New resource for teachers to help students get AI savvy

New resource for teachers to help students get AI savvy

Educators will now be better equipped to teach students about Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the Australian Curriculum, thanks to a new online resource.

The release of the new ‘Curriculum Connection – Artificial Intelligence’ resource by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) comes three months after the launch of the Australian Framework for Generative AI in Schools, aimed at helping schools safely navigate rapid changes in AI.

ACARA’s resource – developed in partnership with academic and teaching specialists in the AI field – covers the learning areas of Mathematics and Technologies, the general capabilities of Digital Literacy, Ethical Understanding, Critical and Creative Thinking, Numeracy and Literacy and the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability.

“Artificial intelligence is already an indispensable part of our lives and embedded into the digital tools people use every day,” ACARA’s Acting CEO Stephen Gniel said.

“AI technologies have the potential to improve teaching and learning opportunities for students and provide enormous benefits for education, but we also need to educate children in how to stay safe as they use these technologies.”

The resource allows teachers and educators to develop age-appropriate learning programs based on the Australian Curriculum, Version 9.0, across a range of subjects and progression of learning from Foundation right through to Year 10.

The Curriculum Connection - Artificial Intelligence aims to equip young Australians with recognising the importance of understanding how AI technologies work; understanding the different types of AI (digital tools and AI systems) and their purpose, design and uses; understanding about the responsible use and application of AI; and critically evaluating the broader impact of AI on society and reflecting on the ethical complexities of using AI.

In addition, the new Curriculum Connection also links educators to a range of resources that have been developed to support teaching students about the concepts, skills and general capabilities necessary to understand and effectively use applications of AI or design future AI systems.

Empowering young people in the digital age

Donna Buckley, Mathematics and Cybersecurity teacher at John Curtin College of the Arts in Western Australia and the recipient of the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools, was one of the key AI experts involved in developing this resource.

“I love this new Curriculum Connections resource on AI because it takes a holistic look at wellbeing and empowers young people to be prepared for healthy lives in the digital age,” Buckley said.

“As a mathematics teacher, I look for real-world applications and the Curriculum Connections Mapping documents made it easy for me to connect the Mathematics Curriculum to the mathematics that underpins AI technologies.”

‘A timely, accessible, and evidence-informed resource’

Another expert involved in the resource’s development was Erica Southgate, Associate Professor of Emerging Technology for Education, University of Newcastle.

“The new Curriculum Connection on artificial intelligence offers teachers a timely, accessible, and evidence-informed resource to build their practical knowledge of AI in the classroom,” Southgate said.

“It is a great first step in supporting teachers to empower their students to successfully navigate an AI world.”

AI consultant, author, and former teacher Leon Furze, who is currently studying his PhD in the implications of Generative AI on writing instruction and education, also welcomed the new resource.

“The Curriculum Connection: artificial intelligence provides clear definitions for educators and links to existing curricula from F-10, supporting teachers in Mathematics and Digital Technologies, and all teachers through the General Capabilities,” Furze said.

“It brings together excellent resources for educators, students, and parents, and is aligned to the Australian Framework for Generative AI in Schools.”