Prince George’s Co. Schools to use AI, ‘next emerging technology’ in classrooms

Can artificial intelligence be used to boost natural knowledge?

That’s what the new Prince George’s County Public Schools superintendent is pushing this upcoming school year.

Millard House II told Good Morning America Saturday morning that the school district is embracing what he believes is the next emerging technology.

The superintendent said the school district recently announced a three-year partnership with aiEDU, a nonprofit that aims to create equitable experiences with artificial intelligence.

House said the program is fully funded by a three-year, $1 million grant from the Pull Up Fund.

“This can actually be a game changer for some of the most marginalized students out there,” aiEDU CEO Alex Kotran told the show.

Like a lot of new technology that is introduced into schools, advancement comes with both improvements and challenges — the latter of which Kotran’s organization says it is working to address. “[AI] can improve accessibility, but there are really serious safety risks around use and equity risks.”

House said the county is working to train teachers within the school district on how to bring AI into the classroom. The superintendent said the partnership with aiEDU aims to ensure that all students, teachers, staff and school leaders are equipped to thrive in the age of artificial intelligence.

In anticipation of the new school year, the district hosted an extensive training event to begin bringing teachers up to speed. House said more than 150 teachers in the school district attended.

“This allows them to create a community of practice for our teachers and really incubate AI lessons and teaching practices to build long term capacity in our district,” House said.

House took over as PGCPS superintendent on July 1. In a news conference in June, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks lauded House’s work leading the Houston Independent School System for two years, before he departed for Maryland.

“During his time with Houston’s school system, out of a list of 50 schools that were rated D or F, his leadership pushed 40 of them to the level of A, B or C,” Alsobrooks said at the time.

Shortly after stepping into his newest role, House emphasized a need to address truancy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — not just by punishment for absences, he said, but by providing social and emotional support for students.

He also leaned on improved technology to increase safety measures — which he admitted may be controversial — including metal detectors at all county high schools and mandatory clear backpacks for middle- and high-schoolers.

The superintendent’s most recent tech implementation of AI falls in line with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s administration. In June, the governor signed an executive order, establishing an economic council focused on policies that boost the state’s economy.

The council’s strategies will aim to “drive new investments in AI technology,” create clean energy jobs and enhance the cybersecurity workforce, among other goals.

Prince George’s County schools officially foray into the AI frontier begins when schools open Aug. 28.

David Andrews

No stranger to local news, David Andrews has contributed to DCist, Greater Greater Washington and was fellow at Washingtonian Magazine. He worked as a photo/videographer for University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

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