Impact.AI: Democratizing AI through K-12 Artificial Intelligence Education

Randi Williams

Williams, Randi. Impact.AI: democratizing AI through K-12 artificial intelligence education. Dissertation Proposal. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2023.


Today’s artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are changing how many people play, work, learn, and govern themselves. This rapid technological change is already having significant effects on individuals’ lives and opportunities. Thus, researchers, educators, and government leaders must consider how to prepare a diverse citizenry to thrive in the emerging age of AI, for example through outreach initiatives like grade school AI curricula. We propose to develop AI curricula and educational platforms that support K-12 students in fostering identities as technosocial change agents while they learn about AI. First, we introduce a new AI literacy framework, Impact.AI, that covers the AI concepts, practices, and perspectives that align with a technosocial change agent identity. This framework will inform the development of middle school AI curricula that empower students to become conscious consumers, ethical engineers, and informed advocates of AI. Next, we will develop AI education tools that facilitate students’ learning about AI as they work on AI projects. These tools will provide technical scaffolding, encourage creativity, and guide reflection. Finally, we will bring together these two strands of work to evaluate how well these artifacts improve learning outcomes and students’ attitudes toward AI. As AI becomes increasingly prevalent in everyday life, it is important that all people have the opportunity to both understand and shape the technology.

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