Educator Spotlight Lisa Macomber Pauer

Brevard Elementary School/Transylvania County Schools

School Role:

K-5 AIG Specialist for my building

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

Simply put, I was in the right place at the right time! Charlotte Dungan was leading a virtual class from Durham when I happened to be in the Brevard High School library where local students were meeting with her. She noted my presence on the screen and graciously spoke with me about what the students were learning. This led to an invite to attend an AI camp the following summer on the NCSSM campus, one that was geared towards the age child that I typically work with. I was hooked!

Why do you think AI education is important?

Early AI education is important for students, especially in fellow rural areas, as these young people will be immersed in AI all their lives. They need to understand what AI is and is not, what it can and can not do. Elementary students tend to think of AI as “magic”…mildly cute on a surface level but not helpful to them or society in the long run. To expect students to go from absolutely no computer coding background to a STEM career is also unrealistic. From a civics perspective, students need to be schooled early on regarding the ethics of AI – how to use AI for good and who to realize biases that are very possible.

Where have you received professional development for AI or CS?

North Carolina School of Science and Math, CS First

What books or online resources do you recommend?

CS First

What activities have had the most impact for your students?

Turing Tumble, Cozmo robot

What challenges do you face in implementing AI?

Covid related

How does your administration support your efforts?

Complete support/positive feedback for most things that I want to try with my students , sign off on grant requests

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

Pose questions and request 3 minutes of no talking, written response, then I act “clueless” on purpose

Please share a great lesson plan that other teachers may use for their students

Charlotte, hate to do this to you, but the lesson that I’ve loved the most is the one that you did related to mapping the “best” path from the classroom to the front of NCSSM: fastest way, shadiest path, path most appropriate for handicap accessibility, etc.