Navigating the AI Landscape: Insights from the GRAETC Symposium

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, attendees from 13 school divisions gathered at the Libbie Mill Public Library for the GRAETC Symposium “Empowering Leaders and Learners: Navigating the AI Landscape.” The symposium delved into the profound intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and instructional leadership, exploring implications and opportunities. While many educational conversations centered around AI commonly focus on concerns and boundaries, the symposium’s goal was to include regional instructional leaders in a solutions-oriented, thoughtful, and proactive conversation.

At the heart of the symposium was a panel discussion featuring Delrose Adkinson, Dr. Matt Caratachea, Dr. Eric Ekholm, and Beth Elgert. As administrators, central office specialists, division administrators, and ITRTs, the panelists offered valuable and multifaceted perspectives. Moderating the conversation was Rod Carnill, the Executive Director of VSTE. Together, they illuminated various facets of AI’s integration into education. They addressed critical topics such as its alignment with Virginia’s Profile of a Graduate, its potential for enhancing teaching and learning, and the importance of continuous professional development in this rapidly evolving landscape. 

The symposium shed light on the crucial need for professional learning to effectively support educators in leveraging AI. Panelists emphasized the significance of ongoing training and development to equip teachers and administrators with the knowledge and skills necessary for innovative AI integration. They emphasized fostering a culture of experimentation and collaboration, where educators feel empowered to explore and implement AI-driven pedagogical practices.

After the rich panel discussion, participants were invited to discuss the next steps with one another and then share them with the whole group. Many division representatives expressed interest in forming division-specific AI work groups. 

As we navigate the evolving landscape of AI in education, events like the GRAETC Symposium provide invaluable opportunities for collaboration, reflection, and growth. By embracing AI as a tool for empowerment and innovation, educators can pave the way for a future where every learner can thrive in an AI-enhanced educational ecosystem.

Authorship Information

ChatGPT authored the skeleton of this blog post. Three GRAETC committee members refined and expanded the ChatGPT content – an important step when leveraging AI in education.

Stephanie Kliebenstein is an Instructional Technology Integration Specialist for Colonial Heights Public Schools. This is her 16th year in education. Before her role as an ITIS, she was a Math Interventionist and a fourth-grade teacher.

Kelsey Pacer is the Virtual Professional Learning Support Specialist for Chesterfield County Public Schools. This is her 12th year in education. Before her current role, she was an Instructional Designer/Instructional Technology Integrator and a third and fourth-grade teacher. 

Betty Spiers is the Director of Innovation and Development for Dinwiddie County Public Schools. This is her 36th year in education. Before her current role, she was an Instructional Specialist, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, and a first-grade teacher.

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