Understanding how artificial intelligence can be applied to middle school science

A new research project from the IU School of Education faculty hopes to enable students and teachers to gain a deeper understanding of artificial intelligence and how it can be applied to science problems. 

The project, “Collaborative Research: Integrating AI Learning into Middle School Science through Natural Language Processing,” is a partnership between School of Education faculty Krista Glazewski, Cindy Hmelo-Silver, Tom Brush and Asmalina Saleh and computer science faculty at University of Florida. The team received a $380,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to complete the project over the next three years.

“We will partner with teachers local to each university toward a comprehensive, problem-based instructional approach to teach middle school students skills and ideas to apply natural language processing technologies to problems in science,” Glazewski, Instructional Systems Technology Department Chair, said.

With the work from the project, the team hopes to prepare all learners to think critically about AI and how AI technologies can be designed and enabled to help solve complex issues while simultaneously considering ethical approaches to mitigate potential harms.

“AI is increasingly pervasive in our daily lives. Not every learner will become an AI scientist, but all of us have a stake in the future of technology,” Glazewski added. “The incorporation of concepts involving ethical issues around AI and the social and societal impact of AI designs into the proposed curriculum will advance knowledge on how to build competencies among K-12 learners that enable them to critically evaluate AI technologies, beyond being receivers and users of such technologies.”