Teachers and students in Liberty Hill ISD have been exploring new ways to learn through the use of artificial intelligence, or AI, this school year.

District teachers and staff said AI has enhanced students’ learning experience and prepared them for future careers as AI becomes increasingly prevalent in many industries.

“We are trying to prepare students for jobs that don't even exist,” LHISD instructional coach Jennifer Norris said. “We don't want students to be thinking for today. We want students to be thinking for the future.”

A closer look

This school year, LHISD launched a pilot program amongst a handful of teachers who have begun using AI in their classrooms, Chief of Schools Travis Motal said. Amy Rosser, an English teacher at Liberty Hill High School, has implemented AI programs to assist students in revising their essays and generating creative images, she said.

In one assignment, students were tasked with creatively rewriting the ending of "Romeo and Juliet" and producing an AI-generated image to accompany it. Students had to input their instructions into the image generator multiple times before seeing the desired results, which taught students the importance of using detailed, intentional language, Rosser said.

Norris has helped many teachers learn how to adopt AI into their instruction, she said. Some classrooms have used ChatGPT to generate poems in the voices of various historical figures and compare differences in the passages’ tone, Norris said.

Many Spanish teachers have taken up AI as a conversational partner for students to practice speaking Spanish with, Norris said. In social studies, students have used AI to generate images related to historical events and analyze the accuracy of the images and whether they include a bias, she said.

Khanmigo, an AI program by Khan Academy, walks students through the steps to complete math problems without solving it for them, Rosser said.

Also of note

Although some teachers have initially been hesitant to adopt AI, many programs have helped teachers work more efficiently, Rosser and Norris said. Rosser now uses AI platforms to produce rubrics and materials for students, and print out translated notes for her English-as-a-second-language students.

Teachers have used programs like Magic School AI to create different types of questions and ways to present information to their students, Norris said.

“You can provide the student with the information that they still need, but in a way that's going to make it easier for them to access it,” Norris said.

The takeaway

Instead of discouraging students from using popular AI platforms, such as ChatGPT, LHISD has chosen to embrace the new technology to ensure students are ready for the future ahead of them, Motal said.

“We know it’s not going away, so how can I help teachers see what is available out there to be used as a tool, so we're not trying to catch up with the students, but we're right there alongside them leading the way,” Norris said.

Before introducing AI programs to her students, Rosser said she taught a unit on how to use AI with academic integrity. From encyclopedias to the internet, teachers have long taught students how to responsibly synthesize information from new resources, and AI is next in line, she said.

“I started to implement and teach them strategies of how to use [AI] as a resource and a tool, not a replacement for their thinking,” Rosser said.

Rosser is continuing to explore new AI tools, including a platform that can transform pictures of notes into digital flashcards, she said.

“I was thinking of all of our hours that we spent writing 3-by-5 cards,” Rosser said. “That AI is going to help [students] be more efficient, and they'll be more likely to study.”

What’s next

At the end of this school year, the district plans to collect feedback from teachers using AI through the pilot program and may implement AI in some of its curriculum in future school years, Motal said.