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Senior Science Students Learn About AI through Global Online Academy

This fall students in Current Topics and Research in Science and Technology (Honors - Grade 12) joined international students to enroll in an online course through BB&N’s membership with Global Online Academy (GOA). Students participated in GOA’s course Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Upper School Science Department faculty and GOA instructor, Leah Cataldo, chose the GOA Flex Course because “it allowed my students to share perspectives with students from other schools and to see how their shared experiences with AI and Machine Learning can be viewed from a different angle given what each student brings to the discussion.”

Students could select which topics to explore related to four areas:

· AI and the Future of Work

· Entertainment

· The Math of AI and Algorithms

· AI in Democracy and Society

The Global Online Academy course exposes students to an alternative approach to learning because it allows them more agency and choice in the topics they explore. In his reflection, 12th grader Will shared that he found the structure of the course engaging. “I liked the curated ‘Explore’ content. There was enough that I felt the freedom to pursue whatever topics interested me particularly.”

Cataldo also believes that the GOA course will prepare her students well for collaboration this winter with the Latymer School located in London, which Cataldo is undertaking as part of BB&N’s Round Square affiliation. CTR student William agrees and adds that the GOA course heightened his awareness of ethical questions that AI raises. “A takeaway for me is considering more of the ethical issues behind AI. In class we talked about the trolley dilemma with self-driving cars. I knew this dilemma existed, but talking more about it made me think about ethical issues as a whole that AI will inevitably bring in...this made me think of how our own implicit biases can bleed into AI and produce unethical results. I am curious about what we can do to prevent this in the future.”

Cataldo participated in this course with her CTR students last year as well. She reports: “Each year the students engaged in the discussions in an un-siloed fashion, connecting ideas between their AP Government and Politics classes with their Math classes and the readings from CTR and GOA, which is also an essential skill for students to practice and further develop.” Kelsey, a student, found the online course to be a valuable way to connect with students globally. “The GOA made the world seem smaller because I feel like I share similar ideas and opinions with students from around the country and world.”