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AI Education is a Path Forward for...

AI Education is a Path Forward for Mississippi

By: Chris Johnson - February 13, 2024

  • State Senator Chris Johnson says AI has the power to drive success in our education system if used appropriately.

AI is here, and it appears to be here to stay. 

That can be a scary prospect – but it doesn’t have to be. AI is a fantastic tool that, if used effectively and responsibly, can allow future generations of Mississippians to tap into their greatest potential.

Much of the conversation around AI centers on how it can drive innovation and economic growth. But AI also has the power to drive success in our education system if used appropriately. We must take advantage of this opportunity to re-think our relationship to digital tools within our educational framework and encourage creativity – and responsibility – in our students.

Although there are concerns about potential misuse of this burgeoning technology, overlooking it as a valuable tool would be a critical mistake. Using AI certainly isn’t without its challenges. But Mississippians are not ones to shy away from a challenge, and I am confident that we can offer guidance and install appropriate parameters that allow our students to explore infinite educational possibilities safely.

That’s why I’m proud to have introduced SB 2062 in this legislative session, proposing the creation of an AI Educational Task Force to explore ways to use this tool in K-12 and higher education. With a goal of developing policy recommendations for the responsible, effective use of AI in education, this task force would work diligently to establish parameters for use across the state’s education system. This would empower us to explore AI’s potential while remaining conscientious of its potential harms and working to keep our students safe.

One potential parameter is restricting use of AI to “walled garden” AI systems, which source information from specific, pre-approved sources like textbooks rather than pulling data from the wider internet. This allows students to practice using the tool in responsible ways. Another is to ensure educators feel comfortable and confident using the technology themselves. AI literacy will be key to ensuring educators are well-versed in its capabilities and challenges and can effectively guide students through its use.

Many educators recognize the potential for technology-enhanced methods to improve both teaching and learning. One of these opportunities is to offer personalized, adaptive digital learning tools that can benefit students. Personalized learning can help open doors for students and foster their future success. AI can also automate tasks such as grading, enabling educators to focus on tasks like planning lessons and providing individualized student support.

These are just a few examples of ways in which AI can revolutionize education and better equip students to succeed in our increasingly digital world. With the help of an AI Educational Task Force, Mississippi lawmakers can ensure that we can maximize its benefits while minimizing its challenges.

The education landscape is consistently evolving, and Mississippi must evolve with it. Our students continue to struggle with pandemic-related learning loss, and we must do everything we can to provide them with every available tool. 

We have an opportunity to reshape the educational landscape here in the Magnolia State through transformative policy and out-of-the-box thinking. In doing so, Mississippi can set the standard for the rest of the country as we adopt this transformational technology responsibly. 

About the Author(s)
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Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson is a State Senator representing Senate District 45 in Mississippi since 2020. The Republican currently serves as the Chairman of the Senate Government Structure Committee and Vice Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.