You Can’t Spell “IDLA” Without “AI”

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November 28, 2023

As Idaho’s state virtual school, IDLA is committed to driving innovation in education through technology. How do we do this? First, we challenge ourselves to keep up to speed on technology innovation that is changing the teaching and learning experience. We learn, we teach each other, and we look at everything from the lens of what is safe and right for kids.

How do we, then, determine what is right for kids? Good question! What is “right” carries a different definition for each person. At IDLA, one way we determine what is right comes from our strategic plan:

Goal 4.4 Emphasize the importance of relationships in IDLA course offerings. 

Our strategic plan drives everything that we do. It is reviewed and approved annually by our Board of Directors. It is our North Star, setting our course each year.

Where Goal 4.4 comes into play with technology is that it reminds us of what makes the most significant impact on student learning: teachers. Google what makes an impact on students… Go ahead, I’ll wait… It doesn’t take too long to discover that it’s not curriculum, standards, facilities, or technology. All of those things are important, but what makes the most significant impact is relationships with caring adults.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is disrupting every industry, including education. We now have access to tools that can do everything from writing an essay to creating a work of art. AI tools will be part of the lives of our students for the rest of their lives, so simply preventing them from using them is not the right solution.

What also is not the right solution is incorporating technology that reduces the relationship factor in learning. IDLA Goal 4.4 and the Googling you did (you did it, right?) emphasize the importance of relationships in learning. As we move forward, we will continue to identify what the right place is for AI at IDLA, and we’ll coach the field on what makes sense for education. What we won’t do is promote tools that replace the relationship between student and teacher. 

You can’t spell IDLA without AI, and you also can’t teach kids without teachers. Technology has advanced far beyond what we imagined. But technology will never replace the magic that happens when a student connects with a caring teacher.

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