Maricopa school officials can sum up in one word the No. 1 concern of parents when it comes to using artificial intelligence in classrooms. 

“Cheating,” said Christine Dickinson, MUSD technology director. 

“Is it replacing the thinking process? Is it creating all of our answers for them and skipping the learning?” 

Conversely, are students using it to tutor and to check their facts? 

Dickinson conducted a recent informational meeting to help inform parents about the district’s use of AI in the classroom, which was mostly attended by educators. Nonetheless, the district seeks parents’ thoughts and worries about teachers and students using AI. 

Dickinson said parents have already expressed concerns about what they’ve observed. 

“They want to make sure they’re protecting their students from misinformation and still allowing them to use an academic tool,” Dickinson said. 

MUSD teachers are already using AI in English, math and art classrooms. 

AI can generate “unique art,” Dickinson said. 

At center stage in the discussion is generative AI, a year-old technology that extrapolates information from endless tomes of globally available data at the user’s fingertips. 

ChatGPT, Bin, Bard, YouChat, DALL-E and Jasper are among the applications available to the digital universe. 

With that, MUSD is taking an aggressive stance on the use of AI in the classroom, hoping to capitalize on its tools as a positive approach to learning. 

Academic uses include personalized learning, intelligent tutoring systems, automated grading and feedback to students, language learning support, accessibility tools, data-driven insights for educators, student citations, academic integrity, chatbots and virtual assistants. 

Education-industry uses include personalized tutoring. 

MUSD educators want to hear from parents about AI, asking these questions: 

  • How do you view the role of AI in education? Should it supplement teaching, provide new experiences, assist in grading, etc.? 
  • What are your expectations for students’ use of AI in the classroom? 
  • What are your concerns about using AI in the classroom?