Strategies to Integrate AI into Every Classroom
Reviewed by Kathleen Palmieri
50 Strategies for Integrating AI into the Classroom by award-winning teacher Donnie Piercey provides educators with practical approaches to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies into their teaching environments. This book offers key points and useful strategies to easily implement the cutting-edge tech into the classroom.
Starting with an introduction to the concept of AI and its potential impact on education, Piercy offers a brief overview of the steps involved in using AI, using a conversational tone and putting the reader at ease.
He lays out essentials to consider before diving into AI, including a self-questioning process to guide the beginner: “What are the learning targets, goals, or objectives for this lesson?”, “How can AI help me to achieve them?” and “What AI-driven interventions or resources can I provide for students who need additional support?” (page 7)
Enhancing the learning experience
Piercey emphasizes the need to design K-12 classrooms that deliberately utilize AI tools to enhance the learning experience. AI can be employed to tailor educational content and activities to individual student needs at every level, allowing for a more personalized learning experience.
One suggestion, “Put It to Music,” brings music to a learning experience. One sample prompt Piercey provides is to have AI “Write a song with accompanying chords about the Great Depression.” For K-1 he offers “Ask AI to write jingle lyrics to a familiar tune that you could use to teach your class how to sort objects of different sizes, shapes, and colors.” (page 50)
When it comes to data driven insights, utilize AI to gather and analyze data on student performance, enabling you to make informed instructional decisions. An example Piercey provides is “Student Conference Project Feedback” where “two hundred students hand in some writing all at once, and you have writing conferences planned for tomorrow.”
Of course you’ll read all the work eventually, but you don’t have enough time before tomorrow. “If you copy and paste a piece of writing into AI and ask it to give some key points of feedback, you can lay a foundation on which to start your conference.” (page 26) Implementing AI-driven tools for more efficient feedback can be a huge timesaver.
AI powered content creation can be used to generate educational content such as quizzes, flashcards, and even lesson plans. Examples of this are found in “Creative Writing Prompts” and the input, “Give me five opinion-based creative writing prompts for second graders.” (page 44) Examples of writing and reading content are then offered in the “Make it Real” section for grade K-12.
STEAM for PK-12
AI technologies can enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education. “On-the-Fly Science” offers several ideas across grade levels beginning with grades PK-1 “Maybe you’re teaching your students about how to record the temperature or weather every day for a month. AI can quickly give you information about similar data from different years or different places.”
Eighth grade science students can engage in a lesson using results from sample AI input like this: “In my classroom, I have hundreds of pencils, crayons, markers, plastic wheels, notebook paper, Bunsen burners, rubber bands, tape, and other classroom supplies. Come up with a lesson using these materials to help my eighth graders understand Newton’s second law of motion.” (page 27)
Each of the 50 strategies provided in this book offer an idea for use, a sample AI prompt, and a “Make it Real” area that encompasses suggestions for grades PK-12. The strategies run from content driven lesson planning, to fun in the classroom, to time saving tricks, to name just a few. Two appendices are offered at the end of the book providing “References” (Appendix A) and “Sample Prompts and Responses” (Appendix B).
AI’s ethical implications
AI also brings with it ethical implications as we begin to integrate AI into the classroom, including issues of privacy, bias, and transparency. Piercey addresses these concerns in his introduction, sharing the “Big Questions” that are arising regarding the use of AI. These concerns include:
- How can AI inspire students without replacing human creativity?
- How can original artists be acknowledged?
- When is it okay to use AI, and when is it not?
- How much can you trust what AI tells you?”
- How can you tell if AI is missing an important perspective?
Piercey acknowledges that we don’t have complete answers to these questions yet, but “[b]y having an open dialogue with students and colleagues about these questions, you can guide your students into a future where tech turns into an ally rather than an occupying force.” (page 13)
Donnie Piercey’s book provides a comprehensive guide for educators looking to harness the potential of AI in the classroom, offering a wide range of practical strategies and insights to enhance the learning experience for students.
Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher and NBCT Professional Learning facilitator. She is a fifth grade educator in upstate New York who reviews and writes regularly for MiddleWeb. With a passion for literacy and learning in the classroom, she participates in various writing workshops, curriculum writing endeavors, and math presentations. As a lifelong learner, she is an avid reader and researcher of educational practices and techniques. Collaborating with colleagues and globally on X/Twitter https://twitter.com/Kathie_Palmieri and expanding her education adventures at www.kathleenpalmieri.com are her ongoing practices.