#296 – EDSAFE AI, with Dr. Jordan Mroziak

Unpacking Education June 12, 2024 32 min

In this episode, Dr. Jordan Mroziak, the AI and Education Project Director at EDSAFE AI and InnovateEDU, joins us to discuss the issues and processes related to safely adopting an AI policy in your school. We discuss relevant topics, including EDSAFE’s SAFE Framework, the EDSAFE Resource Library, and the need to have conversations and ask questions relevant to your unique circumstances.

Read a transcript of this episode.

Paul Beckermann
PreK–12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
STEM Facilitator and Digital Learning Specialist
Dr. Winston Benjamin
Social Studies and English Language Arts Facilitator

. . . AI can be leveraged to allow teachers more time for direct instruction with their learners, using technology as a ‘co-pilot’ that supports teachers in doing the human, emotional, affective work that is at the heart of the learning process.

EDSAFE AI Alliance, from What Is the EDSAFE AI SAFE Framework?


The following resources are available from AVID and on AVID Open Access to explore related topics in more depth:

Space for Questions and Conversation

Throughout the episode, one theme is continually shared: Schools need to make space for questions and conversations related to the development of AI policy. Dr. Mroziak reminds us, “AI as a tool is incredibly pervasive, so it’s not simply about how teachers will use it—although that is a large part of it—knowing that it will touch families, and caregivers, and students, and administrators, and so creating this broad cross section of voices in this space to elevate their unique perspectives.”

To help districts navigate these conversations, EDSAFE AI has developed the SAFE Framework while also compiling related resources from steering committee members across a consortium of respected organizations. These resources are not intended to be the answer key to an AI policy test. Rather, they are resources that schools can lean on to help guide their own unique conversations. Dr. Mroziak says, “There is no ‘one size fits all’ AI policy model.” Instead, schools need to lean on available resources while finding their own path forward. The following are a few highlights from our conversation:

  • About Our Guest: Dr. Jordan Mroziak is the AI and Education Project Director at EDSAFE AI and InnovateEDU. His past work at Carnegie Mellon University focused on AI and ethics, and he brings that ethics lens to his work at EDSAFE AI.
  • EDSAFE AI: EDSAFE AI is a robust consortium of 26 organizations with very diverse backgrounds. The organization’s steering committee is comprised of members such as aiEDU, CAST, AASA, CoSN, Digital Promise, ISTE, NEA, and the National Parents Union. A major goal of the organization is to answer the question: “How do we learn from some of the best practices in AI policy?”
  • Safety First: Dr. Mroziak says, “We cannot get to a place where we’re thinking about how well a tool works if we are not first prioritizing student safety. That’s data, privacy, and all the things that come along with that. How do we situate those values as preconditions before we even begin to think about, does this tool work?” He specifically outlines some of the key questions to ask: “Who is making this choice? Where is this data going? How are we respecting privacy? Are we adhering to things like COPPA and FERPA?”
  • SAFE Framework: EDSAFE’s SAFE Framework is made up of four components: safety, accountability, fairness, and efficacy. Because of his personal educational and occupational backgrounds, Dr. Mroziak also likes to include equity in that list.
  • A Shared Vocabulary: Dr. Mroziak emphasizes the need to talk through the meanings of words so that group members have a shared understanding of terminology. He says, “It’s trying to provide people the tools to have conversations to make sure that when they’re saying those words, they’re meaning the same thing. When we’re saying ‘accountability,’ are we sharing a definition around what is accountability? Who is accountable? Under what conditions? . . . Those benchmarks are meant to be both words but also spaces in which we acknowledge that we need to have these generative conversations.”
  • A Slower Pace: Dr. Mroziak stresses that it’s okay to slow down and not rush the process. Because AI policy decisions are complicated and important, he says, “We have an obligation, I think, to move at a slower pace.” He adds that it’s important to have “very meaningful, slow, deliberate conversations to bring people into a space where we are gaining a shared understanding.”
  • Library of Resources: The EDSAFE AI website has a section linked at the top dedicated to free policy resources that schools can reference and use as needed. Many have been contributed by their steering committee members. Dr. Mroziak says, “We’re incredibly grateful to those groups that are on the steering committee for contributing their wisdom into it and making it so readily available.”
  • Policy Labs: A number of school districts across the country are teaming with EDSAFE AI to work through policy questions related to AI integration in their schools. Dr. Mroziak says that districts are looking for help—for someone to walk with them during this journey of adopting AI and related policy. He also emphasizes that “We are all in a space of learning. . . . We do not have all the answers. It doesn’t exist.”
  • Importance of Teachers: Dr. Mroziak says, “Teachers need to be in the loop. This thing [AI] is not a teacher replacement. It cannot do the core work of being in a classroom with students because one of the core things that teachers do is build relationships.”
  • Being Purposeful: “If we want this thing [AI] to be radically inclusive in a way that’s meaningful, we can’t just rush into it,” says Dr. Mroziak. “I think that we don’t get to a place of equity and justice for everyone unless we design purposefully to get there. Otherwise, we just happen into some lucky circumstances.” He adds, “Everyone should be at the table.”
  • Complex Conversations: Dr. Mroziak admits, “These are complex conversations. We are not always going to agree. We don’t need to, but we do need to gain a level of comfort in knowing that we have to ride in this car together, and we can’t always get out because we’re on a journey.”
  • Joy: Although these conversations can be weighty, Dr. Mroziak offers a friendly reminder, “Find a way to keep the joy.”

Guiding Questions

If you are listening to the podcast with your instructional team or would like to explore this topic more deeply, here are guiding questions to prompt your reflection:

  • What AI policy is in place in your district?
  • What questions do you have about your own AI policy?
  • What additional guidance do you need to safely and successfully implement AI in your school?
  • How might you use the resources shared through EDSAFE AI?
  • What action steps do you need to take to create or improve AI policy in your school?

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