Curriculum  |    |  June 23, 2019

K-12 Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence: What Students Should Know

Curriculum by David S. Touretzky, Christina Gardner-McCune, Fred Martin, and Deborah Seehorn.
Presented at the 2019 International Society for Technology in Education conference.

We’ll present national guidelines on AI education for K-12 developed by a working group co-sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Computer Science Teachers Association. You’ll learn about five “big ideas” adapted for each grade band and a curated resource directory.


Big Idea #5 – Examples of Societal Impact of AI

AI can impact society in both positive and negative ways. AI technologies are changing the ways we work, travel, communicate, and care for each other. But we must be mindful of the harms that can potentially occur. For example, biases in the data used to train an AI system could lead to some people being less well served than others. Thus, it is important to discuss the impacts that AI is having on our society and develop criteria for the ethical design and deployment of AI-based systems.

Ethics: what sorts of applications are desirable/permissible?

  • Transparency and accountability of AI systems
  • Competing definitions of “fairness”
  • Values tradeoffs, e.g., privacy vs. security; who should own your data?

Effects: what are the likely impacts of AI technology on society?

  • Robot servants, rescuers, and companions
  • Economic disruption; changes in the nature of work
  • Effects of unintended biases

Big Idea #5 – Major Concepts around Societal Impact

  • AI technologies are changing business, healthcare, education, and government
  • Use of AI is an economic driver that makes new services possible and businesses more efficient
  • Humans make numerous technical and ethical decisions when developing AI applications
  • AI technologies impact communities and people in different ways
  • Ethical standards are needed for AI systems that make decisions about people
  • AI and robotics will change the way people work, create new jobs, and eliminate some jobs

Big Idea #5 – What should students be able to do?

Grades K-2:

  • Identify common AI applications encountered in their daily lives
  • Discuss whether common uses of AI technology are a good or bad thing

Grades 3-5:

  • Explore how behavior is influenced by bias and how it affects decision making
  • Describe ways that AI systems can be designed for inclusivity

Grades 6-8:

  • Explain potential sources of bias in AI decision making
  • Understand tradeoffs in the design of AI systems and how decisions can have unintended consequences in the function of a system

Grades 9-12:

  • Critically explore the positive and negative impacts of an AI system
  • Design an AI system to address social issues (or explain how AI could be used to address a social issue)