The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is committed to supporting the use of technology to improve teaching and learning and to support innovation throughout educational systems. This report addresses the clear need for sharing knowledge and developing policies for “Artificial Intelligence,” a rapidly advancing class of foundational capabilities which are increasingly embedded in all types of educational technology systems and are also available to the public. We will consider “educational technology” (edtech) to include both (a) technologies specifically designed for educational use, as well as (b) general technologies that are widely used in educational settings. Recommendations in this report seek to engage teachers, educational leaders, policy makers, researchers, and educational technology innovators and providers as they work together on pressing policy issues that arise as Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used in education.
AI can be defined as “automation based on associations.” When computers automate reasoning based on associations in data (or associations deduced from expert knowledge), two shifts fundamental to AI occur and shift computing beyond conventional edtech: (1) from capturing data to detecting patterns in data and (2) from providing access to instructional resources to automating decisions about instruction and other educational processes. Detecting patterns and automating decisions are leaps in the level of responsibilities that can be delegated to a computer system. The process of developing an AI system may lead to bias in how patterns are detected and unfairness in how decisions are automated. Thus, educational systems must govern their use of AI systems. This report describes opportunities for using AI to improve education, recognizes challenges that will arise, and develops recommendations to guide further policy development.
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