene has led to a huge wave of interest from educators and education leaders over the past few months,” said AI Education Project co-founder and CEO Alex Kotran in a statement. “Those who were around for the step change brought on by computers and the internet are experiencing a sense of déjà vu; it feels like we are once again on the cusp of a once-in-a-generation technological revolution, and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this is a really, really big deal—especially for students.”

Several notable colleges and universities have joined as catalyzing partners to advance AI education opportunities for students:

  • The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
  • Georgetown CSET
  • The Bay Area Community College Consortium
  • The University of Tennessee
  • Ohio University
  • Miami University
  • The University of South Florida
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Skyline College

“We urgently need to help our schools and educators evolve learning strategies for the Age of Artificial Intelligence, and aiEDU has an ambitious plan to help them do just that,” said Tiffany Taylor, chief people & impact officer at GSV Ventures and an aiEDU Board Member. “This might be the single most important challenge in the history of the U.S. education system, and no organization can solve the problem alone. The incredible coalition of partners that aiEDU has assembled validates its commitment to collaboration across the entire ecosystem.”

More from UB: A futurist’s perspective on generative AI in the classroom

Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttps://universitybusiness.com
Micah Ward is a University Business staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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