Summer conference prepares educators to ethically use AI in education

The DuPage Regional Office of Education is teaming up with the Illinois Learning Technology Center to co-host a summer conference on artificial intelligence.

The conference aims to build a community of educational professionals who are prepared to traverse the ever-evolving landscape of AI, especially as it pertains to education.

The conference will take place on Tuesday, June 11, at Indian Trail Middle School in Addison. It will feature nearly 20 presenters and more than 30 breakout sessions.

DuPage Regional Superintendent Amber Quirk says she is excited to offer this opportunity to the DuPage educational community.

“The ROE is always looking ahead to emerging trends in education. Our primary goal is to support DuPage schools by supporting, preparing, and equipping our teachers and administrators — and this is one important way we are doing that,” Quirk said.

DuPage Assistant Regional Superintendent Dr. Vickie Trotter says the title of the conference was important because they wanted the name to reflect their purpose.

“We chose ‘Unleashing the Power of AI’ because the conference will give educators a framework on how to use AI so it benefits their classroom, guides their students, and impacts their community in a powerful and positive manner,” Trotter said.

Trotter believes there are a lot of misconceptions about AI.

“When some people think of artificial intelligence in the school setting, they imagine a high school student asking Chat GPT to write their research paper,” Trotter said. “While that is one facet, AI goes far beyond that in the school setting. At this conference, our presenters will be covering topics such as how to optimize lesson plans and student engagement using AI, how AI can support social-emotional learning and mental health, how to supercharge early childhood learning with AI, and how AI can be used to foster equitable and culturally responsive learning environments.”

As with all educational endeavors, the safety of DuPage students and staff is a high priority. Conference organizers say that’s why they have included breakout sessions on how administrators can create a strategic road map for safely implementing AI into their curriculum, as well as creating student and staff policies for ethical integration of AI into the learning environment.

Due to the popularity of the workshop, registration fill up quickly. However, Regional Superintendent Amber Quirk says they are already planning to have another conference on AI.

“AI is here to stay. It’s the way of the future, and it’s moving forward at breakneck speeds,” Quirk said. “As we navigate AI’s impact on education, it will be critical to couple artificial intelligence with emotional intelligence so we can guide our students to use AI ethically. The DuPage ROE is committed to offering support, information, and guidance to our DuPage schools as they navigate the possibilities and power of artificial intelligence.”

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