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The rapid pace of generative AI development brings with it both great opportunities and exposure to risk for schools and district leaders.

Leveraging the K-12 generative AI readiness checklist: A guide for district leadership

The extremely rapid pace of generative AI development brings with it both great opportunities and exposure to risk

Editor’s note: This story on how to manage academic integrity as generative AI moves into classrooms originally appeared on CoSN’s blog and is reposted here with permission.

The rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technology present both incredible opportunities and significant challenges for educational settings. Whether or not a school district is considering leveraging AI, the influence of this technology on educational ecosystems is undeniable. As AI increasingly becomes a part of our daily lives, district leaders have a responsibility to understand its impact in educational settings and make informed decisions accordingly. This is true whether the aim is active adoption or simply preparation for a future where AI tools become more prevalent in educational settings.

To ensure school districts are adequately prepared for the integration of generative AI into their instructional and operational systems, the Council of Great City Schools, CoSN – Consortium for School Networking, and Amazon Web Services have partnered to create the K-12 Gen AI Readiness Checklist Questionnaire. There are several ways in which district leadership can best use this checklist for assessing and enhancing their readiness for integrating generative AI technologies into both instructional and operational systems.

The first step should be to bring together a group of individuals that will form the district’s Generative AI Leadership Team. Who Should Be Involved?

  • Superintendents and District Leaders: As decision-makers, your insights into aligning AI adoption with overall goals and strategies are critical.
  • Chief Technology Officers and Chief Information Officers: You will be the primary users of the checklist, evaluating technical capabilities, limitations, and needs.
  • Cross-Functional Teams: The checklist addresses a wide array of considerations, making it essential for input from representatives of all departments involved, including academics, finance, and legal.

The Checklist covers readiness in Executive Leadership, Operational, Data, Technical, Security, Legal/Risk Management. Below are some ideas for how the Checklist can be leveraged in your school district.

Initial Assessment

Alignment with District Goals: Start by examining whether AI technologies align with your district’s mission, vision, and values.
Resource Inventory: Make sure you have designated teams or individuals who will be responsible for overseeing AI adoption.
Tactical Steps
Legal Review: Consult the legal department to ensure compliance with state laws or district rules concerning the use of AI technologies.
Policy Development: Establish clear policies around the responsible use of AI, keeping in mind to align them with existing federal guidelines and best practices.
Staff Training: Ascertain the training needs for different roles within the district and prepare a training roadmap.

Operational Readiness

Procurement Standards: Set forth clear standards for AI procurement, with a focus on compliance and ethical considerations.
Data Governance and Privacy: Make sure you have robust data governance policies in place and that you are compliant with privacy regulations.
Technical Readiness
Security Framework: Update your cybersecurity policies to include AI-specific considerations.
Identity and Access Management: Implement centralized role-based data access controls specifically for AI tools.
Monitoring: Develop processes to keep track of systems that use AI and how they are used.

Risk Management

Legal Remediation: Update terms and conditions to include AI-specific clauses and ensure the legal team has remediation plans.
Copyright Policy: Create or update the copyright policy to include content created using AI tools.
Continuous Review
Iterative Approach: The adoption of AI is not a one-off event but a continual process. Periodic reassessments should be conducted.

Making the Most of the Checklist

Customization: One of the key strengths of the checklist is that it is designed to be adaptable. Districts should customize it according to their unique needs and challenges.
Community Resource: The checklist is intended to evolve. Once it is made publicly available under a Creative Commons license, districts can not only modify it but also share their experiences and modifications, contributing to its value as a community resource.

The extremely rapid pace of gen AI development brings with it both great opportunities and exposure to risk. Creating a team to provide governance for the adoption of AI in educational settings is a critical step in guiding use and preventing abuse. The K-12 Gen AI Readiness Checklist provides a comprehensive framework to guide district leadership to engage in understanding a complex AI ecosystem and the numerous considerations that come with AI adoption. By strategically leveraging this checklist, school districts can navigate the complexities of AI technology while aligning with educational objectives and ensuring data privacy and security.

The goal is not just to blindly adopt new technology but to transform our education systems for the better, and this checklist is a strong step in that direction.

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