Penn State Lehigh Valley to offer AI course for educators

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For more than 25 years, the Penn State Lehigh Valley Writing Project (LVWP) has been helping local teachers across all disciplines and grades improve the teaching of writing and learning in their schools and communities.

Credit: Penn State Lehigh Valley

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — K-12 educators interested in learning more about artificial intelligence (AI) as it relates to student learning will find a wealth of information — and how to apply it in a classroom setting — in a new course through the Lehigh Valley Writing Project (LVWP) at Penn State Lehigh Valley.  

"AI for Educators" is a 16-hour, asynchronous course designed for instructors who wish to explore the use of artificial intelligence in their classrooms. The course emphasizes artificial intelligence should be used as a supplemental resource, to augment teachers’ instructional goals. Among its many capabilities, AI can be leveraged to reinforce core knowledge, cultivate opportunities for critical thinking, and teach students digital literacy and citizenship. Much of this field’s potential is still untapped. It’s been a fixture in recent news headlines and a hot topic in the LVWP’s Fall Discussion Series. 

The LVWP Discussion Series gathered insight from teachers, which was instrumental in the course development. AI for Educators serves as a guide for educators who want to use AI, but may not know where to find the necessary resources to begin. It is a self-paced course, consisting of five modules: an introduction, how to use AI to streamline administrative processes, how to utilize AI in cross-curricular lesson planning, how to communicate and explore ethical use of AI, and a final module for a participant-created lesson plan. Course completion will provide educators with an index of tools and resources on AI implementation and a connection to a professional, digital literacy-focused community. 

“We believe strongly in digital literacy — both students and teachers need to know it [AI] can be useful if it’s used correctly,” said Jamie Merida, continuing education program coordinator at PSU-LV, who developed the course content. “We want teachers to help them [the students] understand AI’s pros, cons, celebrations, and pitfalls.” 

Nicole Moschberger, LVWP director, said the self-paced element of the course was added with teachers’ busy schedules in mind.

“The self-paced feature is a real benefit,” she said. “Individuals who enroll can actively engage on the discussion board, and we do hope to see lively discussion and constructive peer feedback.”

Most importantly, Moschberger said, the course encourages continued learning: “One tenet of the Lehigh Valley Writing Project is the idea of ‘teachers teaching teachers’. We hope this new community of teacher-learners will apply what they learn about AI in their classrooms, as well as share their experiences with colleagues.”  

The course begins on Feb. 14. Cost is $149; educators who participated in the Fall 2023 Discussion Series are eligible for a discount. To register, visit the course website.