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Digital academy offers new AI course to high school students

Leaders with a Montana digital academy say bringing artificial intelligence to schools is an opportunity to embrace the future.
Digital academy offers new AI course to high school students
Posted at 6:46 PM, Aug 16, 2023

English, math, and science are some of the core subjects we're familiar with in school, but as technology advances, so do the course offerings in classrooms. 

Two leaders at the Montana Digital Academy say bringing artificial intelligence to schools is an opportunity to embrace the future.

"Fall 2023 represents a really important time in the way schools are responding to artificial intelligence," said MTDA Executive Director Jason Neiffer.

The MTDA offers more than 100 courses to K-12 students across Montana, courses which might not be available to their local schools. 

SEE MORE: Teachers and professors now using AI as a learning tool

This year, MTDA is rolling out a new course on artificial intelligence for high school students.

"The students that are taking this course this fall will have a good foundation for watching the technology as it starts to evolve," Neiffer said.

Neiffer believes that today, learning about A.I. is just as important as learning the core curriculum.

"If done correctly, I think a student that is well-versed in generative artificial intelligence could actually augment their studies in those subjects, making them a more effective student, helping them study those materials at a higher level and perhaps make up learning gaps," Neiffer said.

MTDA Assistant Director and Curriculum Director Mike Agostinelli said making sure students understand how to use A.I. for good was one of their fundamental goals when forming the program.

"Students have the opportunity to really think about A.I. in their lives and where is that line from where A.I. is helpful and not hurtful to us as a society," Agostinelli said.

So, what will this curriculum look like for students?

Agostinelli said the online course will focus on a few crucial areas in artificial intelligence: The history and future of A.I., exploration of career fields, and ethics.

The program says this is one step forward in navigating this ever-expanding technology.

"I don't think we can put our heads in the sand about A.I.," Agostinelli said. 

"A.I. is here and there's a real opportunity for us as a culture to grow and embrace it and use it for good. The hope and intent of this course is to plant those seeds about how A.I. can be used ethically to better our society," he said. 

This story was originally published by Kierra Sam at Scripps News Missoula & Western Montana


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