Artificial intelligence (AI) in schools presents exciting opportunities and challenges, and school leaders are navigating that balance—harnessing AI’s potential while safeguarding student privacy, data security, and ethical considerations. With the emergence of sites like ChatGPT, some schools are choosing to draw up an official AI policy to help them navigate this complex landscape.
Here are six steps to putting together an AI policy for your school.
Step 1: Understand Your Purpose
Begin by defining the goals of your AI policy. If you are allowing AI in some capacity in your school, are you using it for personalized learning, administrative tasks, or enhancing classroom experiences? Clarify the intended benefits and outcomes, keeping the students’ and staff’s best interests in mind.
Step 2: Assemble Your Team
Your board probably already consists of a multidisciplinary team—comprising educators, IT professionals, legal experts, and administrators. Their insights will ensure a holistic approach to AI policy development, addressing technical, educational, legal, and ethical aspects.
Step 3: Identify and Secure Data Usage
Your IT team can clearly outline the types of data that AI systems might collect, process, and analyze. Specify whether it includes student records, attendance, behavioral patterns, or assessment data. Ensure you take data protection measures and compliance with relevant privacy laws, such as FERPA. Adapt your cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data from breaches or unauthorized access.
Step 4: Define Your Ethical Guidelines
In your policy, you’ll want to clarify what your school considers “Appropriate AI Use.” Provide examples of proper AI usage as a tool, such as using AI programs for research. Outline what students should not do with AI, which might include avoiding using AI to replace their own work, or using AI when teachers have asked students not to. Encourage students to report instances of AI misuse or violations and define potential consequences. Establish a set of ethical principles that guide AI usage: you’ll want to address bias, transparency, accountability, and fairness.
Step 5: Establish Transparency
Make sure your policy is distributed to your board, parents, educators, and students. Foster open communication about its use, and be open to questions. Highlight that the AI policy is a living document subject to updates as technology evolves and the school’s needs change.
Step 6: Practice Continuous Assessment and Improvement
Revise your policy at least once per year, if not twice per year—to ensure alignment with emerging best practices and legal requirements. This gives you the chance to regularly assess the impact of AI on student outcomes, teaching practices, and administrative efficiency.
Creating an AI policy is a vital step in fostering responsible AI integration within your school. You’ll also want to offer training programs to ensure that teachers and staff are equipped to effectively integrate AI tools into their roles. You’ll also want to define procedures for obtaining informed parental consent when AI technologies involve students’ personal data.
For more on how to navigate AI usage, check out the following resources:
- How To Write an AI Policy for Schools: Examples and Resources (weareteachers.com)
- How ChatGPT Can Improve Education, Not Threaten It – Scientific American
- UNESCO: AI and Education Guidance for Policy Makers
- ChatGPT is changing education, AI experts say — but how? – DW – 01/24/2023
- Banning ChatGPT In Schools Is Like Banning Calculators In Math Class (forbes.com)
- Artificial Intelligence – Office of Educational Technology
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