Use of AI in the classroom is growing in Coshocton County region – Coshocton Tribune

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  • Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is becoming more prevalent in school districts across the region. Some common programs are ChatGPT, Magic School, Canva, Bing AI and Dall-E.
  • Teachers are using AI to create rubrics, assessments and scaling reading assignments for students. Students aren’t using it themselves much yet in local school districts.
  • Instructors and principals see the use of AI growing in the coming years. A big challenge will be teaching students the proper ways to use AI and what constitutes plagiarism.
  • As an example of AI use, Samantha Rotruck of Coshocton Elementary School used descriptions from a book to create images of characters to see if it matched what students were imagining.

COSHOCTON − The use of artificial intelligence, or AI, in public schools is growing across the region and in Coshocton County.

According to a 2023 Time magazine article, AI has surpassed humans in a number of tasks and the rate at which humans are being surpassed at new tasks is increasing. It has a myriad of possible uses, including assisting with medical diagnosis, solving crimes and identifying national security threats.

School districts in Coshocton County are still very early in adapting AI related curriculum in classrooms as students and teachers become more versed on it. Some teachers are using AI assistance for creating lesson plans and student evaluation now. County districts do have an eye on expanding AI education and its use in classrooms going forward, even as early as next school year.

Intervention specialist Samantha Rotruck explains to a sixth grade Coshocton Elementary English class the article they're going to read and then write an essay from. The goal is to compare sled dogs to snow mobiles as part of a unit on the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. The article was scaled for different reading levels by using AI.

Coshocton City Schools

Samantha Rotruck, a seven-year intervention specialist at Coshocton Elementary School, has been using AI since the beginning of the school year to create assessments, essay questions, units, supplemental content and more along with co-teacher Mallory Wine. This has included ChatGTP, Magic School AI, Canva and other programs.

“Some of them already kind of had a concept of it, but we did have to do some explaining with it. It’s new to us as well as new to them,” Rotruck said on introducing AI to students. “The possibilities are endless.”

Recently, sixth grade students have been studying the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. Rotruck took an article about the race and used Magic School AI to scale it for individual reading levels. The content was the same, but AI was used to make some words and phrasing simpler to comprehend. After reading the article, the students wrote an argumentative essay based on a graphic organizer created by online graphic design app Canva.

Last quarter, students read “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” and descriptions in the book were put into Bing AI to create images of what characters would look like. Youth were then asked if the images matched what they pictured in their head. Rotruck said four of five characters were pretty close to what students were imagining.

“There’s a benefit in creating and supplementing content,” Rotruck said. “It’s been a very valuable tool.”

Culinary Arts Instructor Mike Cichon at the Coshocton County Career Center explains how he uses ChatGPT to create tests, recipe alterations and more for his students. He's even helping other teachers to learn the ropes of using AI for curriculum creation.

Coshocton County Career Center

Some instructors at the Coshocton County Career Center are personally using AI, but not much with students yet. Science teacher Trevor Garretson said he uses AI programs for help with planning, instructing and evaluating.

Culinary Arts instructor Mike Cichon uses text creator ChatGPT and image creator Dall-E. He’s used it to create everything from quizzes on deep fryer safety to writing culinary related haikus to examining recipes for healthier options and even evaluating his own personal fantasy football team. Cichon has also been helping other teachers at the vocational school to learn the AI ropes in creating tests and supportive materials. Cichon said he can create two or three day projects in a matter of minutes.

“Everything is blended in here. We don’t have to run through a library to get this information, but it’s only as good as the people who are using it,” Cichon said. “This has information for everything. My specialty is just culinary, I don’t really know nutrition or dietary concerns, but this does.”

River View Schools

River View High School Principal Joshua Branch said they don’t have anything pertaining to AI as of now. However, they are working on some different programs for next school year. This includes classes on drones that would give students an opportunity to take a test for drone certification at the end of the course and more digital media offerings for students.

“We want to work to teach our kids how to use it as a tool for their education,” he said.  

Principal Jarred Renner of River View Intermediate School said they use ChatGPT to draft communications and Canva to make designs for communications and for T-shirts that might be sold for a fundraiser. In the future, he’d like to see teachers use it more for creating assessments and essay grading. Programs can detect if a students quoted too much from a certain text or if they used AI to write an assignment.

“AI is useful for eliminating time consuming tasks. By typing one detailed prompt, I can do about 30 minutes of work drafting a letter in less than 30 seconds. This gives us the gift of time that is so valuable in education and other vocations,” Renner said. “AI can take your written communications to the next level by setting the reading level, designing it for a specific audience or formatting in a specific way to fit the communication medium.” 

Intervention specialist Samantha Rotruck at Coshocton Elementary School works with a small group of sixth grade students reading an article about sled dogs versus snow mobiles related to a unit on the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. She used AI to scale the article to different reading levels and the students were grouped based on those reading levels.

Ridgewood Schools

Ridgewood Local Schools recently had a professional development workshop for staff on AI, focused on creating strong instructional and intervention strategies and assessments for students. Superintendent Mike Masloski said they want to make sure teachers are prepared before opening up AI elements to students. He hopes a class could be added to curriculum choices in the future.

“I had a couple teachers come to me and say they want to get the kids on (AI). I want to slow that down a little bit,” Masloski said. “But, I think that time will come. Once we get more comfortable with teachers using it, then we’ll slowly teach the students how to use it appropriately.”

Newcomerstown Schools

Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District hasn’t started using it in the classroom yet, according to Superintendent Jason Peoples. He said the district has launched the Committee for AI Resources in Education (CARES) to bring together teachers, administrators and community members to carefully assess and approve AI tools for safe and effective use in classrooms and by students.

Leonard Hayhurst is a community content coordinator and general news reporter for the Coshocton Tribune with more than 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press. He can be reached at 740-295-3417 or [email protected]. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @llhayhurst.

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