Diving into AI with AutoAuto!

In Collaboration with AutoAuto AI

As a language and STEAM educator, I am always looking for new ideas for my classroom. Especially when it comes to exploring emerging technologies, I enjoy diving into new resources and seeing how students respond.

A big area of focus in my eighth-grade STEAM course is artificial intelligence. For any educator thinking about getting started with artificial intelligence in the classroom, but worried about knowing enough or which resources to try, I definitely recommend checking out what is available through AutoAuto AI and their self-driving cars. If you are hesitant to bring STEM to your classroom, AutoAuto AI makes it easy to get started with their teacher on-board training and easy-to-navigate learning platform. Also, their free professional development courses are available where teachers can take a deeper dive and earn an AutoAuto Certificate of Completion.

Why learn about AI?

Many people wonder about the benefits of learning about AI and why bring it into our classrooms? The quick response: We are interacting with AI every day and our students need to understand what it is, how it works, the impact that it has on our lives, and what it might mean for the future of work and education. With resources like AutoAuto, we are able to provide the right learning opportunities that will spark student curiosity and help them to build skills in these emerging technologies. It also helps educators to feel more comfortable starting with AI and being able to support students along the way. We take them from consumers to creators and innovators. With the use of AutoAuto, students develop programming skills and educators can also meet the ISTE Student Standards.

Getting started

What I think is quite important, is engaging our students in conversations about what AI is and where we see it in the world. What are the benefits and concerns when it comes to AI? For anyone looking for an all-in-one space to get started right away with AI and to have access to videos, rich content, guides and more, AutoAuto AI is a great choice! The lessons include an Intro to Programming and AI, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, and more. Students can build skills in many areas and master Python programming.

What makes AutoAuto AI so beneficial, is that teachers are able to enroll students in their classroom and let them get started at their own pace. Being able to see each student’s progress and provide personalized feedback to them through the comments available or typing your own, makes a big difference for student learning. The teacher dashboard is great for seeing how students are working through each of the units. Being in class with students to hear their responses to receiving points and working through challenges was great to experience.

Students working through each unit.

The auto-grading feature is definitely a timesaver and for manually graded lessons the availability of an answer key to review student submissions makes it easy to provide authentic and timely feedback! With some courses moving towards a 100% alignment to CSTA, and other common CS standards, AutoAuto is a great choice for 3rd-12th grades.

AutoAuto’s virtual car and worlds are quick to captivate students’ interest with its fun city where there are places to visit such as a pizza shop and a car wash. In the virtual city, students can go on different challenges such as the spy mission and the color hunting challenge. Using the physical and virtual AutoAuto cars, students are able to see the real ways that code can save lives, like in the pedestrian detection and avoidance project. Students really enjoy these real-world experiences!

All students can code!

Because the platform has video lessons, slides, and text to assist, students are guided throughout each unit. With a video overview, exercise hints, and instant feedback on their submissions, students can work independently and use these resources as a model. Even though some students were hesitant at first, saying that they “wouldn’t be able to figure out the code,” they quickly realized that they had the support they needed within the platform and from each other. When students were working on the more advanced projects, as I moved around the classroom, students were asking each other “How did you figure out the code?” or “Can you help me with this?” which was a change from them relying on me for answers. There was definitely excitement when students completed a task and were awarded points. Throughout the class I could hear some cheers for “Nice, 25 points!” and “ Yes, I got it right this time!”

Students really enjoyed having the opportunity to work through each of the courses and learn about the coding behind the virtual cars. For my students, they were able to choose where to begin based on their interests and this made them quite happy. As soon as I showed students the dashboard and the units, a few said “I’m starting with computer vision because that looks awesome!”

The power of choice is great for students and providing ways for them to develop problem-solving and critical thinking ways while sparking curiosity makes a difference for engagement levels. Even though at times, students get stuck with writing code, they are starting to help each other and are learning together!

Preparing for the future

To best prepare students, we need to help them develop a variety of skills that enable them to be flexible with changes that will happen in the world of work. With emerging technologies like AI, students need opportunities to work through some challenges and develop SEL skills such as self-awareness, self-management, and relationship-building. Students supported one another as they worked through the different modules, which can be challenging at times. It is great to see students developing their confidence when it comes to coding and also taking more of a lead in class.

When we provide students with experiences that will more meaningfully engage them with the content, by moving them from consumers to creators, it will increase student engagement and promote higher student achievement. In my class, students began asking each other for help with some of their tasks. As a teacher, it is great to see students take the lead more and also not be afraid to ask for help when needed. Seeing them collaborate and problem-solve together are just a few of the added benefits! With only 51% of U.S. high schools teaching computer science, and the demand for STEM jobs expected to increase 11% from 2020 to 2030, AutoAuto’s curricula can help you prepare your students for tomorrow.

We must make sure that we best prepare our students by providing access to resources like AutoAuto that provide them with opportunities to work at their own pace and explore based on their interests and needs. By providing students with opportunities to engage in more student-driven, hands-on learning, it adds more meaning and authenticity to the work that they’re doing.

About the Author

Rachelle Dené is a Spanish and STEAM Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an attorney with a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and serves as the past president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network. She is the author of sevens books including ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World”, “True Story: Lessons That One Kid Taught Us,” “Your World Language Classroom: Strategies for In-person and Digital Instruction” and “Things I Wish [..] Knew.” All books are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915

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