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OBT: AI Literacy Summit
The NJ AI Literacy Summit
I posted about this in September (https://education.apple.com/story/250012642), and it’s absolutely awesome to see how this has grown in the months since.
As a quick recap:
- In July and August of 2023, I had the pleasure of joining the Apple EDU Team for NJ in two Webex webinars as a featured speaker on the impacts of AI on education. We discussed emerging AI technologies, their integrations into Apple tech, and their implications for teaching and learning (i.e. the growing importance of process over product, of authentic assessment, and of CBL).
- Throughout the rest of summer 2023, I had the pleasure of facilitating AI Literacy PD for nearly 100 of our faculty members during summer PD days, largely focused on the uses, misuses, and risks associated with AI. Some of the most fun, practical, and memorable portions were, of course, the most practical -- like using Shortcuts to connect Siri to ChatGPT, and using AI generated media (like synthetic voices, images, and video) in the Apple creative suite (like iMovie and GarageBand).
- In September of 2023, the BIG idea emerged: organizing a statewide conference on artificial intelligence in education – The NJ AI Literacy Summit.
I’m absolutely delighted to share that since that initial post, the event GREW into something incredible… and on December 11, 2023, it was a resounding success!
Here are some of the highlights:
- We hosted the event in one of our high school buildings, and opened registration to ALL educators in the NJ region.
- By hosting the event in our facilities, we were able to keep registration FREE.
- We welcomed approximately 500 educators from over 100 different districts across the state.
- We were joined by a few incredible featured speakers who delivered keynotes on the main stage: Shiren Vijiasingam (Instructure’s Chief Product Officer), Shouvik Paul (Copyleaks’ Chief Operating Officer), and Amanda Bickerstaff (Founder of AI for Education).
- We were able to offer OVER 30 CONCURRENT SESSIONS AT A TIME, THREE TIMES throughout the day! These sessions were facilitated by educators and emerging ed tech companies that are already using AI in innovative ways.
- Shout out to 2023 ADE (best class ever) Mike Clear who offered a great session on AI generated imagery), and to members of the Apple EDU Team for NJ for participating in the day!
As I reflect on the process of organizing this event, my most significant takeaway is that great people are always the secret ingredient. There is no way that the NJ AI Literacy Summit could have materialized without the simultaneous and significant efforts of so many individuals:
- An awesome administrative team and supportive board of education that saw significant value in the day, and contributed to its development in major ways... including the decision to make Monday, December 11th an asynchronous remote learning day for students -- freeing up teachers' schedules so they could participate, and freeing up the facilities so that we could host the event in one of our high school buildings.
- Passionate colleagues who are willing to brainstorm, go the extra mile, and turn good ideas into great ones. (Our Local Professional Development Committees are remarkable forces for good throughout the district.)
- Tech Mentors, Instructional Coaches, and innovative faculty members who are willing to explore to new ideas AND to lead the way. (A significant portion of the concurrent sessions that were on the schedule were facilitated by educators from our district.)
- The awe inspiring leadership and enthusiasm from SO many educators across the ENTIRE STATE, who volunteered to present their ideas at the summit. (This was truly the lifeblood of the entire event.)
- Thought-partners and relationships forged across other related interest groups and professional organizations. (I was able to borrow the expertise and experiences of colleagues throughout the state, which invariably contributed to the day running as smoothly as it did.)
If you are reading this and considering putting a similar event together, regardless of its size, the most nugget of advice I can share is to lean into your relationships with great people. (A little ironic, that the biggest takeaway from organizing a conference on AI is the importance of relationships and human connections... but that's the truth.)
If you've made it this far, I'd like to offer you TWO challenges. (Pick one, the other, or both!)
(#1.) In the spirit of AI literacy, leave a comment describing how you've incorporated AI into your classroom and/or your professional practice. This could be a new lesson, an innovative project, a novel integration of emerging AI tools with Apple tech, or anything else!
(#2.) In the spirit of forging meaningful connections with remarkable people, peruse the posts below and reply to at least ONE person that inspired you.
I can't wait to see what we come up with!
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