Dr. Eboni Camille Chillis

Guilford County Schools, Greensboro, North Carolina

School Role:

Executive Director for Career & Technical Education

School Social Media:

How did you get interested in including Artificial Intelligence in your classroom? 

I was an active blog writer for the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE): Educators in Action Blog; and about three years ago I wrote about the Human Element in Artificial Intelligence (https://www.acteonline.org/tech-tools/). I posed the thought that, “Technology can’t think for itself to create for itself. Technology is like a new mode of transportation, but it is not an organism that can live and breathe on its own.” This catapulted my own inquiry and interest in AI; and in essence, the importance of acknowledging and minimizing AI bias and unconscious/conscious harm or negative impacts.

In what ways do you incorporate AI into your lessons? 

Ironically, a lifelong learner I just recently completed alongside classroom teachers selected to participate in a groundbreaking K-12 STEM Education with two hundred fifty educators and leaders from around the globe in collaboration between the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and Ford’s Next Generation Learning (General Motors Corporate Giving) to promote artificial intelligence (AI) explorations and their practical use in school environments. We were immersed in a 15-hour online ISTE – AI course that concluded with a comprehensive AI instructional project, a one-year free membership with ISTE, induction into an AI community, an opportunity to present at the ISTE conference, and a certificate of completion.  The opportunity allowed me to engage firsthand to further develop the AI program for the district through two Signature Career Academies: The Academy of Computer Information and Science at Kearns High School and Northeast High School’s pathway tracks in Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security. I believe it is vital for leaders to be in touch with business/industry trends knowing CTE is the bridge between education and industry.

Why do you think AI education is important?  

AI is all around us. AI makes intelligence multifaceted and fun to explore, innovate, execute, and embody in our everyday lives.

Where have you received professional development for AI or CS?

Google AI makes knowledge readily accessible and fosters opportunity for full research. In all honesty, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), UC Berkley, edX, and AI TedTalks are my to-go-to’s.

What books or online resources do you recommend? 

Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (2nd Edition), Machine Learning and AI Foundations: Classification Modeling at Lynda.com

Grokking Deep Learning in Motion by Manning

GeekForge, Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence: A Beginners’ Guide to Neural Networks and Deep Learning

What activities have had the most impact for your students? 

Our Superintendent, Dr. Sharon Contreras is a forward-thinking leader and the implementation of two AI pathways has given our students the opportunity to visualize what they can do and who they can become in an ever-changing, high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand career field.

What challenges do you face in implementing AI? 

Recruiting industry experts to enter the field of education and retention; and attaining and sustaining funding to integrate the necessary equipment, software, and experiences to ensure students are competitive and have choices for careers and not just graduation.

How does your administration support your efforts? 

Our Superintendent, Board of Education, and partners support our efforts and truly work as a triad.

Where do you network and find support with other teachers? 

I believe, it is important to join professional organizations, serve on boards, and be active in areas that are of passion but also push you out of your comfort zones to stay abreast of business/industry, educational, and legislative changes

How do you tackle ethical issues of AI in your classroom? 

One of our commitments in all CTE programming is to ensure that ethical issues are addressed, and ethical behaviors are demonstrated beginning with our nondiscrimination clause for CTE. In knowing that we all bring to the table unknow/know biases, the work by first beginning with us, working through our own egocentric and lived experiences to be fair-minded with our approaches to learning and teaching.

Do you have any local connections to AI companies or individuals that have supported you in getting technology or sharing knowledge or resources? 

Charlotte Dungan, AI Program Architect from North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics has been a great AI advocate, resource planner, and change-agent. RobotLAB has been a great instructional resources and learning by design lab/classroom innovator, and The Flying Classroom https://flyingclassroom.com/ is an amazing STEM+ resource.

Do you include AI in non-CS courses; if so, how? 

We have integrated coding k-12 in our district which is a component of AI competencies. I wrote the STEM plan for the prior district I worked on noting, “Our youngest students have the gift for exploration and experimentation already. When those natural impulses are matched with fundamental science concepts and instruction in inquiry methods such as controls, communication, and record keeping, students gain a solid foundation in science that can help them move ahead and excel in STEM fields. There are practical ways to integrate a STEMulating culture for our Early Learners – consider establishing a campaign that begins in K-2 called early STEM Innovators (Chillis, 2016). Learning a programming language will also teach students how to learn in a methodical, self-structured way (Academy Cube, 2017). Students become persistent because they know there is always a solution. This is a learning-skill, career-skill and life-skill.”