- The University of Florida is collaborating with Florida public school officials to implement its AI Foundations program across 12 school districts statewide.
- The program offers a three-year curriculum introducing students to AI concepts, ethics, applications, and building practical AI systems through four progressively complex courses.
- Florida is first state to provide funding for teacher training in anticipation of an AI curriculum rollout.
The University of Florida (UF) on Tuesday announced that it entered into a collaboration with Florida public school officials to bring its AI Foundations program to 12 school districts statewide.
At its core, the material introduces students to AI concepts and ethics, explores its applications, and eventually teaches them how to build AI systems for practical use or further education. The program, a three-year curriculum, was piloted in three districts last year and will be facilitated through Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.
Comprised of four courses — Artificial Intelligence in the World, Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Procedural Programming, and Foundations of Machine Learning — the complexity of the content is written to increase with each class.
“We’ve been building out this supportive pipeline for AI and data science in the state of Florida with the ultimate goal of infusing AI throughout the state’s public school curriculum, from kindergarten through 12th grade,” said Nancy Ruzycki, who helped construct the curriculum.
Teachers have undergone professional development to effectively teach AI to students, allowing them to become ethical designers of intelligent systems. With support from the state Department of Education and private industry funding, Florida is the first state to provide funding for teacher training in anticipation of an AI curriculum rollout.
The program will expand to Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Seminole, and Volusia counties, having been piloted in Broward, Orange, and Osceola counties. If deemed successful, it could be considered for further expansion.
“Florida is way ahead of the curve in how the state is formalizing its AI education,” Ruzycki said. “AI should be infused throughout the curriculum, but it must be done correctly to prevent spreading misinformation.”