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Cleveland schools artificial intelligence

CLEVELAND (WJW) – Artificial intelligence called Amira will be piloted in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District this spring.

It comes amid heated debate and even bans in districts including New York City public schools about when and how some AI tools should be used.

“One that I’m super excited about is called Amira,” said CMSD CEO Eric Gordon during a live stream.

“Carnegie Mellon has actually developed this avatar that listens to children reading…actually helps readers, corrects real time just as a live tutor would do. So, we’re really excited to be piloting that in four schools this spring.”

Some educators are expressing caution, including the Ohio Education Association, which represents more than 122,000 school workers.

“There are concerns because it’s pretty obvious ways that this technology could be used by students as a way of making shortcuts or even outright cheating in terms of some of their work and that obviously causes concerns,” said OEA President, Scott DiMauro.

“But what I hear more often is, I think, a sense of intrigue about the possibility of using technology in new ways to support student learning.”

Cleveland Teachers Union President Shari Obrenski released the following statement:

“The members of the Cleveland Teachers Union know that AI cannot take the place of teachers and other classroom professionals but recognize that we must figure out how to use AI tools in a constructive and educationally sound manner to best prepare our students for current and future success.”

The issue of how and when to use emerging technology is especially sensitive for urban school districts. Gordon said they can’t afford to fall behind.

“Urban school districts in particular are often the last to the table and we just can’t afford to be, we have to figure out how to help our kids can use these tools smartly when everyone else is figuring it out too,” said Gordon.

The Council of the Great City Schools represents 78 of the largest school districts in the country, including Cleveland and is advising the district on how to explore AI technology. Raymond Hart the organization’s executive director said CMSD is being thoughtful with the technology.

“We are working with our member districts to really get them to explore how I can help support the academic learning environment so that we embrace AI,” said Hart. “As opposed to viewing AI as a tool that should be ostracized from education or a tool that we need to keep from our kids.”

According to Gordon, a small cohort of teachers will use AI to help develop lesson plans.

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